It's almost Thanksgiving! I love it! Everyone is hitting the gym hard in an effort to prepare for the influx of food that is inevitably going to be on our plates. BUT... I'm not going to write about that. This time, as promised I want to talk about what we are doing with our workouts.
In my experiences as a Personal Trainer, i've noticed many of us overcomplicate what a well rounded workout should look like. Millions of articles are listed about things like:
How many reps?
How much weight should we use?
What's the best way to set up my workout (Do I push and pull?) (Upper body and lower body?)
Whats the most EXTREME, SUPER, ULTIMATE exercise?
The hype is real, but I'm going to answer each of these one by one, and guess what... it's easier than you think.
1. Rep Ranges
Rep ranges are something I believe the vast majority of us think about WAY too much when training. There is some truth to the 12-20 reps for endurance, 8-12 for hypertrophy, and so on so forth, however these numbers usually assume we are using the proper amount of weight, certain rest time, with perfect form. If we are doing bicep curls with 1 lb, do you think 8 repetitions is enough to build massive biceps?
Of course not. There isn't a magic # and our bodies aren't measuring reps, they're measuring muscle breakdown. The best advice I can give: monitor your recovery and build a well balanced workout that includes everything: stabilization, strength endurance, hypertrophy (if you want size, this one isn't necessarily as important) max strength, and power, and SLOW DOWN. Let your body feel the movement, that is what will help you to figure what is an appropriate amount of reps. 1 rep max charts are a great reference point, but they can't account for every single detail.
2.How much weight should I use?
Keeping everything in mind we have already discussed, the answer to this one is easy.
No more than you can handle with proper form.
Progressive overload is the bread and butter of virtually EVERY training goal, but many of us leave out the progressive part. If you are starting out, give yourself room for error, but remember perfect isn't real. Don't be scared to push yourself, not every squat will look the same, no matter how much rest you have. For those of you who have a deeper relationship with your body, google "1 rep max chart" as refere and that will give you a better idea of how much to lift when training.
3. What way should I set up my workout?
There many schools of thought on how we should train. I personally enjoy the push/pull setup more than upper/lower. The flaw I see is that a lot of us can't foresee muscle recovery. There's also work, holidays, children, and everything else. You get it.
My suggestion? Pick one that works for you that you legitimately enjoy, monitor recovery, and BE FLEXIBLE. I've said it before, and i'll say it again, black and white thinking DESTROYS progress.
4. Whats the most EXTREME, SUPER, ULTIMATE exercise?
This is my favorite, so I saved it for last. Everyone under the sun is looking to reinvent the wheel. You may have heard "The best exercise is the one your not doing". In my opinion, this does not mean to wrap your legs with a dynaflex band on top of a bosu ball and do a bunch of squat to presses, this is referring to, more than likely our weaknesses. I hate ab day, but I realize that I get the most benefit from doing the things I'm the least comfortable with.
So back to the basics. If you love bench press, but hate rowing, start rowing. If you love squatting but hate lunging, start lunging. If those things don't work find another exercise that works the same muscle your trying to target and see if that one is more fun to you.
So that was a lot of information, and I realize it doesn't seem simple.
So the final takeaway
Without understanding our body, these other 4 questions can't be answered.
Build the best relationship with your body that you possible can, and the rest becomes crystal clear. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon.
Hope this helps! Have a great Wednesday!