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Training

Training: Variation

16 Variation
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If you want to know the most important factor to achieve any goal you want and to make consistent results it´s variation.

There´s not a perfect workout or a program you can follow for months and months, your body adapts to everything you need to keep changing things and challenging yourself for your body to respond.

The time you´ve been training determines how long can you stay with the same routine, if you are starting your focus most be learning the exercises and movements until you feel comfortable increasing weight, the more trained you are the more you need to change and vary your workouts, someone who has been training for 15 years or more may need to change every week.

To add variation to your workouts you can use the training variables we´ve been talking about which are volume, frequency, intensity, rep ranges, progressive overload and the exercises. This all are options you can play with on your workouts to keep your body guessing.

You can also use some advance techniques like supersets, giant sets, circuit training which we are going to talk about in future posts. This technique are great to help you add variation and you can combine both the training variables with some advance technique according to your goals.

How you add variation to your program depends on many factors, where are you training, how much time per day you have to exercise, how many days a week can you workout, the equipment you have.

There are some fitness experts and people on the industry that don´t consider variation to be necessary and they stick with the same program for months or years, this is what I think. If you want to look different, if you want to get different results you need to add variation, staying with the same goal for months or years don´t motivate you enough to exercise. You can follow the same program for 6 or 8 months and get results if you are progressing, progressive overload will give you results as long as you continue challenging your body.

Variation is necessary not only to get consistent results also to add variety, avoid adaptation and keep your workouts interesting and fun.

The easiest way to add variation to your program is to change reps ranges, if you are a beginner lifting on the 12 – 15 reps until you feel comfortable with the exercises and from there keep increasing weight until you hit the 5 – 8 reps. If you are more advanced I recommend lifting in the 5 – 8 reps to build dense hard muscle for 4 to 6 weeks or even 8 weeks and then work in the 10 – 12 reps to use more isolation exercises and hit weaker muscles.

You can focus on power for some weeks working on the 1 – 4 reps, you can even lift lighter weight for higher reps like choosing to exercise per muscle group and do 50 reps you´ll be working on endurance and it can also help you build muscle.

If your goal is to gain muscle as fast as possible you add variation playing with the volume and frequency of your workouts, increase the volume of your workout for 6 weeks and the next 6 weeks divide that volume into to add frequency.

Progressive overload is a most you need to progress at every workout, lift more weight, do one more rep or one more set. This journey never ends it´s all about changing you goals and being better than you where yesterday.

The best strategy you can use is to use some advance techniques like supersets when your goal is fat loss, work on the 5 rep range for bodyweight and compound movements and 12 reps for isolation exercises you can add HIIT to lose fat faster and for muscle gains stick with straight sets, work on 6 – 8 reps.

Another great way to add variation is to change exercises, you can stick for 4 weeks with compound movements and then change to bodyweight for another 3 to 4 weeks. You can also change the equipment you are using, if you´ve been using barbells change to dumbbells.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Training: Intensity

15 Intensity
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There´s no other way to get amazing results, how hard you train will determine your results, if you give half of your energy you´ll get average or mediocre results, please don´t settle for less than what you deserve.

Getting in shape and getting an amazing physique and sustain it is simple but not easy, what you need to do is simple… it´s simple said that done. For guys who hate to feel that physical pain when working out it won´t be easy to get in shape. We all want to have an amazing body but not  all are willing to put the time and effort needed, not all are going to suffer in the gym and train as hard as they can to get what they really want.

This is the reason why most people don´t achieve anything worth having. Everything worth having takes time and sacrifices so are you willing to do whatever it takes, and to make some sacrifices to achieve your goal? If your answer is yes then there are no excuses in the gym. My workouts are not going to kill you or leave you breathless so I need you to train as hard as you can.

Now there´s a limit, you know your limit, you know how hard you can go to avoid all type of injuries and accidents, don´t let your ego get on your way, it doesn´t matter what everyone is doing what matters is what you´re doing.

It´s not only about working hard, you need to work smart there´s no reason to work hard if what you´re doing doesn´t work, you´ll be just wasting your time and effort. You need to be effective and efficient in this point I´m making half of the work for you, I´m sharing with you everything you need to know from nutrition, training, mindset, sleep and stress; the best tools you can use for each of them to get the best results. If you follow what I share with you you´re half of the way, you´ll be working smart now the second part depends on you. I´m giving you everything you need but I can´t put the time and effort for you, you need to do it.

You need to do the workouts and feel the pain, think of it as the pain of change, that the stimulus saying to your body to change, to get leaner and grow there´s no other way.

Love the pain, fall in love with the process and enjoy the workout, specially cardio. It´s easier to enjoy resistance training and lifting weight or doing bodyweight exercises just by seeing what you´re capable of, doing the hardest versions of bodyweight exercises motivates you to stay leaner because you´ll find out that the leaner you are the easier it is to do them. With compound movements you can become addicted, just by thinking how much more could you lift makes it more enjoyable but you need to keep your ego out and don´t get crazy. Don´t try to lift more just to impress someone it´s so easy to get injured if you go by your ego.

How hard can you go? How much weight can you lift? How long are you willing to go hard? Can you go harder next time? You are the only one who knows if you gave all or if you could have gone harder, if you could have done one more rep, there´s a slight edge between how hard can you go and your ego getting on the way. Get strong in a safe way, focus on making every exercise and every rep as safe as possible.

My goal is to get you stronger and help you achieve your fitness goal by improving body composition but even when you won´t feel like dying compared with other programs I need you to train hard, to be focused on what you´re doing and to put the  effort needed every workout to get the amazing results you want.

If it´s hard for you to get through the physical pain every workout you need to work on your mindset, your body will achieve whatever you set your mind to, if you have a strong mindset where you can control your thoughts, your feelings you´ll be able to pass that physical pain. You get stronger in the gym and outside the gym.

Showing up is not enough, you need to put in the hard work, the amount of work you put at every workout is the results you´ll get, if you give 100% you´ll get 100% results.

It´s not enough to show up you need to make every workout as intense as possible the level of intensity varies from person to person depending on different factors, if you have an injury on one leg you may not work with the same level of intensity as you work chest or back. If you are starting the level of intensity won´t be the same as if you have been training for some years and you have more experience.

You  can use little volume and a lot of intensity and get great results, the amount of volume and frequency will depend on your goals, this variables will change also the amount of cardio you do if you want to speed up results but intensity needs to be high always.

Training and exercising when you have clear goal is not about making friends, if you just want to do some physical activity then it´s ok but if you´re looking to be the best version of yourself you need to go in there with your goal in mind, many people have the right program but are not working as hard as they can, they don´t get the results they want and they blame the program.

If you train hard you´ll get results with any program but most people stays the same for months or years, for me it´s discouraging to spend time working out daily to look the same, we´re looking for progress and results, I can share with you all the information but if you don´t apply it and don´t work hard the results will be minimum or will take more time to achieve your goal.

Make everyday count, make every workout count, go there and give your best, push as hard as you can but be aware of your limits. Try to be better than yesterday and don´t pay attention to what the others are doing, focus on your thing.

The mind-muscle connection can have a huge impact in many guys or girls, this technique helps them focus all their energy on what they´re doing making this a great technique to keep intensity high and avoid injuries.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Training: Progressive overload

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Fitness experts, gurus and trainers always do everything harder than it really is, it´s hard to find someone talking about progressive overload and if you´re looking to gain muscle mass this is the technique that will give you results. Most trainers follow the same routine for a very long period of time and when they get bored they do some changes. Mostly they go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week for an hour or more and do the same day split, with the same weight, the same sets and reps that´s why they always look the same.

It´s not only boring but also discouraging to train and don´t see any change in your body for me it´s a waste of time. If you want to improve the way you look and you´re not making progress you are not challenging yourself enough. Muscles grow bigger and stronger in response to training stimulus, you need to continue making greater demands, to progressively overload the muscles by forcing them to do more than they´re accustomed to if you don´t do it there´s no reason for them to grow. Your body is not going to change unless it is forced to, this is why you cannot get comfortable in the gym, once you get to a comfort zone if you stay there you´ll plateau.

Progressive overload means increasing demands on the muscles continually to make gains in muscle size, strength and endurance. You can use progressive overload not only for resistance training it´s also a great strategy to use for cardio training. The most common way to use this technique is by adding weight, every time you train the muscle you must be able to lift heavier, this is how the few trainers that know this technique use it but there are some other options for you to apply it.

