Stay organized to keep fitness on track
Whether we want to admit it or not, fitness is a science. And basically, all science ultimately becomes very complex. For the fitness-minded individual, the longer one pursues information on their exercise passion, the more they start stumbling on opposing views, opposite “proofs” and literature that contradicts itself.
Keeping, this “white noise” out of your training can be a challenge. Correct movements, the number of sets, reps, maximal heart training rate, and countless other criteria can be overwhelming.
As it relates to exercise movements, many of our clients are interested in knowing what to do when they are on their own and without the assistance of a fitness trainer or group exercise instructor. Speaking in generalizations can be risky business, but ultimately, our role as educators is to keep things simple.
The hundreds of fitness movement can be overwhelming, however this simple guide can help the fitness enthusiast stay organized and keep their work-outs targeted.
When it comes to full-body resistance training (resistance can be any kind of weight or force, including your own body weight) movements, the work out should be broken down into the following five groups with a pre-determined number of movements in each group:
- Squatting – Provided that correct form is used, the squat is an incredibly effective exercise. Not only does it load the entire muscular complex of the legs, but upper torso and core become involved in their effort to remain perpendicular to the floor. When a bar or weight traverses the shoulders (front or back) the demands of the core increase as the torso must balance more weight and the center of gravity is moved to almost it’s highest point. Utilization of this large muscle mass will also jack-up metabolism both during and after the work-out. Start conservatively, and increase range of motion as time goes on based on pain, flexibility and strength boundaries.
- Lunge – While the squat works multiple leg muscles, the lunge (stepping forward alternately or for multiple reps per leg ) will put a greater emphasis on hamstring and glute development than the squat. It also mimics the mechanics and muscles used in the running stride – a key aspect of your functional life-style.
- Push – Your work-out should always have some push movements although the direction one pushes such as the ceiling while standing (shoulders), ceiling while lying on back (chest) or towards the floor with upward resistance like the bar dip (chest, triceps, shoulders) will effect the muscles used to perform the function. Ultimately, there is always an overlap of muscles used in many resistance movements. Additionally, you can either be pushing something away from your body like the chest press or pushing your body away from the resistance, like the push-up
- Pull – Pulling is a terrific movement because it works the back muscles while also utilizing the biceps as the mechanism that makes the back go to work. The key in any pulling movement is to make sure that either there is strong core and spinal stability as spine control stresses increases while good form decreases as fatigue sets in. Leg curls, like arm curls fall into the “pulling” category as well.
- Core – The common theme in all these movements is the core. It is basically involved in one way or another during every lift we do from our feet, and often during the use of machines. With the urban over-marketing of the core to mean stomach muscles, it is important for all individuals looking to become fit, to practice strengthening the muscles that surround the entire spine – not just the stomach muscles.
Once you have created these five general movement areas, the fitness-minded person can list the number of exercises they wish to include under each one. Doing so will help you keep your training program organized, simple and easy to follow.