The "Big Four"
Not sure where to begin your strength training workout? Here is quick and versatile routine that you can add into your workout repertoire.
First, warm up. Next, start your workout routine by using one of the “big four” lifts (bench press, deadlift, squat, overhead press) with a barbell. These main lifts are your bread and butter exercises, work your way down to low reps and higher weight.
After completing one of the “big four” do your complimentary lifts. This includes lifts that involve dumbbells, machines and bodyweight for high reps.
Some example routines may include:
- Bench press is your main lift followed by dumbbell bent over row, face pulls, and abdominal strengthening as your complimentary lifts.
- Overhead press is your main lift followed by dumbbell/cable upright rows, weighted/non weighted dips, and pullovers as your complimentary lifts.
- Squats is your main lift followed by weighted/non weighted walking lunges, knee hikes with band, and leg curls as your complimentary lifts.
- Deadlift is your main lift followed by kettle bell/barbell hip thrusters, farmer walks, and hyperextension as your complimentary lifts.
Dynamic Warm Up
Never lift cold. It’s tempting to, when you are in a hurry, to skip the warm-up and jump straight into a lifting work-out. However, the use of a dynamic warm-up is a safeguard against musculoskeletal injuries. This is due to an increase of blood flow to the skeletal muscles that are being used, which increases their temperature. With the increase in muscle temperature, the body is now ready to perform. Dynamic warm-ups are continues movements that prepares the muscles and joints for a specific activity by increasing body temperature, activating the nervous system, increasing range of motion.
Some movements for a dynamic warm-up may include:
- jumping jacks,
- lunges with a twist,
- high kicks,
- jump squats,
- skipping with low knees
The warm-up session should take anywhere from 5-20 minutes. The time varies depending on activity level, age, and objective. Arm yourself against musculoskeletal injuries.
Have a nice trip, see you next fall!
Whether it’s for business or pleasure, at some point in our lives we all depart from the comfort of our personal homes and routines to visit another location. It might be a quick trip to the next town over for a business conference or a cruise halfway around the world for months at a time. No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing is for sure, our normal exercise routines get tossed to the curb.
If you work out in a gym, suddenly you might not have access to familiar equipment or any equipment at all. So may you give up strength training because you were not prepared for change.
We are creatures of habit – while working a normal day job, we can stick to a routine pretty easily (wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, work out at the same time, go to sleep at the same time). So, when we start traveling, it is easy to give in and give up strength training if it is not our normal routine. It’s the why bother if we can’t use the gym mentality.
I am not asking you to pack your heavy weights and head out to Grandma’s house this Thanksgiving, but try tucking a resistance band into your purse or backpack before you head out the door. There are all kinds of videos of band exercise on the internet, just a little search and you can have a total workout right in your room.
If you happen to forget the band, you can always use your own body weight for a strength workout (there will be no excuses for leaving that behind). Pushups, planks, lunges, squats and burpees can give you a total body workout.
So get creative when you are traveling- Strength training is for everyone! Muscle mass decreases as part of the natural aging process, there is no time like now to strength train.
Change it Up
As I have written in previous blogs I truly believe that everyone should strength training during the time change. In other words, when the time falls back in November, you should be in the gym strength training until it springs ahead in March.
If you have been following my advice and you have been strength training since November (or longer), it may be time to change up your program. If you are following the progression and adaptation as explained on the Professional and Personal website, you may be finding it difficult to increase you workload. That mean it is time for a change.
Now I am not a big fan of what is called “Muscle Confusion” (I have enough trouble with mental confusion). I believe you need to allow the muscle to adapt to the stress of strength training. To change the workout every time does not allow for adaptation. However it may be time to make some changes.
Try increasing the resistance and decreasing the number of reps. Or just the opposite; increase the reps and decrease the resistance. I would not recommend doing more than 15 reps. You could also change the angles, try incline or decline press instead of the flat bench; front Squats instead regular; dumbbell curls instead of bar curls, you get the idea. Use the same muscle group, just at a different angle.
The one thing I would not change is the number of sets. The most benefit happens in the first set no matter what the rep/resistance or angle as long as you’re taxing the muscle group to near fatigue. On a scale of 1 to 10, shoot for a 7. No matter how you change your program maintain sound strength training principles and most of all ENJOY!
It's TIME to Strength Train
I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a big believer that everyone should be strength training with the time change. As daylight gets shorter and we change to daylight savings time, and we spend more time indoors, now is the time to start lifting. It works out great if you follow the principles of “progression “ and “adaptation” to lift until the day light gets longer, when we change the time back, and we are outside more.
As you begin your program, start out slow. Make sure your program involves both sides of the joint. This is done by remembering that if you push, then you have to pull. If you do a chest press (push) do a seated row (pull) to balance the joint.
Progression and adaptation is about using more resistance while allowing the muscles adapt and become stronger. Increase the resistance every two to three weeks the smallest amount possible and allow the muscles to adapt. You can find more information about this on the Strength Training page of the PPW website (www.properwell.com). If you do this, then just about the time you reach the maintenance level of your program it will be time to go back outside and enjoy your newly developed strength!