The first and easiest option to increase overload is increase resistance, this is the most obvious way to increase the demand on the muscle, you simply add more weight to the one you are lifting, if you are lifting 60 pounds you can add 3 or 5 pounds more, this makes the exercise harder and you need to consider that when you increase the weight your reps are going to reduce for a period of time, then soon enough you´ll be able to do the same reps you were doing before you add weight but now with the added weight, this means you get stronger and you´re ready to add some more weight.

The next option is to increase reps sometimes it may be hard to increase weight specially if you workout at home then in this case adding reps is one of the options. If you lift 60 pounds for 6 reps then your next workout lift the same weight for 8 reps, and the next workout lift the same weight for 10 reps. As I mentioned before the best reps for hypertrophy is between 6 – 12 reps so when you get to the 12 reps you may consider another option to increase overload. Once you get to 12 reps don´t keep adding more and more reps indefinitely because you´ll be training for endurance and not muscle size.

Next option is to increase the volume which as I mentioned before is the number of sets, on the option before you added more reps so here you´ll be increasing the number of sets. If you are doing 3 sets of the exercise then do 4 sets, by doing 1 more set you increase the amount of work.

Another option is increasing time frequency, by training the same muscle 2 times a week you increase the overload you are making your muscle work harder.

The last option for progressive overload is to decrease rest time between sets, with resistance training the workouts are structured in sets and rests intervals, depending on the amount of weight you are lifting this rest intervals may be from 90 sec. to 3 min. instead of resting 90 sec between sets  rest 60 sec. or 45 sec. so you´ll be doing the same amount of work in less time and this requires your body to become more efficient.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Training: Periodization

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Not many people have heard of this tool but it´s key to designing workout programs that gives you great results without hitting plateaus.

We know that variation is key to keep results consistently but for beginners it´s not necessary to keep changing their workouts every month, the more advanced and trained you become with time the more you need to add variation to your program even every week.

Most traditional fitness programs that use periodization use the basic or classic form that takes 2 to 3 months to complete where changes come every month, this can work great for people who is starting out in weight lifting but it´s not the best option for advanced guys and you can´t get too long with the same program. If you keep doing what you´re doing for a long period of time your body adapts and hits a plateau.

For periodization you are changing the rep ranges to hit strength and hypertrophy and you also change volume, you get stronger and bigger and results keep showing up daily, depending of the time you´ve been training is how you create a program using periodization, if you are starting out you can begin lifting lighter weights on the 12 to 15 rep ranges, you need to focus on learning the exercise and proper form, you can stay with this rep range for 3 to 4 weeks and then increase weight to hit 10 to 12 reps for 3 to 4 weeks and increase weight to hit 8 reps, at this point you must be more comfortable doing the exercises with proper form which is what´s going to help you avoid injuries.

If you are more advance it may be necessary to change reps every 2 or 3 weeks before your body adapts, if you have been training for many years you may need to change rep ranges every week, so a cycle can last 4 weeks and every time you begin the cycle again you must be able to lift heavier weights. On the first week you lift on the 12 to 15 rep range, the next week you increase weight to hit the 10 to 12 rep range, the next one you increase weight again to hit 8 to 10 reps and finally you increase weight to hit 5 to 7 reps and you start the cycle again.

If you set periodization this way you can keep the same exercises for a couple of months, periodization and progressive overload are both great tools and variables you can adjust to build muscle. Creating a program that last 3 to 4 months is the way to go, that program most include periodization adjusted to your level and variation also according to your level. If you don´t have a plan you can get lost, having a plan that tells you exactly what to do every day keeps everything simple.

Periodization can also be used with volume, you start with low volume, the next week go moderate volume, the next week you go high volume and the last week you go back to low volume. It´s almost impossible to keep volume high for weeks and weeks so this variable gives you the opportunity to go high in volume a couple of weeks and then lower it to give your body time to recover.

The way I prefer to use this variable is use it for rep ranges and volume it doesn´t matter what frequency I´m working on. Using periodization for reps gives you the opportunity to work on different rep ranges in the same workout program so in some workouts you´ll be working more on one type of hypertrophy and other workouts on strength. Using it for volume helps you increase volume to make sure that you are giving your body the right stimulus to grow and then give it some weeks to recover so that you don´t over train or burn out.

