Since I’ve been writing on the theme of sustainability, I have decided to stray into the mainstream this week, and offer an outline of a sustainable strength training workout, which might be a good fit for many.
This is a workout which can benefit everyone from the prep-athlete, to the working professional desiring to stay in shape, to hardcore fitness enthusiasts, and even seniors. What makes this framework able to fit anyone is in how it is scaled. That is, the weights used, and the intensity given, should be relative to the individual’s ability and desire. Relative that prior statement, this can be anybody’s workout.
· Exercise should make your life better, not worse.
· Use the heaviest possible poundages, in the best possible form.
· Cheating to enable more repetitions increases the opportunity to become injured. If you have to sacrifice perfect form to enable another repetition, stop. The body doesn’t know 7 repetitions from 9, or 10. The body knows good form, and failure. When good form and failure meet, results happen.
· Train through as complete a range of motion on all exercises as you are comfortable with. The act of strength training, through a complete range of motion, is also the act of stretching. It is just stretching with weights in your hands or at the ends of your feet.
Cursory definition of fitness:
The sum of strength, balance, endurance, flexibility, and overall command of one’s physicality it applies to everyday living, as well as athletics, and recreation.
These exercises, performed as directed, should enhance all athletic and physical endeavors. Done properly, these exercises will also help minimize the risk of injury which might occur in other forms of athletics and recreation.
This is the rotation of 2 exercises performed with a minimum of rest in-between sets. While your upper body is working, your lower body is resting. While your lower body is working, your upper body is resting.
Every day is leg day:
Sixty-five to seventy percent of a woman’s muscle mass is carried from the hips down. Fifty-five to sixty percent for men. Since a majority of muscle is in the lower body, legs are to be included in every workout.
Increases in muscular detail, hardness, and fullness, though initiated through strength training, are largely functions of diet, and recovery. The most consistent person executing these workouts, will see few results in these areas without adhering to structured and consistent nutritional minimums.
Machines, Dumbbells, And Free Weights:
There are unique values in all of these. There is no one, which is better than the other. Gravity works — period.
Anyone who suggests that free weights are better than machines has little understanding of how machines can be manipulated to enhance flexibility. Machines can also provide a unique plane from which strength can be improved, and muscle growth can be stimulated.
In the end, strength training is about gravity management.
This workout is evenly balanced. Every muscle from the neck down is included. I have included isolateral, and bilateral movements.
I have included vertical pushing and pulling movements, as well as horizontal pushing and pulling movements.
I have included wide, and narrow stance movements for the lower body.
Day 1: Chest/legs
Day 2: Shoulders/arms/legs
Day 3: Back/legs
Three sets of 6-10 repetitions are suggested for athletes and and hardcore fitness enthusiasts.
One – two sets of 8-10 repetitions for general fitness enthusiasts, and for seniors.
Emphasis should be on slow negatives; 6-8 seconds , with force applied for 3-5 seconds
Last word before the workout:
I used the term “outline” in the first paragraph of these instructions. What you will read and view below is just that, an outline. Substitutions can/should be made for the sake of variety within this framework.
An example of that relates to what I wrote earlier about free weights and machines. If I do my incline bench press one week with dumbbells, the following week I might do it with a barbell, and the week after with a chest press machine. There are unique values in all of these.
The same idea can applied to lat pulldowns. If I do them with a narrow grip one week, the following week I might do them with a wide grip attachment. The next week, I might substitute them with an underhanded grip, or with pull-ups.
If I do bench curls for biceps one week, I may do concentration curls the following week, and so-on.
The idea behind this workout is less the movements themselves, and more the idea of placing attention on equal parts pushing and pulling, isolateral and bilateral movements, as well as working through vertical and horizontal planes. That said, the exercises I have selected here, are the ones which I go to first for any of these movements.
I don’t offer instruction during these videos. The whole idea is to make a study of them. Take note of the form you see, and strive to replicate it.
Incline Bench Press/Prone Leg Curls
Chest Fly/True Squats With Stance Outside Shoulder Width
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press/1-Legged Leg Press
Cable Lateral Deltoid Raise/Leg Extensions
Lying Triceps Extensions/Standard Lunges
Bench Bicep Curls/Seated Calf Raise
Lat Pulldowns With Narrow Gripr/Smith Machine Squats With Narrow Stance
1-Arm Seated Row/Walking Lunges
I currently have an aspiring female fitness athlete using this exact framework – she’s the one seen deadlifting 135 lbs. for FLAWLESS repetitions. Her transformation this year has been significant.
I also have a student athlete using this framework. Her performance on the field has never been better.
I have used this framework myself, and have seniors using it as well.
I wish to restate the utility and the benefits of these exercises comes from using proper form through a complete range of motion. Keep the poundages, and the intensity relative to individual ability, and desire.
I will end this with a quote from Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting legend, Precious McKenzie,
“The routine is not what matters; the sets, repetitions, and so-on. What matters most is the effort and the consistency. When people come to understand this, they will enjoy results regardless of the routine they are on.”
I fucking love that quote. I heard it young, and it has been formative, to say the least. Be well. rc…
Please check back in 2 weeks, when I step back out of the mainstream, and into the comfort of the blender of my head. Oh, and there is this from UK upstarts, Henry’s Funeral Shoe. Enjoy…