EVIDENCE BASED EXERCISE GUIDELINES

By TAKU

I’ve probably run a few of these types of articles over the years, but chances are folks don’t dig through the archives as much as they should. So with this in mind, I offer up 16 useful tips to keep your training safe, efficient, and effective.

  1. Perceived effort is a good measure of intensity. Rather than focusing on protocols that use different percentages of 1 RM, focus on perceived effort. Using different percentages of 1 RM is not a good way to prescribe exercise programs. This is because across individuals, and different muscle groups, and different exercises, the same percentage of a 1 RM can yield a different number of repetitions. Such differences can exist within an individual. This means that for some people and for any exercise an individual performs, the prescription can be too hard or too easy, rendering it ineffective.
  2. Different repetitions and resistance can yield the same degree of effort when the maximum repetitions are performed in a set. This means that a wide range of repetitions for a set can be equally effective. For example, a very high degree of effort and intensity can be reached in a set where you perform six repetitions in good form with a heavy resistance and ‘fail’ on an attempt at a seventh repetition or where you perform 12 repetitions with a more moderate weight and ‘fail’ on an attempt at a 13th repetition. In either case, the maximum recruitment of muscle fiber motor units would have occurred. You can choose to train with any number of repetitions with an effective set taking between about 30 seconds and 90 seconds.
  3.  There is no evidence that there is a separate way to train for strength or endurance. As you become stronger, you will increase your absolute muscular endurance. For example, if through training, you increase your strength in a movement from 60 lbs to 85 lbs, you may increase the number of repetitions you can perform with 40 lbs from 12 to 20. No special training is required to increase endurance. For each person and for each exercise and muscle group, relative muscular endurance is stable and appears genetically based. For example, a beginner’s 1 RM on an exercise may be 100 lbs and the trainee can perform 8 repetitions with 80 lbs (80%). Two years later, the trainee can do a 1 RM with 200 lbs and perform 8 repetitions with 160 lbs (80%). Relative endurance using a percent of 1 RM hasn’t changed and evidence indicates that it will not change. Protocols assuming that the relationship can be changed are not based on scientific research.
  4. Based on raising a resistance in about 3 seconds and lowering the resistance in 3 seconds, performing several to 15 repetitions can be effectively used. If longer duration repetitions are performed such as using a 5- 5 or 10-10 (10 or 20 seconds for 1 repetition) then fewer repetitions can be used.
  5. Increasing bone mineral density may depend upon using somewhat lower repetitions such as 6-8 and therefore training with somewhat greater resistance. A variety of exercises can be used because the effect of resistance training on bone mineral density is site specific.
  6. To increase strength, training has to produce an overload beyond a minimal threshold. Maximum effort produces maximum intensity and the greatest stimulus but the maximum stimulus may not produce any greater adaptation than a somewhat sub-maximal effort if there is some marginal overload. This means you should focus on progression while using great form and not an absolute maximum effort where form may be compromised.
  7. Train through as complete a range of motion that is comfortable for you.
  8.  Assuming all the other variables are kept constant, the intensity of training can be increased by increasing the weight, number of repetitions, and by reducing momentum through increasing the repetition’s duration. Muscular tension for an exercise may be maintained and intensity increased by not ‘locking-out’ on multiple joint exercises such as squats and bench press.
  9. There is no evidence that any one exercise is better than any other exercise for a specific muscle group. There is no evidence that performing an exercise a specific way such as on a stability ball produces better outcomes for strength or endurance than if the exercise is performed in another way. The exercises are simply different.
  10. A variety of exercises can be used for each muscle group and can perhaps provide some physiological and psychological benefits beyond consistently performing the same exercise for a muscle group. However, a variety of exercises for each muscle group need not be performed in one training session but rather across training sessions.
  11. While a few researchers have shown better outcomes for strength and muscular hypertrophy with multiple set protocols, the overall evidence does not support the performance of multiple sets of each exercise or higher volume training.
  12. A guideline is to take about 3-5 seconds to raise the resistance and about 3-5 seconds to lower the resistance using a full range of motion for each repetition. Longer duration repetitions may decrease momentum and increase intensity.
  13. There is not any consistent evidence that the stimulus (repetition performance, number, duration, volume of training) for experienced trainees needs to be different than for beginning trainees. Therefore, there is little or no basis for special ‘advanced’ routines promoted by some organizations, websites, and magazines.
  14. A program for any trainee can consist of eight to 10 exercises performed two to three days per week. Different exercises for each muscle group could be varied across workouts. For example, a squat can be used for the thighs in the first workout in a week and the leg press can be used in the second workout.
  15. One set per exercise performed to volitional fatigue can be used with from 5-6 to 15 repetitions in a set if a 3-5 second (positive / negative), duration repetition is employed.
  16. Training should be on two or three non-consecutive days in the week.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

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Simple Safe Sound….