As you get more trained you´ll need to add variation to keep making gains, this is possible by playing with all the variables one at a time so you have a big number of combinations to make sure you don´t get bored and your body don´t adapt.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Training: Volume

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In the last posts we´ve been talking about the training variables you need to adjust according to your goal to keep results consistently. Today we´re going to talk about volume.

Volume refers to how many sets you do per muscle group over the end of one week. Low volume means you do 2 – 3 sets for each exercise, moderate volume goes from  4 to 6 sets and high volume 8 or even 10 sets for a muscle group in one week.

The total volume you do for each muscle at the end of the week will vary according to your goals and also how trained you are, the amount of volume for someone who is starting won´t be the same to someone who has a couple years training or someone who is highly trained. The more trained you are the more volume you´ll need or the more you´ll need to be manipulating all variables to avoid plateaus.

For someone who is starting resistance training doing 3 to 4 sets and 2 or 3 exercises for each muscle group per week is enough volume.

Volume applies to both types of hypertrophy, myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic, this two types of muscle growth differ on the amounts of reps you do per set you can focus on myofibrillar hypertrophy to build dense muscle by doing 3 to 4 sets of 4 to 8 reps each for 2 or 3 exercises for a muscle group, if you want to focus on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy you can choose 2 or 3 exercises for one muscle group and do 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

The total volume per week will vary according to your goals, if you want to lose fat considering that you must be on a caloric deficit your volume must be low, it´ll be hard to get in high volume when you are eating less and the goal is to maintain the muscle mass you have so there´s no reason to want to do more than what you are capable off. With this goal and using low volume you can go for 5 to 7 reps and focus on keeping the strength, this way you make sure you´re not losing muscle mass.

When you want to gain muscle mass high volume can help you make more gains, you can combine both types of hypertrophy in a high volume program, since you are eating more you must be able to do more work and still give enough time for your body to recover, meaning you increase the total amount of sets you do on each exercise in a 4 or 5 days split so your hitting each muscle group once a week.

If you are new to the gym you need to get use to working out and low volume will give you results so doing 3 sets is a great way to start, if you are more trained you can go with moderate volume which works great for all fitness goals, if you are highly trained you can do high volume for a period of time and then go back to moderate or even low volume. If you go high volume for a long time you will burn out, we all have a lot of things going on in our lives so there´s no reason to stress a lot more your body and muscles with high volume, you can do them for 4 weeks and then reduce volume for 2 or 3 weeks.

You can do moderate frequency which we talked about in the last training post and keep changing volume and rep ranges with a variable called periodization this gives your muscles the stimulus they need to grow and it also gives them some time to recover after some weeks of moderate frequency, moderate volume and high intensity.

If you are working hard, smart and intense you may only need low volume and get amazing results, if you increase the volume you just need to make sure that you have enough time to recover specially if you are focusing on myofibrillar hypertrophy because the central nervous system fatigues quicker and takes more time to recover. Eating enough and giving your body nutrients to repair and recover is key, specially on high volume programs.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Training Frequency

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How many times per week can you work each muscle group? Which body split is better for fat and muscle gain?

I´ve heard this questions a lot and they both refer to training frequency, here there´s not a right or wrong answer although there are some tips you can use to get better results.

Frequency refers to how many times per week you work each  muscle, we´re going to divide it into low, medium and high frequency. If you follow a typical or the most common training split in bodybuilding which last 5 days plus one or two days of cardio you have low frequency because you are hitting each muscle group once per week, if you follow a 2 days split or a 3 days split and do it 2 times per week it´s medium frequency because you are working each muscle group twice per week and if you do full-body workouts 3 days a week that´s high frequency.

So the question is what is the best frequency for each fitness goal? and the answer is it depends of some other variable specially volume and intensity and it also depends of the other 4 principles of fitness and the time you´ve been training consistently.

If you are new to working out low frequency will give you amazing results, when you are starting out one of the most important goals along with getting in shape and losing weight is to develop good habits so following a low frequency and adding cardio is the best way to go. Another option is to try high frequency by doing full-body workouts 3 days per week on none consecutive days. This 2 options may seem contradicting but if you do full-body workouts 3 days a week the volume for each muscle group will be low and if you do low frequency and work each muscle group once a week you are able to add more volume. The goal here is to develop the habit of working out and we need to do it with things you like more, if you hate doing 3 or 4 day splits then it will be harder for you to get up and workout.

If the goal is fat loss and considering that you need to be on a caloric deficit it may be hard to do high volume workouts so moderate frequency is a great option, hitting each muscle 2 times per week gives your body the stimulus needed to keep the level of strength so that you maintain as much muscle as possible. With moderate frequency you can combine rep ranges, you can do one workout with heavy weight/low reps and the second workout with higher reps/lower weight.

If your goal is gain lean muscle mass you have 2 options, the first one is low frequency with high volume and high intensity, since you are working each muscle group once a week you are giving them enough time to recover but if the volume and intensity of each workout are not right it may not be enough stimulus for your muscles to grow. The second option is moderate frequency which causes more hypertrophy and it causes more muscle growth, you may not be able to do a lot of volume but keeping the intensity high is crucial.

There´s one more option for muscle growth which I´ve seen a lot of people using which is high frequency, working each muscle 3 days a week with full-body workouts. I personally don´t like this one but you can try it and if you like it and get results keep it. The problem with this one is that if you are too short on time I don´t think you can focus on all muscle groups with the same intensity and if you are really giving your all in your workouts you will burn out. Recovery is crucial for muscle growth and if you are hitting each muscle 3 times a week they may not have enough time to recover.

All variables work together if you have high frequency you need to go lower in volume, with volume high you go lower in frequency, intensity also depends off the amount of volume and frequency and they all need to consider enough time to recover. But to set the right frequency the other 4 elements of fitness also play an important role. If your goal is fat loss you need to make sure that you are giving your body enough nutrients to get you through daily activities and your workout while you are on a calorie deficit so that your body uses stored body fat.

If you want to gain muscle you need to give your body enough nutrients to recover, repair and grow and also enough energy to get you through the workouts.

You also need to have good quality sleep every night and rest and keep stress low. Your body recovers while you are resting and sleeping if any of this elements is not on point you won´t see great results.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

What you need to know about rep ranges

10 Rep ranges
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For the last months and years I´ve seen a lot of guys and girls interested in knowing which is the best rep range they need to focus on, as many other things in training there is not a right or wrong answer and I consider all of them to be great options.

It all starts with your goal, you can use resistance training for all goals just be changing the rep range you use, it´s not the same to train for power than to train for endurance the rep ranges are as follow:

1 -4 for power

5 – 8 for strength

8 – 12 for hypertrophy

15 – < for endurance

With this you know in which rep range to work according to your goal, for muscle gain you can use strength and hypertrophy on the strength rep range you´ll be building dense muscle also called myofibrillar hypertrophy which is the one that last and with hypertrophy rep range also called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy you are able to gain size faster but it doesn´t last, if you take some time off the gym you start losing that size. This two rep ranges are the ones you can focus on more to build an aesthetic physique.

For the power and strength rep ranges you need to use compound movements which are the ones where you can lift more weight, for hypertrophy and endurance you can use compound and isolation. The endurance rep range can help you burn fat and sometimes gain some muscle, you can use all types of exercises, compound, isolation and bodyweight.

If your goal is to gain muscle mass then the best option is to focus on building dense muscle mass by focusing on the strength rep range around 5 to 7 reps using compound and bodyweight exercises and add some isolation exercises for weaker muscles using the hypertrophy rep range around 8 to 12 reps.

Getting stronger on the first 3 rep ranges specially around 5 to 12 reps by using a tool called periodization is an awesome strategy that keeps you getting stronger and gaining muscle mass, if you get stronger on the power and strength rep ranges you are able to lift more weight on the hypertrophy rep, gaining muscle is about getting stronger.

When you work on power and strength the central nervous system gets stressed a lot and it takes more time to recover so you need to consider volume and frequency when training on this 2 rep ranges, with hypertrophy and endurance the central nervous system doesn´t get the same amount of stress.

Weight loss and gaining muscle are the most common goals so strength and hypertrophy are the most used rep ranges but once you achieved your goal taking some time and maintaining it gives you the opportunity to work on the other 2 rep ranges. When you train for power you need to be really conscious and focused on form to avoid injuries, I personally don´t like to work below 5 reps, I mostly go from 5 to 7 and 8 to 12 focusing on building dense muscle with bodyweight and compound movements and sometimes I add some isolation exercises. Sometimes I use the endurance rep range with bodyweight exercises specially when I want to lose fat and I could go for 50 reps in some exercises.

