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Training variables: Progressive overload

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As with periodization this variable is key for lean muscle growth. Do you use it? Have you heard about it?

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 our body for me it´s a waste of time. If we want to improve the way we look we need to make every workout challenging enough. Muscles grow bigger and stronger in response to training stimulus, we need to continue making greater demands, to progressively overload the muscles by forcing them to do more than they´re accustomed to if we don´t do it there´s no reason for them to grow. Our body is not going to change unless it is forced to, this is why we cannot get comfortable in the gym, once we get to a comfort zone if we stay there we´ll plateau.

Progressive overload means increasing demands on the muscles continually to make gains in muscle size, strength and endurance. We 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 we train the muscle we 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, we simply add more weight to the one we are already lifting, if we are lifting 60 pounds we can add 3 or 5 pounds more, this makes the exercise harder and we need to consider that when we increase weight our reps are going to reduce for a period of time, then soon enough we´ll be able to do the same reps we were doing before we add weight but now with the added weight, this means we got stronger and we´re ready to add some more weight.

The next option is to increase reps, sometimes it may be hard to increase weight especially if we workout at home then in this case adding reps is one of the options. If we lift 60 pounds for 6 reps then our 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 we get to the 12 reps we may consider another option to increase overload. Once we get to 12 reps don´t keep adding more and more reps indefinitely because we´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 we added more reps so here we increase the number of sets. If we are doing 3 sets of the exercise then do 4 sets, by doing 1 more set we increase the amount of work.

Another option is increasing time frequency, by training the same muscle 2 times a week we increase the overload and we 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 we 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 we´ll be doing the same amount of work in less time and this requires our body to become more efficient.

If we want to see any change in our body we need to challenge it, we need to give it the right stimulus and the right signal for it to change, otherwise it will stay the same this is why we need to keep every workout challenging and max effort but also keeping our ego out of the way or we can get injured. If we keep doing the same thing over and over we get stuck, it can help us maintain our current physique but our goal must be to improve.

Training is not only about changing exercises, we need to get stronger, we need to force our body that´s when change occurs. In some cases and for different reasons it may not be possible to keep adding weight, reps or sets every workout, this is totally fine we just need to make sure that we maintain strength and progress as fast as possible, if our goal is fat loss since we´re on a calorie deficit it is harder to increase volume and lift heavier so our goal is to maintain muscle mass, when we´re sick it´s harder to workout and sometimes we need to skip workouts, we need to consider this and realize that it´s ok just get back to the gym and keep progressing at our own pace.

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

Exercise

Training variables: Periodization

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Do you like to vary the rep ranges on your workout programs or do you prefer to stick to one?

Not many people have heard of this tool but it´s key to creating 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 we become with time the more we need to add variation to our 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 we can´t go too long with the same program. If we keep doing what we´re doing for a long period of time our body adapts and hits a plateau.

For periodization we are changing the rep ranges to hit strength and hypertrophy and we also change volume, we get stronger and bigger and results keep showing up daily, depending of the time we´ve been training is how we create a program using periodization, if we are starting out we can begin lifting lighter weights on the 12 to 15 rep ranges, we need to focus on learning the exercise and proper form, we 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 we must be more comfortable doing the exercises with proper form which is what´s going to help us avoid injuries.

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

If we set periodization this way we can keep the same exercises for a couple of months, periodization and progressive overload are both great tools and variables we 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 our level and variation also according to our level. If we don´t have a plan we can get lost, having a plan that tells us exactly what to do every day keeps everything simple.

Periodization can also be used with volume, we start with low volume, the next week go moderate volume, the next week we go high volume and the last week we go back to low volume. It´s almost impossible to keep volume high for weeks and weeks so this variable gives us the opportunity to go high in volume a couple of weeks and then lower it to give our 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 us the opportunity to work on different rep ranges in the same workout program so in some workouts we work on one type of hypertrophy and other workouts on strength. Using it for volume helps us increase volume to make sure that we are giving our body the right stimulus to grow and then give it some weeks to recover so that we don´t over train or burn out.

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

Periodization is the most complicated variable to adjust especially if we want to combine rep ranges and volume but it´s the best we can do to get the best results possible especially for muscle growth. It can also be used for fat loss if we have been training for some years but in this case using it for rep ranges only, keeping volume the same and moderate frequency is a great tool also.

