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Behind the Tip: WEIGHT!!! Heavier isn’t better?

Steve January 8, 2014

Well it’s official, the eager resolution seekers are out in full force and they’re taking the gyms by storm!  Kudos to them for making a charge at it, now let’s school them on  how to achieve real sustainable results with any exercise at the gym.  More often than not we see the group of fitness goers hording around their favorite piece of equipment as they take their time (that’s entirely other topic) showcasing their “strength” in lifting as much as they can AND then some recruiting every strained muscle in their body.  You’ve seen it… The plates are loaded 4 deep on each side to the Bench Press bar, sitting on the end of the bench with what seems like an eternity as they gaze around to see who’s going witness this great feat, and they take 10 deeeeep breathes with before even laying down to get in position for execution.  Yep, then comes the lift…. Boom, the back comes arched off the bench as to allow the largest of cargo ships to pass under the bridge.  Then comes the descent of the bar with the anticipation to one of two things happening, A. Gravity takes a hold of the bad benchridiculous weight bearing load and takes a heavy trampoline bounce off the sternum OR B. The bar doesn’t doesn’t like long trips and takes a pit stop half way down only to be jerked up to the top.  Most impressive is that the entire set regardless of how many poor reps are completed are done in ONE breath typically.  Either way, we watch it happen around us in puzzled amazement and we don’t say anything as we carry on with our workout- or perhaps you’re guilty of it in your own style of training.  Unless your fitness goal is to tear a muscle or blow out a joint, it’s not the preferred method of any training principle (other than some Powerlifting strategy arguably).

Incline Heavy liftSo what to do:  The obvious is lift the appropriate weight that allows you to complete each repetition within your ” rep range” at FULL range of motion.  Allow full contraction from the insertion to the origin of the muscle targeted in a controlled tempo or cadence.  The object is to engage as much muscle fiber to the specified muscle grouping possible without allowing additional muscle pairings to be recruited.  If you find yourself lifting with your “normal weight” and you can’t seem to get the killer pump or direct fatigue your body deserves, take a 25-35% reduction in weight and feel the difference immediately.   Take pride in your repetition speed and tempo too; for example a moderate 2:0:2:0 tempo is executed with a 2 second contraction control in the eccentric range of motion (elongation of muscle), Zero rest in full elongation position, 2 seconds contraction control of the concentric range of motion (shortening of muscle), and zero rest in the fully contracted position.  Repeat this pace for the desired amount repetitions and watch the new you take form.  With these simple principles accounted for in your training regimen, you’ll never sacrifice form for lackluster results again.

Pro Coach Steve

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