By Jim Bryan
With all the new training options that have sprung up in the area, I thought I would re-emphasize what I do.
  1. I don’t use ballistic, speed driven, bodyweight exercises.
  2. I don’t follow gimmicky trends or the latest fitness craze.
  3. I don’t recommend questionable and sometimes dangerous supplements.
  4. I don’t use unsafe movements or exercises that are not beneficial to your condition.
  5. I do believe in safe and productive training.
  6. I do use progressive resistance training.
  7. I use free weight exercises, as well as machine training.
  8. I also utilize bodyweight exercise but I recommend doing them with controlled momentum.
  9. I pattern workouts to client.
  10. I use proven exercises and training routines that are tailor made to the client.
  11. I believe in prudent, practical, and safe strength and conditioning.
  12. I use the latest, proven exercise science.
  13. I believe in short, intense (intensity is client driven) workouts with short rest periods.
  14. My goal for clients is: Strength Training sessions and conditioning all in one workout. “Metabolic Training”
  15. I use mostly “full body” workouts, with emphasis on any “weak areas.”
  16. I encourage an active life style and not just gym training.
  17. All training is private.

TAKU’s NOTE: This week features some simple, safe, and sound, training guidelines from my freind and mentor Jim Bryan.

Step up to the Bar

Part Two: Adding Conditioning Drills to your basic plan

In part one of this article I outlined a very basic strength training plan, using a barbell as your only tool. Now we are going to step it up a notch and turn this simple workout into an intense Strength and Conditioning plan. In keeping with our low-tech tools for high-performance results concept, the only thing we are going to do for conditioning is run.

When I say run I don’t mean go for a leisurely jog in the park. I mean go to your local high-school track and run some 400’s. Or get out on the football field and do a series of 40’s – 50’s, or maybe a few 300 yard shuttle runs. You can also run stadium bleachers (if you are lucky enough to have a stadium near by). Or go out in the woods and run a little cross country. Just be sure to keep things interesting by mixing short and long intervals, fartlek runs and continuous runs using various running speeds, distances, volumes and work-to-rest ratios.

Let’s add those two days a week of varied conditioning drills and see how our program looks.

Conditioning Workout 1. (Monday)

Warm-up: 5-min walk, then 6 x 1min jog, 1min walk
4 x 200m*
8 x 100m
10 x 50m
Cool-down: 5-min jog

Strength 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

Conditioning Workout 2. (Thursday)

Warm-up: 5mins walk, then 6 x 1min jog, 1min walk
1 x 400m*
1 x 200m
1 x 100m
1 x 50m
10 x 80m
Cool-down: 5-min jog

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

Dead-lift
Standing Press
Shrug
Close Grip Bench
Standing Curls

*For the sprints, rest three times the length of time it took you to sprint. For example if you ran your first 400 in 60 seconds, you should rest 180 seconds.

So that’s all there is to it. It does not get more straight forward then that. If you are wondering what you should do on the other days, I’ll tell you… Nothing! Rest, eat, sleep and hit your training days hard.

Stick to this plan for the next 3-5 months and see what kind of progress you can make. Remember you can vary your sets, reps and the version of the recommended exercises. Don’t forget to change up your running drills as well. I would say change things up every 4-6 weeks or so. Right everything down, keep accuarate records and you will soon learn which combination produces the best results for you.

In the old days there were really only two choices for strength and conditioning, barbells and running. Well, that’s really all you need.

Now get to it!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

www.hybridfitness.tv

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

“Functional”

What’s in a word?

The term functional training has been around for years. When I first started working in the fitness industry “Functional Training” meant working with compound movements like Squats, Presses, and Rows.

In the recent past it has become an industry buzz-word. Some trainers have built their careers around this term while other greedy equipment manufacturers, eager to make a quick buck, have created scores of mediocre products that are somehow supposed to enhance ones ability to train “functionally” more so then another modality.

When I train myself or my clients, I am all about simplicity. I want to get my job done in the most efficient way possible, when it comes to time. Ask anyone who trains with me and they will tell you the training is always challenging but little if any time is ever wasted. If I am working with an athlete whose sport requires lifting weights with specific technique such as a power lifter or an Olympic style weightlifter then you better believe we will focus some time on lifting technique. But if my client just wants to be in better shape, then outside of safety considerations and proper form how or what we lift is not that important.

The tools we use and the exercises we perform with those tools are not functional merely because they exist. To quote my Friend, Tom Kelso, one of the brightest and best strength coaches I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with: “A functional’ exercise is any exercise you do that makes you stronger. Read: any exercise that creates overload on a muscle and is done progressively is functional. Last time I checked, ALL muscle groups were important at some point for proper athletic skill execution and injury prevention.

So don’t get too bogged down by what is functional and what is not. If you are training hard and safe and all of your major muscle groups are being challenged progressively, you are on the right track. Remember to design conditioning drills that match the energy system demands of your sport and you can’t go wrong.

Now get to it!

PAU for NOW

TAKU