Tag Archives: muscular endurance

These Basic Exercises are Still the Best

8 Sep

Do you want to get stronger and more powerful?  Build more lean muscle mass?  Improve your muscular endurance?  Achieve a better level of overall fitness?

Regardless of your goal, strength training is the way to go, and some of the best exercises are the tried-and-true, old standards, like the SquatDeadliftRomanian DeadliftBench PressRowShoulder Press, and Pullup.

There are lots of exercise fads, gadgets, and gimmicks on the market, and a seemingly endless array of commercials and infomercials touting them as the “next best thing.”  And, while there is probably some merit to anything that gets people moving, you can’t do better than weight-bearing exercises that engage multiple joints and muscle groups using complex movements.

Squat

You can perform this exercise with dumbbells or a barbell, or using only your own body weight.  Single-leg squats are also an excellent, change-of-pace, variation.

Deadlift

Although this exercise is frequently performed with a barbell, we favor the trap bar.  It allows for safer execution, through better ergonomics, while not sacrificing any of the strength and muscle-building benefit.

Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

One of the best exercise for the muscles of your posterior chain — lower back, glutes, and hamstrings (We also really like the glute-ham raise).  Also try the single-leg RDL.

Bench Press

Perhaps the best upper-body strength and muscle-building exercise.  We also like the dumbbell bench press — done simultaneously, alternating, or iso (single-arm).

Row

The bent-over row, using dumbbells or a barbell, is a great “agonist-antagonist” (opposing muscle group) complement to the bench press.

Shoulder Press

The vertical version of the bench press, this exercise will also engage your core.  All the same variations apply.

Pullup

Wide grip, narrow grip, overhand, or underhand — this exercise will challenge you.  The lat pulldown exercise is a suitable variation if you’re not yet able to perform the pullup.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Try the 10-5-20 Workout

7 Aug

Hang-Clean[1]If you’re looking for a little variety in your training routine, here’s a workout for you to try:  The 10-5 20 Workout.

This 3-day per week workout combines the benefits of muscle building (hypertrophy), strength and power development, and muscular endurance.

Exercise selection is at your discretion, although we encourage total-body workouts and not “body-part” training.  Additionally, we suggest keeping the same exercises for the entire week.

Here’s how it works (it’s actually quite simple):

  • Monday (or day 1) – perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions of all exercises, using loads that challenge you through this range of repetitions — about 75% of your 1 rep max (1RM)
  • Wednesday (or day 2) – perform 4 sets of 5 repetitions of all exercises, using about 87% 1RM
  • Friday (or day 3) – perform 2 sets of 20 repetitions of all exercises, using about 50% 1RM

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Core Strength and Stability is the Key

15 Jun

bosu-ball-exercise-ball-elevated-push-up_-_step_2.max.v1[1]If you’re an athlete training to improve your performance, developing a strong, stable core — shoulders through hips, and not just abs — should be a priority.

Since every athlete’s strength and power are generated from the core musculature, movement-based, multi-joint exercises — including rotational and anti-rotational exercises — are important components of a well-designed strength and conditioning plan.

Here’s an article from EXOS titled, Why a Strong Pillar is Critical for Soccer, that discussed and simplifies the benefits of a strong, stable core, including:

  • Balance and stability
  • More effective and efficient movement
  • More muscular endurance/less muscular fatigue
  • Injury risk reduction

Although the article addresses soccer, the principles apply to all athletes and sports.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Make Waves to Get Stronger

9 Jul

Battle-ropes[1]At our facility, the goal is always the same — improve athletic performance and fitness through the development of strength and conditioning.  But we use a wide variety of tools to help our clients reach (and exceed) their goals.

Battling ropes are one of the tools we use to improve strength, muscular endurance, and build lean muscle mass.  They work each arm independently, eliminating strength imbalances, and provide a great cardio workout in the process.

Battling ropes are available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, but a 50-foot, 1 & 1/2-inch-thick rope tends to work best for most people.  You can purchase them from a fitness retailer or website, or make your own.  To anchor it, just loop it around a pole.

Here are some battling ropes training tips:

  • Don’t just wave the ropes up and down.  Different motions will work different muscles and skills.  Swing the ropes in circles, side-to-side, or diagonally.  Alternate between simultaneous and alternating swings.
  • Use the ropes anytime during your workout.  Battling ropes can be used for a dynamic warmup, finisher, or an entire workout in and of themselves.
  • Adjust the resistance by moving closer to or farther away from the anchor point.  The amount of slack in the rope determines the load.  Moving toward the anchor point (more slack) increases the intensity.
  • Switch your grip.  Hold the rope underhand, overhand, or double (fold over) the ends.
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart; to start, hold the ends of the rope at arm’s length in front of your hips; knees bent, hips down and back, chin up, chest up.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

These Basic Exercises are Still the Best

14 Apr

deadlift[1]Do you want to get stronger and more powerful?  Build more lean muscle mass?  Improve your muscular endurance?  Achieve a better level of overall fitness?

Regardless of your goal, strength training is the way to go, and some of the best exercises are the tried-and-true, old standards, like the Squat, Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift, Bench Press, Row, Shoulder Press, and Pullup.

There are lots of exercise fads, gadgets, and gimmicks on the market, and a seemingly endless array of commercials and infomercials touting them as the “next best thing.”  And, while there is probably some merit to anything that gets people moving, you can’t do better than weight-bearing exercises that engage multiple joints and muscle groups using complex movements.

Squat

You can perform this exercise with dumbbells or a barbell, or using only your own body weight.  Single-leg squats are also an excellent, change-of-pace, variation.

Deadlift

Although this exercise is frequently performed with a barbell, we favor the trap bar.  It allows for safer execution, through better ergonomics, while not sacrificing any of the strength and muscle-building benefit.

Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

One of the best exercise for the muscles of your posterior chain — lower back, glutes, and hamstrings (We also really like the glute-ham raise).  Also try the single-leg RDL.

Bench Press

Perhaps the best upper-body strength and muscle-building exercise.  We also like the dumbbell bench press — done simultaneously, alternating, or iso (single-arm).

Row

The bent-over row, using dumbbells or a barbell, is a great “agonist-antagonist” (opposing muscle group) complement to the bench press.

Shoulder Press

The vertical version of the bench press, this exercise will also engage your core.  All the same variations apply.

Pullup

Wide grip, narrow grip, overhand, or underhand — this exercise will challenge you.  The lat pulldown exercise is a suitable variation if you’re not yet able to perform the pullup.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

How Hard Should You Push Yourself?

17 Jan

athlete-fatigue[1]Yesterday morning, I had a discussion with one of my customers about the extent to which an individual should push him/herself when working out.  How do you know when you’re done and what if you feel like you could be doing more?

First of all, keep in mind that your training should be goal-oriented, and your training plan should be aligned with your goal(s).  Whether your goal is building muscular strength, power, size, or endurance, there is evidence-based research to support a specific plan for each (please see previous posts on volume, load, and repetition).  There is virtually no evidence to support exercising to the point of exhaustion; more is not always better.  Research has demonstrated that full muscular activation is/can be achieved before you reach a state of exhaustion or fatigue.  Additionally, fatigue adversely affects range-of-motion and technique, which can compromise your gains and increase the likelihood of injury.

It’s okay to push yourself, as long as you have a plan — and follow it — and train with a purpose.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Resistance Training, Part 7: Rest Periods

12 Oct

This, the final entry in my Resistance Training series, will discuss rest periods – the recovery time between sets and exercises.  Rest period length will depend on the athlete’s training goal, intensity, and status (physical condition).

Rest Periods, Based on Resistance Training Goal

The amount of rest recommended between sets is directly related to the load lifted; the heavier the load lifted, the longer the rest period the athlete should allow between sets.  Additionally, more complex lifts – core (multi-joint) exercises – will require more rest than assistance (single-joint) exercises.  The following are recommended rest period lengths for strength, power, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance training programs:

  • Strength and Power; 2-5 minutes
  • Hypertrophy; 30 seconds – 1.5 minutes
  • Muscular Endurance; 30 seconds or less

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Resistance Training, Part 6: Volume

10 Oct

Volume – or volume load – refers to the total amount of weight lifted in a training session.  A set is a group of repetitions sequentially performed before the athlete stops to rest.  Volume is usually calculated by multiplying the number of sets by the number of repetitions times the weight lifted per repetition.

Single-set training may be appropriate for untrained individuals or during the first several months, but many studies indicate higher volumes are necessary to promote further gains in strength, especially for intermediate and advanced resistance-trained athletes.  Performing three sets of 10 repetitions without going to failure enhances strength better than one set to failure in 8 to 12 repetitions.

Primary Resistance Training Goal

Training volume is directly based on the athlete’s resistance training goal.  Below is a summary of guidelines for numbers of repetitions and sets commonly associated with strength, power, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance training programs:

  • Strength – 6 or fewer repetitions; 3-5 sets
  • Power – 2-4 repetitions; 3-5 sets
  • Hypertrophy – 6-12 repetitions; 3-6 sets
  • Muscular endurance – 12 or more repetitions; 2-3 sets

 Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Next: Rest Periods

Resistance Training, Part 5: Training Load and Repetition

8 Oct

Load is the amount of weight lifted (pushed or pulled) during an exercise set.  It is an important component of a resistance training program.

There is an inverse relationship between load and repetitions.  The heavier the load lifted, the fewer the number of repetitions that can be performed.  Load is usually described in one of two ways:

  • One-repetition maximum (1RM) is the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with proper technique for only one repetition.
  • Repetition maximum (RM) is the most weight that can be lifted for a specified number of repetitions.  For example, if an athlete can perform 10 repetitions with 200 lbs in the bench press exercise, his or her 10RM is 200 lbs.

There are a few different ways for the Strength and Conditioning professional to assess and determine an athlete’s training load:

  • Actual 1RM (directly tested).
  • Estimated 1RM from a multiple-RM test; there are prediction equations and tables available to estimate the 1RM from multiple-RM loads. (see NSCA website)
  • Multiple-RM based on the number of repetitions planned for that exercise (the goal).

Load and repetition assignments should be based on the athlete’s training goal.

  • If the athlete’s goal is Strength development, loads (%1RM) should be 85% or more; repetitions should be 6 or fewer.
  • If the athlete’s goal is Power development, loads should be 75-90%; repetitions should be in the 2-4 range.
  • If the athlete’s goal is Hypertrophy (muscle growth), loads should be 67-85%; repetitions should be in the 6-12 range.
  • If the athlete’s goal is Muscular endurance, loads should be 67% or less; repetitions should be 12 or more.

As the athlete adapts to the training load and repetitions, it’s important for the Strength and Conditioning professional to have a progression strategy.  Advancing exercise loads ensures that improvements will continue over time.  It is necessary for the trainer and athlete to monitor and chart each workout and the athlete’s response to it.

A conservative method that can be used to increase an athlete’s training load is called the 2-for-2 rule.  If the athlete can perform two or more repetitions over his or her assigned repetition goal in the last set in two consecutive workouts for a certain exercise, weight should be added to that exercise for the next training session.  (Baechle, T. and Earle, R.; Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)

The quantity of load increases, when progression is warranted, should generally be about 2.5-10%.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Next: Volume

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