I’ve got a FANTASTIC time-crunch workout for you that covers all the bases. This one and the home workout in your introduction are my personal faves for when my schedule is jammed or I’m traveling.
We all like to get a little stronger, you are lying when you say you don’t. Weight-training will not only increase your metabolism, it will also increase your bone density, your speed, your power and your overall sexiness. It is no secret that weight training is one of the most effective ways to increase your fitness. Just look at the amount of gyms there are. We all can benefit from weight training. however, just randomly doing some exercises is not going to give you the results you want. You need a strategy and I am here to give it to you. So here is my top 5 rules of weight training that most people ignore.
1: Stimulate the mind and the body will follow
As much as 20% of the ‘strength’ required lift a weight results from the brain (and neural activity). In time an exercise can become imprinted into our brain (and consequentially our muscles). This means that less effort is required to move the weight. This also means that your back in your comfort zone and if you could grow muscles in your comfort zone, we all be looking awesome. So it’s important to keep stimulating your mind and muscles by introducing, for example, new exercises and weight training systems.
2: Load the bar with the best muscle growing weight
There are two types of muscle fibers. Type 1 muscle fibers are fibers that concentrate on endurance. Type 2 muscle fibers that concentrate on fastness. Now lets explore the second type a bit deeper. The ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibers. The fast twitch muscle fibers are further classified in 2a and 2b fibers. Let me explain:
- Type 2a: When trained appropriately they will boost muscle size but not to the same extent as Type 2b’s. If you were to do a lot of aerobic training you could take away some of these fibers growth capabilities as they become better endurance trained – so if you want to pack on muscle than you want to avoid this.
- Type 2b: These fibers when stimulated by the right training will increase muscle size.
To get your fast twitch muscle fibers growing you need to predominately lift medium -medium to heavy- and heavy weights (light weights won’t hit your muscles hard enough or in the right way to stimulate growth (they predominately function to promote strength endurance). If you are familiar with your 1 rep maximums on various lifts, then we’re talking weights in excess of 65% of 1RM.
So it is important to decide what you would like to train and why
3:Focus on your movements
There is more to lifting weight than just pulling or pushing a heavy object. Muscle can be stimulated in different ways and by using a variety of the following 3 muscular actions, you can stimulate the muscle in a different way, even when you use the same exercise. The 3 different muscular actions are:
Concentric muscular action: A concentric contraction occurs when a muscle shortens under load. It’s the most common direction of effort for resistance and Cardio exercise.
Example: the curling phase of a biceps curl
Eccentric muscular action: An eccentric muscular action involves the lengthening of a muscle under load.
Example: the lowering phase of a biceps curl (tension remains in the muscle as the weight in lowered under control – (muscles are stronger eccentrically than they are concentrically)
Isometric muscular action: an isometric muscular action happens when there is no movement and the resistance is hold under tension
example: holding a dumbbell at a 90 degree angle
4: Vary the speed of lift
The speed of a lift of the concentric and eccentric lifting phases will also have an effect on how much muscle and the type of strength you develop. In general, the faster the lift and the heavier the weight the greater the stimulatory response. You can very the speed on the way up and on the way down (concentric and eccentric phase) In general we tend to go faster on the hard bit of the movement, the concentric phase and slower on the easy part of the movement (eccentric phase). The reason for this is that we are stronger on the eccentric phase and by slowing down the movement you will make this harder and therefor a better stimulus to the muscle.
5: Don’t get distracted during your rest.
The amount of rest you get between sets will have a tremendous impact on your recovery. the longer you rest, the more the body will recover but also cool down. Heavy weights with low repetition require a rest time of up to 2 minutes. Medium weights and 12-15 reps usually only require half this time. So set a timer for your rest to make sure you stay consistent with your training. It is hard to notice if you improve if one day you rest 2 minutes and the following workout you rest 45 seconds between sets.
So there you go, these are my rules that I follow in my weight training. I hope this will help you get more out of your workout or at least inspired you to rethink how you train in the gym.
Many people should probably exercise more often and with more intensity. Now is the time to kick excuses out the door, because you’re about to learn how to reduce your risk of sore muscles. You’ll feel so good that you will be motivated to make time in your day to exercise. So get started!
Okay, so now you might be thinking about where to start. Should you warm up or stretch first? Here’s the simple answer – both.
Start with a good warm-up to lower your risk of having sore muscles the next day. Warming up your muscles (especially the major muscle groups you’ll be using during exercise) is one of the best ways to prevent muscle stiffness and injury. A good warm-up consists of moving your body by slowly walking, gently jogging, and light participation in the activity you’re warming up for. The goal is to increase your heart rate a little bit, which increases your muscles’ temperature so they move more easily. Your warm-up period doesn’t have to take long, either. Five minutes or so will do the trick.
Once you’ve revved up your body with a good warm-up, you’re ready to start stretching. Stretches are most beneficial when you hold them for at least 30 seconds, but a good rule of thumb is to start by holding a stretch for just five seconds and work your way up to 30 seconds as your body gets used to the stretching and exercise. As you stretch, be sure not to bounce as this action can increase your risk of injury. If you’re not sure how to stretch or you want to make sure you are performing your warm-up and stretching properly, visit your local gym for advice.
It’s true that the warm-up period of your exercise is more self explanatory than stretching, so here are a few simple stretching techniques and positions that may help.
Calf stretch – This is a great stretch if you’re going to be using your legs during exercise, such as when you run or play many team sports. Begin this stretch by facing and standing about two feet away from a wall. With your heels flat and your back straight, slowly lean forward and press your hands and forehead against the wall. You should feel this stretch in your calf right above your ankles.
Hamstring stretch – You’ve likely heard of a lot of people who get hamstring injuries, so this exercise is obviously very important. Lie with your back flat on the floor and both knees bent. With your feet flat on the floor, slowly bend your right knee up to your chest, place both hands behind your right thigh and then extend your leg upward. You should feel the stretch in the back of your leg. Repeat this exercise with the left leg.
Neck stretch – This is a good stretch if you’re going to be working out your upper body, especially the shoulders. Standing upright, hang both arms by your side. Then take one arm and twist your palm so it is facing out. At the same time, grasp your head with your other hand and gently pull your ear toward your shoulder. Stop and hold when you feel the first signs of stretching along the side of your neck. Repeat on the other side.
Okay, there’s no time for excuses anymore now that you know how to warm up and stretch. Get out there and get moving and have a great time – you’re going to feel great!