All rep ranges have their space on training and they´re all great options for different goals, using all of them using periodization keeps your body guessing and making your workouts fun and challenging.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Training variables to achieve your fitness goals

09 Training variables
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In the last posts we´ve been talking about bodyweight, compound and isolation exercises and I´ve mentioned some variables you´ll need to adjust on your workouts according to your goals so it´s time to start looking to those variables.

In the future posts you´ll learn how to put together the 3 types of exercises to create workout programs according to your goals that give you the best results.

I´ve mentioned in other posts and social media that training can be simple but it can also get very complex and the reason is simple if your goal is just to get in shape and sustain it you only need to know and understand the basics but if you want to learn more and be able to create your own workouts for different goals then you need to know about types of exercises, training variables, advance training techniques, types of hypertrophy and this is when things get more complicated.

I´ve you´ve been following me for a while you know that I like to keep things simple and there´s no exception, we´re going to start looking at more complex information but I´ll keep it as simple as possible so that you can understand it and use it. Even when it´s a lot of information you´ll see that it´s not that complicated and you don´t need to learn it all in one day, you can come back as much as you want to re-read the posts.

The training variables I´ve been referring are: rep ranges, frequency, volume, periodization, progressive overload, intensity, variation and recovery. I´ll write a post for each variable so that we can go deeper.

Each variable is highly important and you need to consider each when creating any workout program according to your goals. It´s not the same to gain lean muscle than to lose fat or just maintain your weight, the basics for all goals can be the same but you need to adjust each variable which are the ones that are going to make your workouts look different.

All fitness programs use all or some of this variables, the more variables you use the more complex things can get until you understand all of them and get some experience but the most effective your workouts will be.

Have you ever asked yourself why can´t I do the same workout every day? Or why some programs change routines every week while others change them every month? why in some programs we have more rest days than in others? why some programs last 1 month while others last 3 months? The answers to all this questions is that it depend of the goal and from there the fitness trainers who create the programs adjust the variables needed to give you some results.

In most cases you won´t see fitness trainers, fitness experts or gurus in the gym talking about all this variables, some of them may use  them without knowing, others may know the basics but none of them will explain you the reason why they took one variable and manipulate it a certain way.

With the next posts you´ll be able to know how to adjust each variable, in what rep range do you need to work for better results, how much volume and frequency is needed, how to use periodization in a way that is simple for you to apply it, how to use progressive overload if you´re working at home with limited equipment, how to measure results and much more.

If you are new to training you may be overwhelmed with all the information to come but it may be all you need, if you are more advanced or want to take your training to a higher level you may want to learn about advance techniques and how to use which we´re going to see after we finish training variables.

The whole idea is to give you all the information you need so that you can create your own workout programs and achieve any fitness goal.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

How isolation exercises compliment your workouts

08 Isolation
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For the last years this type of exercises have become the go for many in the gym and even when I can´t agree with this the reason is simple, “the pump”. To look bigger faster which is not what I´m looking for.

I consider isolation exercises a great tool if you know how to use them to get the best results, for resistance training it´s a complex balance between the 3 types of exercises, variables of training (which we´re going to talk about in the next posts), and training techniques (we´re also going to talk about them in separate posts).

Isolation exercises are single-joint movements and they work one muscle at a time so you can´t lift heavy weight with this exercises. They may not be the best option to gain strength but they have their space on some workouts.

If your goal is to lose fat and get lean you can create a great workout program with just bodyweight and compound movements but if your goal is to gain muscle you can add some isolation exercises to hit weaker muscles.

While for compound movements you can lift heavy weight and work on myofibryllar hypertrophy, strength and power, with isolation movements you can´t lift heavy. You´ll be using a weight you can lift for around 12 to 15 reps, you can go a bit heavier and hit the 10 to 12 reps. In both rep ranges you´ll be working on a sarcoplasmic hypertrophy range (if you want to learn more about types of hypertrophy click here).

If you feel like a muscle group needs more work then you can use isolation exercises to give that muscle the extra work they´re missing.

There are so many isolation exercises and variations for every muscle group that it can get overwhelming, to keep it simple if you can stick with some few exercises for 2 or 3 months so that you can see your progress do it, especially if you are starting your fitness journey. You need to get familiar with the movements using lighter weight before you can add more weight and that process takes time.

