Step up to the Bar

Part One: Back to Strength training basics

One bar, ten exercises, two workouts a week; this workout is about as basic as they come. Do not be fooled by the seeming simplicity. Like most good programs this one is capable of delivering powerful results.

Workout 1. (Tuesday) 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Rest 90 seconds between sets.

Squat
Bench Press
Bent-Over Row
Calf Raise
Full Contact twists

Workout 2. (Friday) 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Rest 90 seconds between sets.

Dead-lift
Standing Press
Shrug
Close Grip Bench
Standing Curls

You can use this workout to accomplish just about any goal from getting a little toned to improving your performance in athletics or perhaps the development of raw, brute strength.

Although this workout may seem to lack variety the fact is that other then using a single Barbell for every exercise there are almost no limits. Each of the movements selected has at least 3-5 versions to choose from which means over the course of a year you could create hundreds of different workouts using this same basic template. Add to this that the set and rep schemes can also be varied over a broad continuum and you can see the power of this routine.

Tune in soon for Part two: Adding conditioning to your plan. Till then enjoy your strength training the way it was meant to be, pure, simple and productive.

PAU for Now

TAKU

www.hybridfitness.tv

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Coaches Corner: Exercise Variety

Achieving Variety in Exercise

Once an athlete has moved beyond the beginner stages of strength training they often find that gains in strength begin to level off. One way to combat these plateaus is to incorporate variety in ones training. The purpose of introducing exercise variation is to provide a novel stimulus which may help to induce a continued strength and growth response. Below are seven ways in which one may add variety to their training program.

1. Variation of Exercise Equipment: Become familiar with as many types of equipment available to the program.

2. Variation of Exercises: Become familiar with muscle physiology and use as many different exercises as possible for the same muscle group.

3. Variation of the number of Exercises: Vary the number of exercises per workout as well as per muscle group on a regular basis. Remember to keep volume in check to avoid over training. Limit the number of exercises during the competitive season or when peaking for a competition. Emphasize quality over quantity except for brief “blitz” Cycles.

4. Variation of Sets and Reps: Don’t always follow the same pattern for sets and reps. Manipulate these variables throughout your training cycles. (Keeping accurate records will allow you to note what combinations of volume, intensity, frequency etc are the most effective at any given time).

5. Variation of the Order of Exercises: Again, do not follow a set pattern at all times. Consider alternating Upper – Lower, Push – Pull, Pre-Fatigue – Post-Fatigue etc. (Exercise order manipulation is a high priority variable).

6. Variation of Overload Manipulation: Experiment with using a variety of Advanced Overload Techniques. Examples include but are not limited to Forced Repetitions, Heavy Negatives, Stage Repetitions, Zone Training, Pre-Exhaustion, Assisted Repetitions, etc. (Be sure to use proper super-vision when implementing Advanced Overload Techniques).

7. Variation of Recovery Times: Experiment with manipulation of recovery times both between exercise and between sets. Decreasing total workout time without sacrificing exercise form can be an effective way to boost the metabolic conditioning effect. (Be aware of over-training and keep accurate records so that recovery periods are not neglected).

Remember all athletes will experience plateaus in their training at different times and for different reasons. Very rarely is it because they have reached their absolute genetic potential. Incorporating exercise variation concepts may help to overcome or limit these inevitable stagnation periods. By properly implementing a system of exercise variation you may find that you approach your training with renewed vigor and experience uninterrupted progress for long periods of time.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv

How to execute the perfect REP

Today I am talking about the most fundamental component of training there is, the rep. If you want to achieve maximum success from your training as well as enjoy continued progress over the long term then how you execute each rep is very important.

Below I will outline the rules I use when teaching people how to strength train properly.

Rep Rules

1. Raise the weight in a smooth and deliberate manner. Avoid sudden or jerky movements. Eliminate the use of any momentum.

2. Pause momentarily in the muscles fully-contracted position.

3. Slowly make the transition from raising the weight to lowering the weight. Do not suddenly drop the weight.

4. Emphasize the lowering of the weight. The muscles that raise the weight are the same muscles used to lower the weight.

5. Raise and lower the weight through the full range of motion* provided by each exercise. Always move through your maximum range of motion provided that you are in complete control of the weight at all times and you are pain free.

I recommend that you raise and lower the weight taking roughly 3-5 seconds in both the positive and negative phase. This means that each rep will take between 6-10 seconds to complete.

For absolute beginners or those coming back from a lay-off or recovering from injury I recommend  starting with the slower speeds (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down). To assist beginners with their learning of these slower style repetitions I will often use a metronome. I set the metronome for a sixty beat count (one beat per second); this way they can easily match their movements to the cadence set by the metronome.

If you have never tried using slow controlled movement when lifting weights you may be in for a shock. First you may find you have to drop your poundage on many exercises as this low force method will increase the tension the muscles experience. Second be prepared for a serious case of the DOMS when training to failure in this style.

Remember how you execute each repetition is the most fudamental aspect of your strength training. Train smart, train safe and reap the rewards that strength training has to offer.

As a side note, there are other training methods, such as Olympic weight lifting and kettlebell training, that specifically require fast, explosive repetitions.  We’re not discounting those methods in the slightest.  In fact, we personally train this way quite often when using strength implements to enhance metabolic conditoning.

*There are times when breaking the range of motion into segments can be an effective way to enhance muscle recruitment and increase intensity. For more on this methodology check out Zone Training

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv