WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE BASICS?
The basics can be made up of a small number of weight training exercises that cover the main muscle groups in a way that is suitable for individuals who want to build their physique quickly, proportionately, and achieve a good level of strength. In fact all of the above without trying to copy a dubious exercise that an uneducated member has copied by watching another uneducated member.
Take the guy who is attempting to do a tricep extension/pushdown by griping the bare end of a cable (no handle) and jerking it wildly up and down without thought to posture, breathing, core activation, and all the while achieving nothing, but no doubt thinking it looks pretty ‘cool’. ‘Looking Cool’ is using up energy and focus by trying to hang on to a bare cable end. It’s anything but cool and just a waste time.
‘Looking Cool’ needs to get real and use a d-handle, a press down bar, a straight bar, or a single tricep pushdown rope. These are basic cable attachments and are designed to give the optimum muscle contraction and are a helluva lot different from the totally useless end of a cable.
If you want to train for real then you might give some thought to the basics.
The basics are a concentrated group of exercises that will benefit someone who just wants to build up some muscle and have a reasonably good physic. Use a basic exercise program that will maintain that physic without needing to continually switch to a whole lot of exercises that will not only waste energy, but will have only very minimal results for the added effort.
A basic routine could be something like this. Change the order if you feel it would help
Do your usual warm up plus stretches.
1. Start with a deadlift as an added stretch and exercise combined.
2. Barbell bench press.
3. Lying Barbell pullover reaching back as far as possible.
4. Upright row with a barbell.
5. Forward lying rear delt raise with a barbell or dumbbells.
6. Overhead shoulder press with a barbell.
7. Overhead shoulder press behind the head with a barbell.
8. Squats with a barbell.
9. Barbell curl
10. Reverse barbell curl
11. Seated row with a wide grip
12. Tricep pushdown with a straight bar
Finish it with a fast 2 kilometre run and warm down stretches
Along with your cardio and core work this kind of workout is not for those lacking in motivation but, results are pretty much guaranteed if, you can handle the weights three times a week and fit in the cardio and core.
Initially you might have to spread out the sessions a bit to allow for sufficient recovery although, it might pay to start off with 2 sets of each or 1 set and use it as a circuit. If you use the circuit system try 20 seconds on each exercise and 20seconds off. If you use the 2 set method then use a set number of reps and rest period between exercises.
Finally if your session at the gym is half exercise and half social, then it’s NOT going to work well for you. Put in the effort and it’ll work. If you are going to go at it half-arsed then don’t expect good results. Still, in the end, it’s whatever turns your crank.
If you are going to enter into a physical health regime then why not set the bar high and go the whole nine yards? It just needs some focus and the right state of mind.
For overall wellbeing across the board there’s general health, cardio fitness, and strength training. The trick is to combine all three into an interacting package. Which in itself sounds easy enough except it’s the input used in each of the components that creates the balance that gives your body the power and endurance you’ve been looking for.
GENERAL HEALTH re Diet and Supplements
Beginning with general health, a good start is to give your body the kind food that is suited to your specific metabolism, or to be clearer, the type of food containing a balance of protein and carbs that you can digest easily allowing for a high absorption rate of vitamins and minerals. Although, keep in mind from the age of 40 there is a gradual decline in rates of absorption so be aware of this when sorting out your diet and supplements.
CARDIO FITNESS TRAINING re High Intensity Heart Rate Workouts.
We each have our preferred disciplines for this. The obvious, either in the gym or outside, being Cycling, Running, Rowing, Walking (fast), and Gym Resistance Circuits with 20sec. on and 6sec.max rest between stations. Combinations of two or more suit most people e.g. Triathlons. If you think you’re up to it the best approach for this would be to initially work out using your favourite for at least 45 minutes and graduating up to the next level by adding another 15 minutes and then including another activities as your fitness increases. Build up to a total of say 2 hours which is probably more than enough for the purpose of the whole exercise routine.
STRENGTH TRAINING re Barbells, Dumbbells, Resistance Machine Workouts
Strength training workouts will most certainly benefit from being physically fit so it pays to always have a decent level of cardio fitness while weight training. The endurance gained from being fit will mean you can decrease your rest periods and increase your rep range, and or, the increase in endurance will mean training with bigger weights and so it will be easier to keep the number of reps up. To get the best from weight training have regular workouts, good nutrition, and a good level of cardio fitness.
So if the three components are combined with the right balance and maximum physical effort done in a way to suit your inherent physical makeup then there is no reason why you can’t expect good results.
Go for it. It’ll be a blast.
Want a full body workout? Then head straight for the rowing machine.
Along with some other exercises that are relevant to improving rowing power and ability, rowing can improve strength in your legs, back, arms, glutes and core. The exercise itself and associated exercises will also help to give you an A1 posture. Plus with a dedicated program, and your dedication, it will improve your health and fitness level out of sight.
However, to achieve all of the above the personal requirement for you is to actually like rowing. You may have to sit on that rower for up to an hour, and possibly longer. Plus you’ll have to spend some time with resistance machines like seated row, leg curl and leg extension.
There are 2 levels that you can consider.
The first is to dedicate your workouts to rowing to encompass all of your fitness needs. A full on program will be 2 days on and 2 days off sessions or if you have the stamina an extended 1 day session with 1 day off
If you can’t handle that then go to plan B
Plan B is to integrate it in to your normal gym workouts. Even a twenty to thirty minute session 3 times a week along with other cardio workouts and, subject to your currant fitness level, run your heart rate at 75 to 90%. It will go a long way to an improved fitness level although it would probably suit most people to have a greater variation of exercises in their workouts. Variation, for some, can be a lot more interesting as opposed to taking the whole thing too seriously.
But rowing is special. It’s an all round fitness and strength workout but it would definitely not turn everybody’s crank as it is seen by some as boring, which apparently overrides the prime objective which is to be fit and strong. So it’s up to the individual to make the choice as to how one goes about getting fit, keeping in mind that to get the best out of anything, it requires that bit extra. Mentally and physically.
But it is special because properly worked with the associated exercises it can be a total gym workout in itself. So, step up and go for gold in the rowing.
Fitness Training using your hear rate as a guide to peak fitness is standard practice and indeed it’s a reliable measure of where you’re at during any kind of training session used to increase physical fitness. And weight training as with any other sport can be used to significantly increase physical fitness if approached in the right way. Most weight training, across the board, is generally made up of sets and reps of anything from 3 to 6 sets and generally 6 to 15 reps.
With resistance or weight training using your heart rate, the number of reps or sets doesn’t apply. In the case of heart rate training the time of rest periods, set concentric times, and set eccentric will all change.
Basically there is very little rest period. Its start and don’t stop.
As with any exercise session begin with the basic stretches, calf, quadriceps, hamstring, chest, shoulder, tricep, and bicep/forearm. Next warm up with a cardio exercise for 10 minutes on either a bike, treadmill, or preferably a rowing machine for the very good reason it’s a full body exercise. Get your heart rate up to 80% max even if you have to extend the cardio for longer.
Make sure a list of about 16-18 exercises, including legs, are ready but any particular order is not necessary. You don’t want to be standing around having a think about it as the cardio/weight session requires concentration and timing. You just need to get it on and get it done.
Start with the first exercise. Load a comfortable resistance or use comfortable free weights. Set a high pace of reps for about 30 seconds. Move straight away to the next exercise trying to allow only 30-40 seconds between the last and the new exercise. And so on. Keep an eye on your heart rate making sure it’s running at around 75% to 85% or at a level that fits your currant fitness level
The secret of heart rate fitness training is to produce a heart rate intense workout using the weights or machines for resistance. And like any fitness training it may require some experimentation. A good time for the circuit would be 30 minutes which means going through your exercises twice. If you can manage the pace go through it 3 times which effectively gives you 3 sets per exercise and will certainly provide an excellent workout for fitness. If you don’t consider yourself to be very fit then take it easy to start with. Build up at a pace your existing fitness can handle as even a 30 minute workout of this type can be quite physically demanding.
After the workout warm down with 10 plus minutes on a treadmill and stretches.
Interval training with weights and cardio.
Fitness starts from the feet up and so running could be considered to be the direct approach to fitness. And of course that would be right because anyone with half a brain knows running can be good for you. That is, of course, if you have the time, the motivation, and don’t suffer from any significant muscle or tendon problems in the legs and or glutes.
Cycling is also great for cardio fitness, and it can also be of benefit despite any minor leg injuries, and it doesn’t have to be out on the road. It can be in the gym which has the benefit of shelter from the elements. And it doesn’t pound your body, as happens with running, so you can stop making excuses. If running is out, get on your bike.
And there is swimming. A great sport and a great fitness activity, combining upper and lower body fitness and strength. So there you have it, combine all three activities and you’re a tri-athlete. Sounds easy enough.
However, every part of the body can be exercised to contribute to overall fitness and strength so, if you put the lower and upper body all together into a cardio/strength/fitness package you end up with the real deal. All athletes use weights and or resistance training to achieve the physical form that is necessary to be the best at their chosen sport. If you have the inherent physical makeup you might be able do it too. But it will take all your focus, and most likely, a lot more time than you have available.
So what’s the next best thing?
Firstly figure just how important it is to you. Then, how much time can you realistically put aside from family, friends, and career, to achieve your goal. This is a serious stuff you are taking on, and it will require some serious time, and serious focus. The thing though, is that all that can be too much and probably unnecessary, for the average fitness enthusiast. However there can be a way to turn it down a notch, and still achieve a well above average fitness level, using a balance of combined cardio, strength, and fitness workouts.
Using your heart rate to weight train for fitness