Its Spring! A wonderful new season! The perfect time for a change in your training strategy. If you’ve been working hard on your resolution this new year, or if you’re just starting out, even if you are a seasoned athlete who is stuck in a “blah” kind of rut then please keep reading.
I will be the first to admit. Some of the things I write can be critiqued as obvious statements. I try hard not to delve too much in to the chemistry, physiology or bio-mechanical terminology. Therefore I prefer to write about the basics, with just a twist of ‘Nathan perspective’ added. I am discussing with you in this piece, the importance of embracing different training styles to optomize results from your workouts. I’ll cover different training styles and explain their benefits and how they can be incorporated into your routine.
Power lifting incorporates compound movements that activate your core and help your stability and balance. Don’t be scared of power lifting techniques. No one is forcing you to lift crazy-heavy weight. Ladies, don’t worry. Power lifting does not automatically result in bulky muscles. Even if you keep the weight on the lighter side you can still execute the movements and benefit immensily.
- Dead lift
- Clean and jerk
- Bench Pressing
This is a good change up for those who only train in high intensity circuits. Isolating accounts for both the movement and mentality in your workout. The focus in on one muscle, executed with slow, concentraded movements. This style heavily stresses (or rather I do) the importance of mind/muscle connection; Thinking about the targeted muscle and feel it being activated in both the concentric and ecentric phase of the excercise.
For proper isolation, I highly recommend Flexsolate’s Gym in a Bag. This revolutionary grip free cuff and resistance band combination virtually eliminates the use of secondary target muscles in your workout and takes away the strain of weight on your joints. Ever feel like your aren’t targeting your back as thoroughly as you’d like? Flexsolate straps certainly fix that problem!
Fun, intense and highly beneficial. Plyometrics offer an interesting change to any workout routine. Based around power movements, plyometrics are essentially the process of loading the muscles with pressure and using explosive power to execute the exercise. This allows you to focus on your fast twitch muscle fibers without pressuring your joints with loads of heavy weight. Once used primarily for competeing athletes, plyometrics have shown to benefit everyone at nearly any fitness level.
- Box Jumps
- Stadium Steps (sprinting intervals up a large flight of stairs)
- Kettle Bells.
*note PLEASE only use kettle bells if you are an experienced athlete or being supervised by a reputable personal trainer. These are NOT for beginners.*
Circuits are adaptable to any workout! The great thing about circuit training is the versatility. This method is good for Yoga enthusiast, body builders, tri-athletes and those seeking all around health and wellness. Circuits come in many different forms. My favorite is drop sets. Several sets back to back with increasing or diminishing reps for every set. Benefits include, a very unique shock to the muscle fibers, an increased heart rate resulting in more calories burned and over time will allow your body to recover faster between sets as your stamina improves.
Circuits can be divided in to muscle groups or overall body conditioning. You may even try to throw short bursts of cardio (both aerobic and anaerobic) into the cycle. For beginnners or those with limited abilities I like to recommend total body conditioning. *Keep in mind, I do not encourage that anyone go beyond what they know their physical limits to be. When I mentioned versatility, I was referring to exercise, weight, time AND tempo.*
- Total body conditioning circuit training
Legs, Core, Back, Shoulders - 3-4 sets each, in sequence. 8,10,15,20 reps (or visa versa) I recommend keeping rest periods short. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 seconds. If you feel recuperated sooner then keep moving!
Cardio (this part is mainly for my fellow meat-heads who think cardio is for girls)
ATTENTION: If you are not already incorporating some method of cardio into your weekly routine, GET STARTED! To you all you bodybuilders, just because its off season doesn’t mean you get to turn chunky. Yes your diet is less strict but cardio is one of the key elements in making your best gains between shows. Cardio keeps your body fat percentage low. Making your diet season easier. Especially when it comes down to the final crucial weeks. 40 minutes of cardio, three times a week will flush out any remaining lactic acid in your muscle tissue. Allowing your body to recover at a quicker pace. Keeping up with your cardio is like keeping up with your squats and deadlifts; Sure they can be a pain in the ass but the longer you do them, the more you improve and the easier it becomes to keep them a part of your regular routine. Trust me, keeping cardio as a staple in your fitness regiment will make your life much easier when you start to cut 12-14 weeks out.
I realize I merely scratched the surface on several of these categories. I was only trying to offer a small insight into the different options for changing up a current fitness routine. If you have any questions or if you see any errors in this blog, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for reading!