When you focus on bodyweight and compound movements you may feel like some muscles are weaker or lagging and you want to work them more, for this you use isolation movements to hit those muscle specifically. 1 or 2 exercises for the weaker muscles is all you need, there´s no reason to do a lot more, if you feel like you still need more you can use some of the variables we´ll be talking about on future post or what I call advance techniques like rest pause, failure training or dropsets.

When your goal is gaining muscle you may be looking to gain muscle mass on one specific muscle so the way to do this is by adding more volume which you can do by combining bodyweight, compound and isolation exercises, you can use bodyweight and compound for heavy weight low reps and you can add 1 or 2 isolation exercises with lower weight and high reps, this way you can hit that muscle with both types of hypertrophy and more volume.

For anyone new to working out the best option is to focus on bodyweight and compound movements, start with lighter weight until you get comfortable with the exercises and start increasing weight, you can get in really good shape and build a great physique with those 2 types of movements, to lose fat faster add some cardio.

After a few months you can start to add some isolation exercises to your workouts to add more volume and variation. As you get more train you need to keep changing things constantly and isolation movements give you a lot more options.

Sticking with compound movements even when there are some variations for each exercise you may get stuck at some point, bodyweight exercises also have a lot of variations which keep your workouts challenging and fun but isolation movements have a lot more options considering that you can use them with almost all advance techniques.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Why compound exercises must be the base of your programs

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Last week I was talking with a friend who loves to train about the workouts and routines that we can see more frequently on gyms, we agreed that compound exercises are not getting the same attention as some years ago while isolation exercises are the way to go for most people which makes the routines long and more complex.

If your goal is to gain dense muscle mass and get stronger the answer is compound exercises. They will help you gain size and strength while keeping your workouts simple. If your goal is fat loss stick with compound movements, you can use bodyweight which can also be considered compound.

Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles at the same which gives you the opportunity to lift more weight. The more weight you can lift, the stronger you get and you gain more muscle (considering that your nutrition program is right). This type of exercises have a lot of benefits including lowering the risk of injuries (considering that you don´t let your ego get in the way), you can do more in less time and you keep things simple.

Performing compound movements with free weights (barbells or dumbbells) is the best option even when you can´t lift the same amount of weight compared to gym machines or other equipment.

My approach to training is old school, sticking with a few basic exercises with high weight and low reps and adjusting some variables according to the goal you´re working on. Since compound exercises are multi-joint movements you can lift more weight so they are the perfect option to lift more weight in a low rep range.

Compound movements also require balance and coordination so as you keep increasing the weight your performance will increase.

With compound movements you can lift heavy weight for 5 to 8 reps for hypertrophy to build dense muscle, you can go heavier in weight and lower in reps around 1 to 3 reps for strength and power. You can also lift lighter weight for 12 to 15 reps or even more.

When you are using compound movements it is simple and effective but it doesn´t means it´s easy. And since we´re working on low reps and high weight things get harder meaning maximum muscle recruitment and high nervous-system activation this is the right stimulus for muscle growth and strength. Here you need to consider recovery which is as important as your workouts the central nervous system needs more time to recover so you can´t train the same muscle group 2 days continually.

You don´t need to do a lot of different exercises for each muscle group, keep what works and eliminate what doesn´t work. If you focus on key movements you can build a great physique that is also useful, there´s no reason to look great if you can´t perform great. Our goal is to improve body composition and build a physique you are proud of and also that is useful for daily activities at your home or your job.

Compound movements along with bodyweight exercises are the best option for any fitness goal to keep your strength and make sure that you doesn´t lose muscle. You can use both for heavy weight and low reps, which is what I prefer or you can use them for low weight and high reps to work more your endurance. Going high in reps can also help you gain muscle and burn fat it´s not the same type of hypertrophy (muscle growth) but it´s a way to add variety to your workouts.

With any workout it doesn´t matter if it´s cardio or resistance the goal is to improve, every time you workout you need to make some improvement, some days it may be increasing weight, others it may be doing more reps with the same weight or if you are losing fat the goal must be to keep the same weight for the same reps. When you are in a calorie deficit it may be harder to train as hard as when you are on maintenance or building muscle.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam