Posts Tagged strength

Physical fitness made simple has moved!

Hey everyone,

I have recently decided to transfer the content of my fitness site (https://fitnessmadesimple.wordpress.com) and my diet/nutrition site (http://dietsexplained.wordpress.com/) to my new blog:

http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/

I was getting a lot of questions on topics other than diet and fitness training. With a more general health blog, I can focus on topics not specifically exercise or diet.

I hope everyone enjoys

DR

, , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Power Training

This Post has been added to my new site, Health habits. You may want to take a look there as I have been busy adding new posts.

In my post, Muscular Strength made simple, I introduced you to some of the theory behind the different types of muscular strength.

But, enough of theory, today I will show you how to maximize your muscular power.

By the end of this post, you will know the ‘whys’ and ‘how-tos’ about getting brutally strong and powerful.

To get you started, I will also give you a ‘tried and true’ program designed to turn you into the strongest, fastest, most powerful version of yourself that you could ever imagine.

I can’t guarantee to turn you into the Incredible Hulk.



But I can sure as heck guarantee that you will be bigger and stronger than the ‘before’ picture.

What is Power?

Simply put, power is the ability to move heavy loads, fast.

To do that, we need to do two things. Build your maximum strength as high as possible and teach your muscles to contract as fast as possible. Simple.

Before We Begin

This program is designed for trainees who:

Make regular visits to their doctor and have been cleared for resistance training. That means you have no medical conditions that could be aggravated by moving large weights very quickly. Serious.

Have established a basic level of physical fitness. This is not a beginner program. I will be writing an article on establishing a basic level of physical fitness in the near future.

Do not have serious muscular imbalances. While this program is designed not to cause muscle imbalances; it is not a rehab program. I will also be writing an article on that topic in the near future.

Are serious about transforming their body. Don’t waste your time if you are not willing to commit yourself fully to this program.

Power = Maximum Strength + Maximum Speed

To develop Power, you need to combine maximum strength with maximum speed.

In a linear periodization model of resistance training, strength and speed training are never performed concurrently. However, my review of the current literature as well as my first hand experience has led me to believe that training both strength and speed at the same time is not just possible; but essential.

With this method, we avoid the de-training effect of switching from one program emphasis to another.

In the linear model, hard fought strength gains begin to dissipate soon after strength training is abandoned for speed training. The same holds true for losses in speed. You are always playing a game of two steps forward and one step back.

Another benefit of concurrent strength/speed training is that since gains in strength/speed are happening incrementally and simultaneously, your increasing speed is not effected by your increasing strength, and vice-versa.

In a linear program, you might focus of 4-8 weeks on your maximum strength. During that time, you might increase your max strength by 10% (X + 10%). Due to lack of stimulation, your speed my drop by 3% (Y-3%). After completing the strength portion of your program, you shift your focus to speed training.

However, not only are your muscles slower, but you are asking them to lift weights 10% heavier than they have lifted.

Now you are two steps forward and two to three steps back.

Train both strength and speed together and they both increase together. Your strength may only increase by 8%, but your speed will also increase by 8%.

Strength + Speed = Power

Maximum Strength Training

In my program, maximum strength is trained twice per week.

During each workout, you will focus on 1 major movement. That movement will be performed in consecutive sets of 3 repetitions until you can no longer perform 3 repetitions. You will continue adding weight to consecutive sets until you reach your 1 Rep Maximum.

After your major movement is completed, you will perform a series of complementary exercises in sets consisting of 5 to 10 repetitions.

Each of the two maximum strength workouts will focus on a different movement.

As well, since this workout is very intense, you WILL perform a thorough warm-up before hitting the serious weights. Not just cardio. Calisthenics, dynamic stretching, overhead squats, snatches, or light weight training is required.

Maximum Speed Training

Like maximum strength training, maximum speed is trained twice per week.

Like max strength day, you will focus on 1 major movement. While it doesn’t have to be the exact same movement as max strength day, it must be in the same family of movements.

Like max strength day, you will be performing sets of 3 reps. However, the number of sets will be predetermined and the weight will be between 50 and 60% of your 1 Rep Maximum on that lift.

For simplicity’s sake, you may want to keep your movements consistent between max strength and max speed day.

Like max strength day, you will be performing a series of complementary exercises after finishing the main movement.

Off Days

Off days should focus on rest and repair of your body. This program will test both your musculature and your nervous system. Stretching, chiropractic, massage, light cardio, restorative yoga, hydrotherapy, etc. is recommended.

Movements

While this program was originally designed for strength athletes, by replacing the traditional power moves with more athletic moves, this program can be modified to suit any sporting or general fitness requirements.

For the purpose of this article, I will provide a wide variety of exercise options; grouped into movement families. I am listing the families and some selected exercises below.

Upper Body

Vertical Push

Major Movement – Military Press, Push Press, Side Press – standing, seated, 1 hand, 2 hand

Supplementary – see corrective exercises

Vertical Pull

Major Movement – Chin-Ups, Pull-Ups

Supplementary – Straight Arm Pulldowns, Pullovers

Horizontal Push

Major Movement – Chest Press – flat bench, incline bench, decline bench, standing cable/bands

Supplementary – Tricep Extensions (Skullcrushers/Tate Press, Close Grip Bench Press, Dips)

Horizontal Pull

Major Movement – Row – Cable, Bent-Over, Standing, Seated, Barbell, Dumbbell, 1 hand, 2 hand

Supplementary – see corrective exercises

Lower Body

Walk / Lunge

Major Movement – Bulgarian Lunge, Step Ups, Static Lunges

Supplementary – Walking Lunges

Squat

Major Movement – Squat – Olympic or Power, Front Squat, Overhead Squat, Box Squat, Deadlift

Supplementary – Hip Thrust – 1 leg or 2, 1 Leg Deadlift, Pull Through, Glute-Ham Raise or here.

Core

Supplementary – Ab Wheel, Ab Flexion – Crunches (various), Leg Raises, etc…, Woodchops, Side Bends, etc…

Corrective / Postural

Corrective exercises depend on your structural imbalances. I plan on doing an article on this topic, but in the mean time, Eric Cressey is a great source of postural / corrective exercises. Here is an article. His site. Mike Robertson is another good source of info. Gray Cook is another.

Equipment

Your body doesn’t know what type of equipment you are working with. All it knows is that you are putting them to work. Equipment is up to you: Bodyweight, rubber bands, bow flex, cast iron weight, barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, bodybars, sandbags, hydraulic machines, cables, etc…

Setting Up Your Workout

Decide where you want to get Superhero Strong.

You need to pick one lower body movement and one upper body movement as your two main movements. I suggest that you look to address your weak points first. If your bench press is strong, but you can only perform 5 chin-ups…get ready to hang from that bar.

Another suggestion I will make concerns muscular balance and the most effective churning of your training program. If your goal for this program is to become the bench press king, then you should stick with the bench press as your focus upper body exercise. If, however, you are looking for a more overall athleticism, think about switching up your focus every 4-6 weeks.

Upper Body – Weeks 1-4 Bench Press, Weeks 5-8 Standing Cable Row, Weeks 9-12 Push Press, Weeks 13-16 Chin-Ups.

Lower Body – Weeks 1-4 Box Squat, Weeks 5-8 Rack Deadlifts, Weeks 9-12 Bulgarian Lunge, Weeks 13-16 Good Mornings.

I hope that I have made this approach to developing maximum strength / maximum speed understandable to everyone out there. Sometimes it is hard when you know that you are speaking to both beginner and experienced athletes.

Sample Program

This program will be designed to maximize muscular balance and promote Superhero Strength in a balanced way. If you have any questions, please comment at the end of this post.

Day 1 – Maximum Strength – Lower Body

Day 2 – Off

Day 3 – Maximum Strength – Upper Body

Day 4 – Off

Day 5 – Maximum Speed – Lower Body

Day 6 – Off

Day 7 – Maximum Speed – Upper Body

Week 1

Day 1 – Maximum Strength – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Supplemental Walking/Lunging exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Ab Wheel – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Supplemental Core Exercise – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Day 2 – OFF

Day 3 – Maximum Strength – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Horizontal Push Exercise – 6 sets of 10 reps

Corrective Exercise – Face Pulls – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Corrective Exercise – Push-Up Plus or Chest Press Plus – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Day 4 – OFF

Day 5 – Maximum Speed – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – 10 sets of 3 reps with 50% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Supplemental Lunge/Walk Exercise – 5 sets of 8-12 reps

Corrective Exercise – Hip Thrust, – 3 sets of 20-50 reps

Corrective Exercise – X-Band Walk – 3 sets of 2 min. each

Day 6 – Maximum Speed – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Horizontal Press Exercise – 4 sets of 8-12 reps

Vertical Push Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Vertical Pull Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 7 – OFF

Week 2

Day 1 – Maximum Strength – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Supplemental Walking/Lunging exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Ab Wheel – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Supplemental Core Exercise – 3 sets of 15-25 reps

Day 2 – OFF

Day 3 – Maximum Strength – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Horizontal Push Exercise – 6 sets of 10 reps

Corrective Exercise – Face Pulls – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Corrective Exercise – Push-Up Plus or Chest Press Plus – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Day 4 – OFF

Day 5 – Maximum Speed – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – 10 sets of 3 reps with 53% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Supplemental Lunge/Walk Exercise – 5 sets of 8-12 reps

Corrective Exercise – Hip Thrust, – 3 sets of 20-50 reps

Corrective Exercise – X-Band Walk – 3 sets of 2 min. each

Day 6 – Maximum Speed – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Horizontal Press Exercise – 4 sets of 8-12 reps

Vertical Push Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Vertical Pull Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 7 – OFF

Week 3

Day 1 – Maximum Strength – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Supplemental Walking/Lunging exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Ab Wheel – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Supplemental Core Exercise – 3 sets of 15-25 reps

Day 2 – OFF

Day 3 – Maximum Strength – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Horizontal Push Exercise – 6 sets of 10 reps

Corrective Exercise – Face Pulls – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Corrective Exercise – Push-Up Plus or Chest Press Plus – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Day 4 – OFF

Day 5 – Maximum Speed – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – 10 sets of 3 reps with 55% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Supplemental Lunge/Walk Exercise – 5 sets of 8-12 reps

Corrective Exercise – Hip Thrust, – 3 sets of 20-50 reps

Corrective Exercise – X-Band Walk – 3 sets of 2 min. each

Day 6 – Maximum Speed – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Horizontal Press Exercise – 4 sets of 8-12 reps

Vertical Push Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Vertical Pull Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 7 – OFF

Week 4

Day 1 – Maximum Strength – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Supplemental Walking/Lunging exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Ab Wheel – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Supplemental Core Exercise – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Day 2 – OFF

Day 3 – Maximum Strength – Upper Body

Warm-up

Incline Bench Chest Press – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Horizontal Push Exercise #2 – 6 sets of 10 reps

Corrective Exercise – Face Pulls – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Corrective Exercise – Push-Up Plus or Chest Press Plus – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Day 4 – OFF

Day 5 – Maximum Speed – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – 10 sets of 3 reps with 50% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Supplemental Lunge/Walk Exercise – 5 sets of 6-8 reps

Corrective Exercise – Hip Thrust, – 3 sets of 20-50 reps

Corrective Exercise – X-Band Walk – 3 sets of 2 min. each

Day 6 – Maximum Speed – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Horizontal Press Exercise – 4 sets of 6-8 reps

Vertical Push Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Vertical Pull Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 7 – OFF

Week 5

Day 1 – Maximum Strength – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Supplemental Walking/Lunging exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Ab Wheel – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Supplemental Core Exercise – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Day 2 – OFF

Day 3 – Maximum Strength – Upper Body

Warm-up

Incline Bench Chest Press – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Horizontal Push Exercise #2 – 6 sets of 10 reps

Corrective Exercise – Face Pulls – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Corrective Exercise – Push-Up Plus or Chest Press Plus – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Day 4 – OFF

Day 5 – Maximum Speed – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – 10 sets of 3 reps with 53% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Supplemental Lunge/Walk Exercise – 5 sets of 6-8 reps

Corrective Exercise – Hip Thrust, – 3 sets of 20-50 reps

Corrective Exercise – X-Band Walk – 3 sets of 2 min. each

Day 6 – Maximum Speed – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Horizontal Press Exercise – 4 sets of 6-8 reps

Vertical Push Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Vertical Pull Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 7 – OFF

Week 6

Day 1 – Maximum Strength – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Supplemental Walking/Lunging exercise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps, perform the negative slowly

Ab Wheel – 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Supplemental Core Exercise – 3 sets of 15-25 reps

Day 2 – OFF

Day 3 – Maximum Strength – Upper Body

Warm-up

Incline Bench Chest Press – Starting with a light weight, begin performing sets of 3 repetitions, increasing the weight with each successive set. Perform the triples until you can’t. Drop down to sets of single repetitions and continue increasing the weight until you have hit your 1 rep maximum.

