Because the adoption of a cardiovascular exercise routine is much simpler than that of weight lifting, we are going to focus our attention in part II of this series on the mechanics of weight lifting. If we are able to understand the fundamentals of how to most effectively and efficiently work out, we can avoid the costs of a personal trainer and maximize the quality of our workouts. First, let’s break down the general muscle groups in order to identify how to best work these groups out, while keeping in mind that the goal is effectiveness and efficiency.
Whether we are doing bicep curls, bench press, rowing or any other variation of lifting, we are engaging in 1 of 2 types of movement. For example, bicep curls are a “pull” exercise whereas bench press is a “push” exercise. This is important to know because let’s say that we commit to lifting 4 times a week, 2 of those days should be committed to pull exercises and 2 days push exercises. Before we look at an example of a typical week, we need to add one more component in order to be maximally efficient. We are only going to do “multi-joint” exercises which means that we aren’t going to waste valuable time doing single-joint exercises such as triceps press and bicep curls. The reason for this is that we can target both triceps and biceps within a multi-joint exercise that is much more efficient due to the fact that its working entire muscle groups as opposed to isolating one group in particular. If we engage in a bench press, we are not only working our triceps but also our chest and shoulder muscles as well. Through this example alone, we can begin to understand how multi-joint exercises will allow us to maximize the amount of muscles we are working out but also minimize the time we need to spend in the gym! If we move down the body into the leg region, the same logic is applied. Rather than engaging in quad press or quad curls, we can work the entire leg by doing squats. The squat action is also far more functional as it mimics movements we actually engage in on a daily basis. An example of a typical week could be Mon/Wed: “Push” exercises and core workouts (sit-ups, trunk twists, etc.) and Tues/Thurs: “Pull” exercises and 45 min of cardio. Although simple, adopting a routine similar to the example will help gain desired results more quickly, while allowing more time outside of the gym to focus on recovery and connection.
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