As you can see, training can get a little complex in the beginning but once we understand all training variables it´s easy to create a workout program for our goals, we want to keep it simple and adjust some variables accordingly.

Share with us your thoughts on this variable and how you are using it. Leave your comment in the comment section below!

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

Exercise

Training variables: Volume

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How many sets do I need to do? is it enough 4 sets or do I need more? can I do 8 sets for each exercise? We need to make sure that we´re giving each muscle the right stimulus to grow but if we overdo it we can burn out or over train so how much is too much?

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

Volume refers to how many sets we do per muscle group over the end of one week. Low volume means we 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 we do for each muscle at the end of the week will vary according to our goals and also how trained we 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 we are the more volume we need and the more we 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 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 we do per set , we can focus on myofibrillar hypertrophy to build dense muscle by doing 3 to 4 sets of 5 to 8 reps each for 2 or 3 exercises for a muscle group, if we want to focus on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy we 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 our goals, if we want to lose fat considering that we must be on a caloric deficit then volume must be low, it´s hard to get in high volume when we are eating less and the goal is to maintain muscle mass so there´s no reason to want to do more than what we are capable off. With this goal and using low volume we can go for 6 to 8 reps for 4 sets using bodyweight and compound movements to focus on keeping strength, this way we make sure we´re not losing muscle mass.

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

If you are new to the gym we need to get use to working out and low volume will give us results so doing 3 sets is a great way to start, if we are more trained we can go with moderate volume which works great for all fitness goals, if we are highly trained we can do high volume for a period of time and then go back to moderate or even low volume. If we go high volume for a long time we 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 our body and muscles with high volume, we can do them for 4 weeks and then reduce volume for 2 or 3 weeks.

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

The best option is to keep changing volume, going high volume for a couple of weeks is a great way for muscle growth considering that we go low volume for a couple of weeks to allow recovery. This is what I would do for someone who has been training consistently for a long period of time. For someone who is starting we need to start with low volume prioritizing developing the daily habit of exercising.

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

Exercise

Training variables: Frequency

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How many times per week can you work each muscle group? Does we need to increase and lower frequency according to our goals? 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.

There needs to be a balance between frequency and volume and we also need to follow a good nutrition program that supports the amount of work.

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

If we are new to working out,  high frequency by doing full-body workouts 3 days per week on none consecutive days is a great option. If we do full-body workouts 3 days a week the volume for each muscle group will be low on each workout The goal here is to develop the habit of working out and we need to do it with activities we like that gives us the best results possible, if we hate doing 3 or 4 day splits then it will be harder to get up and exercise.

If the goal is fat loss and considering that we 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 our body the stimulus needed to keep the level of strength so that we maintain as much muscle as possible. This option is great for someone who has been working out consistently and it´s already a habit. With moderate frequency we can combine rep ranges, we can do one workout with heavy weight/low reps and the second workout with higher reps/lower weight.

If our goal is gain lean muscle mass we have 2 options, the first one is low frequency with high volume and high intensity, since we are working each muscle group once a week we 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 our muscles to grow. The second option is moderate frequency which causes more hypertrophy and it causes more muscle growth, we 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 doing it. The problem with this one is that in most cases I see people using it to try to gain muscle mass and see results faster but more it´s not always a good thingg. Recovery is crucial for muscle growth and if we are hitting each muscle 3 times a week they may not have enough time to recover.

All variables work together if we have high frequency we need to go lower in volume, with volume high we go lower in frequency, intensity also depends of 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 our goal is fat loss we need to make sure that we are giving our body enough nutrients to get through daily activities and the workout while we are on a calorie deficit so that our body uses stored body fat.

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

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

Let us know in the comment sections how many times are you working each muscle group per week now and it you´ve tried different frequencies which one gives you the best 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

Exercise

Exercise variables that help you achieve your goals

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Have you asked yourself if the workout you are following is the best for your goals?

There´s no reason to spend hours at the gym working as hard as we can if the workout we´re following does not goes according to our goal or if it´s just not right which is what happen with most weight loss programs and we end giving up feeling discourage. We need to exercise and work hard, there´s no doubt about it but we need to make sure that our work will give us the result we want, we need to work hard and smart. This is why we need to understand the basics and that include learning about training variables.

