Today’s article is basically a quick rundown of how to train your body evenly, efficiently and functionally.
Lesson No. 1 - Whatever you push, you must pull.
Example: It’s no secret, guys love bench press. There’s nothing more manly than a big set of breasts on a bloke (?). But the second most ridiculous look to come out of the gym, only second to the look of legs like chopsticks, is rounded shoulders and looking like a hunchback. Whenever you push something, you’re predominantly using your chest. Whenever you’re pulling something towards you, you’re predominately using your back.
Final statement: Train your back as much as your chest.
Lesson No. 2 - Isolation & compound movements.
Example: An Isolation exercise is when one joint is active and loaded through a movement. Say something like a bicep curl. The only joint loaded would be the elbow. Compound exercises are when two or more joints are loaded at the same time through a movement. Let’s say a squat, in which the hips, knees, and ankles are all loaded and moving.
Final statement: For most people in the gym trying to lose weight, stay away from isolation exercises. Compound exercises are fantastic in weight loss. Heart rate elevates because the body has to work harder to move more joints at once. Core body temperature will increase. More muscle fibres will tear (sounds gross but that’s why you go to the gym). MOVE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!!!
Lesson No. 3 - Change up of muscle contractions.
Example: You have 3 types of muscle contractions.
Concentric is the shortening of a muscle as it contracts. It’s the most commonly seen. Your chest muscles on a bench press upwards phase. Your biceps when you lift the bar up. Your back muscles when you pull the bar down on a lat pull down. The front of your legs and your bum when you come up from a squat.
Eccentric is the opposite. It’s the contraction of a muscle as it lengthens. Let’s use the same examples as above so you can incorporate that into your gym program. When doing bench press, try slowly lowering the bar back down to your chest. Take 5-7 seconds to do so.
When doing a bicep curl, try slowly releasing the bar back down to a straight arm position.
When doing lat pull down, slowly release the bar while you straighten your arms.
When doing a squat, instead of dropping to the bottom in half a second, take it as slow as you can and I promise you will struggle to sit on the toilet the next day.
Finally...isolation contraction. The contraction of a muscle when it is not lengthening or shortening. You can do this at any point of an exercise. Mix up your bench press with a 5 second hold on your chest. Try a squat hold against the wall for a minute. Squeeze your shoulder blades together when you hold the bar under your chin with a lat pull
Final statement: Mix up your muscle contractions for a full body workout that never lets your muscles get used to one thing.