Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is Your Fitness Program Balanced

Is Your Fitness Program Balanced
Part 1

When you go to the gym, how do you choose what exercises to perform? Most people do not plan their workout ahead of time. Most likely you are not creating balance in your body. When we look in a mirror we see our front side: chest, biceps, quadriceps and abdominals so these are the areas we are going to hit more often. If we do this, we will have an anterior (front side) dominant body and this imbalance will lead to bad posture, poor movement, aches and pains, and ultimately injury. Below are the movements that need to be implemented when going to the gym. Like I have talked about before, you need to start thinking about training specific movements not specific muscles.

Knee Dominant: These are exercises that get more quadricep recruitment. Squats, lunge variations, split squats and step-ups are examples of this movement.

Hip Dominant: These are exercises that are more hip and glute dominant. In my opinion we lack strength and stability in this area. Most of us are “quad” dominant because of the way we move and workout so we need to focus on hip dominant exercises. Deadlifts, single leg deadlifts, hip lift variations and stability ball leg curls are just a few examples of this category.

Pulling: You will be working the muscles of your upper and middle back when performing these movements. Chin-ups, pull-ups, pulldowns, inverted rows, dumbbell rowing and 1-arm cable pulls are examples. Performing these movements will enhance your posture, your shoulder stability and your upper back strength.

Pressing: These are exercises that will recruit more of your chest and shoulders. Bench pressing variations, push-ups, shoulder pressing and incline bench pressing are examples.

Core Stability: Remember, our “core” is not just our abdominals. Our core integrates our hips, glutes, abdominals, obliques, multifidis, pelvic floor, transverse abdominals and lower back. We should not perform movements that put stress on the lower back from repetitive flexion and extension. We need stability in this region. Planks, side planks, core rollouts and cable holds are examples.

When you plan your workout, make sure you are choosing one exercise per category to create balance and symmetry through the body. Get out of performing body part splits (i.e. chest/back, biceps/triceps, legs) and get into performing full body routines. You will see the results and make your time at the gym much more efficient. Next week I will show you how to design a program using the categories above.

(Please go to www.justintrain.com or call 334-8990 to learn more about these movements.)

Part 2:
You do not want more knee dominant movements than hip dominant movements or more pressing movements than pulling movements. This will lead to an imbalanced hip or shoulder structure which can ultimately lead to injury. Learn to create balance and you will feel better, reduce injury and get results.

Today I will give you two examples of how to design your workout to get the most bang for your buck. I will use the movements that were introduced last week. Make sure to start all your workouts with a proper dynamic warm-up. This warm-up should increase flexibility, open up your joints, elevate your heart rate and prepare the nervous system for the workout ahead. It is mandatory.

Workout #1
Set #1
1a) Split Squat x6/leg – Knee dominant
1b) Front Plank x 20 seconds – Core stability
1c) Inverted Rows x 12 – Pulling

Set #2
2a) Stability Ball Leg Curls x8 – Hip dominant
2b) Core Holds x10 seconds/side – Core Stability
2c) Push-ups x12 - Pressing

Workout #2
Set #1
1a) Squat (holding Dumbbell) x12 - Knee Dominant
1b) Side Plank x10 seconds/side – Core Stability
1c) Cable Pulls (lawnmower pull) x 10/arm – Pulling

Set #2
2a) Deadlift x8 – Hip Dominant
2b) Core Rollouts x8 – Core Stability
2c) DB Bench Press x12 - Pressing

Both of these examples have balance and structure. The idea is to go from one exercise right into the next. Once you have completed each set one time through, take a short break, grab some water and continue. Depending on your fitness level will determine how many sets you will complete. Start off by completing 1 set, see how you feel and then go from there. You can perform up to 4 rounds of each set of exercises.

Please, if you have any questions regarding exercise technique, give us a call at 334-8990 and we will assist you to understand them better.

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