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

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 we need to consider each when creating any workout program according to our goals. It´s not the same to gain lean muscle than to lose fat or just maintain our 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 our workouts look different.

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

All resistance workouts are based on this variables, how we manipulate them depends of our goal, we need to consider all of them for each workout program, if we go high frequency, with high volume and not enough recovery we can over train. All of them work together to help us achieve the best results but we need to know how to make them work together.

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 results.

In most cases we 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 the reason why they took one variable and manipulate it a certain way.

With the next posts we´ll be able to know how to adjust each variable, in what rep range we need to work for better results, how much volume and frequency is needed, how to use periodization in a way that is simple  to apply, how to use progressive overload if we´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. If you don´t want to design your own workouts you can download the ones we´ve created based on all the information we share but still it´s good for you to know and understand how each of them is design so if you want to make some changes and adjust it you´re free to do it.

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

Exercise

What you need to know about muscle hypertrophy

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In the last training post we talked about muscle fibers and how they play an important role for any fitness goal, today we´re going to talk about how those two types of muscle fibers are related to hypertrophy which is something we need to understand for muscle growth if we want to get the best results.

There are 2 types of hypertrophy which are sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar. The 2 of them are related to the muscle fibers because depending of the rep range we are working is how we target each of them.

In sarcoplasmic hypertrophy the muscle increases in size because more fluid gets into the cell, we target slow twitch muscle fibers which are type 1, working around the 12 to 15 reps per set or more. If we want to get “the pump” this is where you need to focus on, this is also the most common rep range and the one we´ll see a lot more on gyms.

Since we are lifting light weights for high reps, we can use the 3 types of exercises; bodyweight, compound and isolation (I´m writing a post for each).

This type of hypertrophy makes us a slave to the gym, we need to be training to keep the muscle otherwise we lose it. Is easier and faster to gain muscle and to look big with this one but if we take some time off the gym, we lose those gains.

In myofibrillar hypertrophy the muscle cell increases in number, we target fast twitch muscle fibers which are type 2, working around the 5 to 8 reps per set. If we want to build lean dense muscle this is where we need to focus on.

Since we are lifting heavy weights for low reps, we can use bodyweight and compound exercises which are the ones we can lift heavy weight, with isolation we can´t lift heavy because we can get injured.

This type of hypertrophy takes more time to build and to get big but it´s there to last, we can take some time off the gym and it will take longer until we lose that muscle. What we need to consider is that here we are working our central nervous system and it takes more time to recover.

If our goal is only to gain strength we need to work on the 5 to 8 rep range which is type 2 or fast twitch muscle fibers if our goal is to get muscle mass faster we need to work on the 12 to 15 rep range which is type 1 or slow twitch muscle fibers. The best option for muscle growth is to work on both creating a program that focuses some days on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and other days on myofibrillar hypertrophy or creating a program where we can combine both in the same workout.

When we combine both types of hypertrophy we make sure that we build lean dense muscle which takes longer but also last longer and we get “the pump” to look bigger, this also help us design workouts with high volume which is also key for muscle growth, there are many variables that come into play (we´re going to talk about all of them in separated posts for each) and that we need to consider to make sure that we give our muscles the stimulus they need but also enough recovery to grow.

We also need to consider that muscle growth is the results of the right stimulus, recovery and proper nutrition which we´re going to talk about in a separate post.

As I´ve said before, exercise is key to help us lose weight and get lean but we need to understand more complex information like muscle fibers and hypertrophy to be able to build the type of physique we want and get the best results.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if you find this information useful and if you’d like us to create programs based on all the information, we´re sharing with you.

It would 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

Exercise

What you need to know about muscle fibers

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If we want to build our best physique, there are some things that we need to know related to exercise and muscle fibers is one of them.

Losing weight and getting in shape is one of the most common goals and then building an amazing physique, if you´ve been on this industry for a long time you know that every year new trends come out just like diets, some people prefer to stick with the basics while others love to try every new workout program, routine or technique.

We don´t need to follow trends, we need to understand how our body works and which tools we can use to achieve our goals, muscle fibers are one of the most important stuff we need to know and understand if we want to get the best results with our program.

We have two types of muscle fibers which are type 1 and type 2, knowing how these two types of fiber works and how you can hit them or target them is key to creating workout programs that lead to our goals.

