Large Muscle Group Isolation Days
The most popular way to exercise today. You learn it from friends, magazines, websites, even “professionals.” But have you ever wondered why the majority of weight training programs were developed this way? The method trickled down from unnatural bodybuilders, a.k.a. steroid users. They go to the gym twice a day, isolating one muscle group per visit. They, however, don’t need to worry about the physiology involved with overtraining or recovery. They have other problems. But I digress. What the non-user has done is modify the routine and taken out one visit each day. By the time we come back to the same muscle group the next week, we’ve lost some of what was gained. And when a non-user has the same type of workout format as those on supplemental drugs which improve recovery time, there is more harm done to the body than good.
Personal trainer fix
I always say that there are ways to work out, and then there are efficient ways to work out. A muscle builder’s routine should consist of four days at the gym and three days of rest. The split consists of two upper and two lower body days, or two push and two pull days. Each day will contain exercises working ALL muscles within that group. Upper body day will include the chest, back, shoulders, and arms. This does not mean you will be stuck in the gym for five hours a day. Most exercises involve multiple muscles. Incline bench works the chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. A seated row works the whole back (traps and lats), biceps, and triceps. As you can see, arms don’t need a day dedicated to them. Legs (quads and hams), glutes, abdominals, shoulders (traps), and forearms (grip) are all stimulated during deadlifts. Knowing this information may help you cut out a handful of exercises to shorten your day at the gym and increase your results.
Time Spent in the Gym and Rest Periods
Plenty of us like to stay at the gym until our muscles are dead. Exercising can feel like a chore when we spend hours on it and have other things to do. No matter what type of routine you utilize, you may have 4-8 exercises to get to and very little time to do it.
Personal trainer fix
Cut the rest time. You only need 90 seconds of rest between sets. This is sufficient for immediate energy to return back to the muscles. “But Zak, I already do that.” In that case, supersets will eliminate the problem. For an upper body day, superset bench press and rows. For the lower body equivalent, superset squats and calf raises. During the supersets, take 30 seconds between each set. For example: set of chest press, rest 30 seconds, set of rows, rest 30 seconds, next set of chest press, and so on. By the time you start the second set for chest, 90 seconds have passed (taking into account the time spent on the set of rows). An eight exercise workout should only take 45-60 minutes to complete. More time than that means you are no longer having a productive workout, and it becomes endurance based rather than muscle development.
It is important to keep certain principals in mind. Everyone’s goals are different. I will be writing about other workout formats and routines in later articles.
2 more ways to improve your workout.
*Order of Exercises
*Technique and Range of Motion
*Kettlebell Vs. Dumbbell
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