Type 1 muscle fibers or slow twitch muscle fibers are target with light weights , high reps and short rest periods around the 12 to 15 reps and 30 to 60 seconds rest. This fibers are more efficient at using oxygen and they fire slowly and they can go for long periods of time before they fatigue, this fibers are more useful in marathons, swimming long distances or any activity that follows a steady state pace for long periods of time. This are used for steady state cardio.

Type 2 muscle fibers or fast twitch muscle fibers are target with heavy weights, low reps and long rest periods around the 5 to 8 reps and 2 to 5 minutes rest. This type of fibers are able to fire faster generating short burst of power, speed or strength and they fatigue more quickly. This are used for HIIT cardio type of training.

In fitness there are so many different goals and getting in shape is just one of them, improving body composition must be our ultimate goal but we can also gain muscle, improve overall performance, increase strength, increase endurance, etc.

The reason why some people are better in certain sports is because we´re all different and the combination of muscle fibers in each of us have an impact on our performance making us better at some types of activities but practice and our daily habits also play an important part on overall performance.

Knowing the combination of muscle fibers we possess and having a clear goal makes it possible for us to design a workout program that get us the results we´re looking for by considering our genetics and making use of them in the best way possible and not as an excuse.

If you are an professional athlete then it´s best to focus on your sport otherwise for normal people like me is not only about looking great is also about performing great in our daily activities so our goal is to improve body composition and improve overall performance but we don´t need to get to any extreme is about getting in our best shape possible and for this we need to work both types of muscle fibers and this can be done with both types of training, cardio and resistance.

As you can see things can get really complex, whether we use this information or not depending of our goals is important that we understand how our body works at least the basics so that we can design a workout program that works for us. There are so many different programs out there which will give us results for a period of time but creating a personalized program for each of our goals based on our body and what we love will give us better results, it´s not the same to buy programs and depend of those than to have the information we need to create our own.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if you prefer to design your own fitness programs or if you prefer to just follow a program and not worry about bringing exercise, diets and everything together.

It would 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

Exercise

Isolation exercises, when to use them.

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For the last posts we´ve been talking about types of exercises, we talked about bodyweight and compound now let’s talk about isolation exercises so that we can start creating our own programs according to our goals.

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

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

While for compound movements we can lift heavy weight and work on myofibrillar hypertrophy, strength and power, with isolation movements we can´t lift heavy.

If we feel like a muscle group needs more work, then we can use isolation exercises to give that muscle the extra work it´s missing. We´ll be using a weight we can lift for around 12 to15 reps, we can go a bit heavier and hit the 10 to 12 reps. In both reps ranges we´ll be working on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy range (if you want to learn more about types of hypertrophy click here).

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

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

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

One point that needs to be really clear is that isolation exercises isolate muscles so they work one muscle at a time this means that we won´t be able to lift heavy weight, we use them to add more volume to our workouts especially on weaker muscles, if we let our ego get in the way and we try to lift more weight we can get injured. We need to avoid all types of injuries because they can take us off the gym for a certain period of time.

We exercise at home or in the gym to build our best physique possible, one that looks great and that is useful so we don´t care about what others around us are doing, we focus on our progress on being better than the last time we did it.

All exercises we can find in books, magazines, internet, etc they all belong to one of the 3 types we´ve seen in the last posts which are bodyweight, compound and isolation but we can find so many different exercises that can be overwhelming if we try to do them all. As I´ve said before we can keep things simple by focusing on what works, we can stick to a few exercises for each muscle group and develop a great physique.

Now that we´ve talk about bodyweight, compound and isolation exercises let us know which one is your favorite by leaving a comment in our Twitter and Facebook account.

It would 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

Exercise

Compound exercises, you need them!

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Every time I pass through a gym I see people doing so many different exercises for each muscle group which for me only makes the workouts more complicated, if you are one of those guys or girls who do a bunch of exercises for each muscle group but, you´re doing them for a reason, and you understand why then that´s great but, many people don´t understand why they´re doing certain things a certain way, they just follow some workout they found on the internet or the one that some  friend recommended them.

In the last posts we talked about bodyweight exercises now let’s talk about compound movements which along with bodyweight exercises are really helpful to get an amazing physique and improve overall fitness and strength.

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

Performing compound movements with free weights (barbells or dumbbells) is the best option even when we 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 we´re working on. Since compound exercises are multi-joint movements, we 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 we keep increasing the weight our performance will improve too.

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

Even when we can lift really heavy weight with this type of exercises I don´t recommend going to high to hit low rep ranges between 1 – 4, the lowest I will go is 5 reps, the reason for this is to avoid injuries, when we go to high in weight to hit the 1 to 4 rep range the chances of getting injured are really high, our body makes a huge effort and we need to make sure that our form and everything is right. If our goal is to improve body composition, to get in our best physique possible and sustain it we don´t need to go that heavy in weight and low in reps, working in the 5 to 8 and 9 to 12 rep range is perfectly fine.

When we are using compound movements it is simple and effective but it doesn´t mean 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 we need to consider recovery, which is as important as our workouts, the central nervous system needs more time to recover so we can´t train the same muscle group 2 days continuously.

If our goal is muscle growth we can create a workout program that combines bodyweight, compound and isolation exercises and that uses both types of hypertrophy on separate days and hitting each muscle twice per week, this will give us the best results but we need to be careful how we design the program.

If our goal is fat loss, we can stay with bodyweight and compound exercises and focus on low rep ranges around 6 to 8 and make sure that we maintain our strength so that we maintain muscle mass.

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

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you like to keep things simple and effective and if you prefer short workouts compared to long workouts?

It would 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

Exercise

Bodyweight exercises, a great tool!

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For someone who is starting their fitness journey or for someone who has many years training, bodyweight exercises are always a staple.

One day I found out some videos on YouTube about calisthenics and all the guys looked amazing, lean and in really good shape, I finished watching the video and I stood up and tried to do some pushups, for my surprise I couldn´t do any… not even one. I felt so weak and angry and realized how could that happened if some years ago I could do 50 pushups?

I practiced Karate for about 11 years since I was 5 and I was able to do 50 pushups, squats, dips and bodyweight rows. Remembering this got me really angry, I wanted to be able to do that same amount of reps on each exercise and increase weight with weighted vest to go low rep.

Bodyweight exercises are one of the best exercises to get in amazing shape for many different reasons, there are variables for each exercise for any fitness level from the simple versions for beginners to more advance versions and we can do them anywhere.

We will talk in future posts about muscle fibers and muscle hypertrophy and you may ask how you can apply those to bodyweight exercises and the answer is simple, we can take any exercise for example pushup and choose the hardest version for example one arm pushups (there are harder versions) and we do 5 reps to work type 2 muscle fibers and myofibryllar hypertrophy then we can choose a simple version like normal pushups and do 15 reps to work type 1 muscle fibers or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. We can do this with all bodyweight exercises we can even do 100 reps if we want to go a little crazy and have some fun.

Bodyweight exercises have so many benefits and they can reduce injuries when working out, with any bodyweight exercise we are moving our body through space and it requires more strength and balance but since they are compound movements or multi-joint exercises we are working several muscles at the same time and the range of motion is more natural which reduce stress on the joint and avoid injuries.

If we think about what type of training or exercise can get us in amazing shape and help us build an amazing physique it´s bodyweight, when we start we´ll find all exercises so hard to do and some of us feel terrible when we start with the most simple versions but that´s how we all begin, with time we start losing fat (if we´re following a right nutrition program) and we realize that the leaner we are the easier all exercises get. As we lose fat and get in better shape, we weight less so we need to push or carry less weight in the exercises, this is a great motivation to stay lean.

When we´re starting our fitness journey we´re are out of shape and we don´t want to go to the gym and feel embarrassed so what we can do is start in our home with bodyweight exercises as resistance training and jump rope or jogging as cardio training, this helps lose fat and get in shape, with this our self-confidence increases and then we can go to the gym to add more exercises like compound movements and isolation.

We all need to be able to do bodyweight exercises and yoga which both take a lot of skills like strength and balance, when we can control our body and our mind we are able to achieve amazing things in life, it´s amazing the physique we can build just by working on getting stronger and progressing through all different variations of each exercise and we add some yoga poses we learn new skills that will also help us in our day to day.

You can start today doing 10 pushups, 10 squats and 10 crunches. Go ahead start now!.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account what is you favorite bodyweight exercise and why.

It would 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