Supplemental Horizontal Push Exercise #2 – 6 sets of 10 reps

Corrective Exercise – Face Pulls – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Corrective Exercise – Push-Up Plus or Chest Press Plus – 3 sets of 10 – 20 reps

Day 4 – OFF

Day 5 – Maximum Speed – Lower Body

Warm-up

Squats – 10 sets of 3 reps with 55% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Squat Exercise – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Supplemental Lunge/Walk Exercise – 5 sets of 6-8 reps

Corrective Exercise – Hip Thrust, – 3 sets of 20-50 reps

Corrective Exercise – X-Band Walk – 3 sets of 2 min. each

Day 6 – Maximum Speed – Upper Body

Warm-up

Standing Cable Chest Press – 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM – short rest periods – 1 min max.

Supplemental Horizontal Press Exercise – 4 sets of 6-8 reps

Vertical Push Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Vertical Pull Exercise – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 7 – OFF

Well, I hope I covered everything. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

My diet/nutrition blog

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Muscular Strength made simple

In my post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I divided physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

Since then, I have written in more detail about Structural Balance and Energy System Fitness.

Today I will try to explain the concept of Muscular Strength and how it applies to overall physical fitness.

Intro to Muscular Strength

This component of physical fitness deals specifically with the performance of the body’s skeletal muscles.

Your skeletal muscles contract and stretch in order to produce movement. Simple.

How they produce that movement is less simple.

Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them.

Sit on the couch and they will atrophy. Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions. Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.

Muscular Strength can and has been categorized in a variety of different ways.

I am choosing to divide Muscular Strength into four categories, based primarily on Newton’s Second Law.

\vec F = m \vec a (force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration.)

Mass relates to how much weight/mass a muscle or muscle group can move.

Acceleration relates to how fast that weight/mass is moved.

4 Categories of Muscular Strength

  • Maximum Muscular Strength
  • Maximum Muscular Power
  • Maximum Muscular Speed
  • Maximum Muscular Endurance

Each of these categories has different characteristics with regard to mass and acceleration

Maximum muscular strength

Maximum Muscular Strength is an extreme form of muscular strength.

In relation to newton’s Second Law it completely favors mass over acceleration.

It is a measure of the maximum mass that a muscle, or muscle group can move, regardless of time.

Think immovable object v.s irresistible force. Pushing your ‘out of gas’ car up a hill to the gas station at the crest of the hill. Your maximum squat at the gym.

Maximum Mass moved with little Acceleration. Got it?

The importance of maximum muscular strength?

While this is a point of debate amongst both academics, coaches and athletes, I believe that maximum muscular strength is the most important component of overall muscular strength.

Looking at the force-velocity curve, we see a relationship between force/mass and velocity / acceleration.

Maximum Muscular Strength would be represented by the point on the curve in the upper left corner.

Muscular Speed would be represented by the point on the lower right.

Power is the combination of strength and speed.

So, if you were to increase your maximum strength, you would shift the force-velocity curve and your muscular power upwards.

Conversely, if you could increase your speed of movement, you would shift the curve to the right, also increasing your power.

Increasing both strength and speed would push the curve both up and to the right, resulting in even greater increases in power.

For most athletes, that is a welcome goal.

How do you develop maximum muscular strength?

Maximum Muscular Strength is developed using different forms and methods of resistance training. Generally speaking, heavy weights for low repetitions are used to develop max strength.

As this is a very complicated subject, I will be discussing this topic in detail in future posts.

Maximum muscular speed

As mentioned above, Maximum muscular speed is the ability to produce a low force muscular movement very quickly.

As seen in the force-velocity curve, muscular speed is both a relative and absolute term.

Relative, because your mass (along with a bunch of other reasons) impacts the speed that you can achieve. To illustrate this point, let’s look at the animal kingdom.

A cheetah, while incredibly fast – 60+ miles per hour is no match for the peregrine falcon, which can dive at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

In the world of athletics, speed is also relative. Imagine a footrace between the current men’s Olympic 100m champion and the ‘fastest’ sumo wrestler in the world.

On the other hand, speed is absolute. When we are comparing apples to apples, Maximum Muscular Speed is often the determining factor in an athletic competition.

Superior hand speed often makes the difference in a boxing match between two men in the same weight category.

How do you develop maximum muscular speed?

Like Maximum Muscular Strength, speed can be developed using resistance training techniques. However, Max Speed training most often involves body weight training that attempt to maximize both the condition of the muscles and the performance of the neuro-muscular system as a whole.

I will also be covering this topic in more detail in future posts.

Maximum muscular endurance

Maximum muscular endurance is the ability to produce a smaller amount of force, but do it for a long time. A marathon runner is a great example of muscular endurance. His body weight requires less force to move than your car, in neutral, going uphill; but he is able to move that weight for 2+ hours non-stop.

Why do you need maximum muscular endurance?

Maximum muscular endurance is the least sexy of the 4 categories of Muscular Strength. However, it is the most vital when it comes to general health and longevity. While not being taken to extremes, the training to improve muscular endurance has a beneficial effect on your cardio-vascular health.

How do you develop maximum muscular endurance?

Maximum Muscular Endurance is generally trained with body-weight exercises. While there may be a need for injury prevention resistance training exercises, most endurance athletes focus their training on their sport of choice.

I will also cover the training methodologies of endurance athletes in a future post.

Maximum Muscular power

Muscular power is the combination of maximum strength and speed.

An Olympic weightlifter is a great example of power.

So are high jumpers and sprinters.

How do you develop Maximum Muscular Power?

As Maximum Muscular Power is a combination of Max Strength and Max Speed, the development of power involves a combination of training methodologies.

I look to cover this topic in my next post.

Muscular Strength

I hope this introductory post was helpful in helping you understand Muscular strength training and how it impacts athletic performance and general physical fitness.

In future posts, I will go into a more detailed explanation of each of the 4 categories. I will also provide same training programs for each category of Muscular Strength.

Energy System Fitness

My diet/nutrition blog

, , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

An Affordable Home Gym

Hey everyone,

I have recently decided to transfer the content of my fitness site (https://fitnessmadesimple.wordpress.com) and my diet/nutrition site (http://dietsexplained.wordpress.com/) to my new blog:

http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/

I was getting a lot of questions on topics other than diet and fitness training. With a more general health blog, I can focus on topics not specifically exercise or diet.

This specific post can be found here.

During my almost 20 years as a personal trainer, I have been asked numerous times to help clients design & outfit their home gym. Taking into account their fitness goals, the available space and their budget, there are a number of ways to go.

When it comes to the strength training part of their gym, most people are usually looking for some form of multi-gym. They promise to give the most bang for the buck.

Along those lines, I was reading an article today about a new type of compact home gym called the Murphy Gym. Obviously, taking it’s inspiration from the original Murphy Bed, the Murphy Gym is a dual cable stack weight lifting station that folds away into it’s own custom made cabinet.

When it comes to multi-gyms, I have to agree, this one is a beauty.

There is a drawback. The price. The Murphy gym sells for $3,495, plus the cost of installation (about $200); That is for the base unit. In the picture immediately above, the cabinetry is all custom work, which costs extra. For those of you who have recently renovated their homes, you know that custom cabinetry doesn’t come cheap.

Now, for those of you that want Champagne quality fitness equipment for a Wine Cooler price, look no further.

Disclaimer: I have no connection whatsoever with any of the products that I will mention in this post.

This is simply equipment that my clients & I have found success with.

For the last 3 years, I have been using Jump Stretch fitness bands with all of my clients. As an in-home personal trainer, that satisfy almost all of my needs. They are portable, light weight, durable and effective.

For those of you that don’t have access to a personal trainer or even a workout partner, there will be some exercises where you will need to attach the band to an immovable object.

In this video, JS band rows are performed in a gym, with the band attached to a power rack.

How many of you have a power rack in your basement?

To recreate this exercise in your home, all you need to do is install a safety grab bar or a handrail (like a ballet barre) or purchase a pre-built Mini-Gym package.

I have also had a client build an outdoor gym by screwing eyebolts into the 4×4 post that he had used to mount a basketball net. That set-up is similar to the $2300 core-pole.

The cost of this DIY Home Gym: $50 for the handrail & hardware and $170 for a full set of bands.

Grand Total: $220

JumpStretch distributors here.

Hope this helps. In future posts, I will be providing band specific workouts.

My diet/nutrition blog

, , , , , , , ,

6 Comments

The Components of Physical Fitness

Physical fitness made simple has moved!

Hey everyone,

I have recently decided to transfer the content of my fitness site (https://fitnessmadesimple.wordpress.com) and my diet/nutrition site (http://dietsexplained.wordpress.com/) to my new blog:

http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/

I was getting a lot of questions on topics other than diet and fitness training. With a more general health blog, I can focus on topics not specifically exercise or diet.

I hope everyone enjoys

DR

This particular post is available here

What is physical fitness?

You will receive some very different answers depending upon who you ask.

To a person with a medical condition, physical fitness may be a day without pain or a day where they have the energy to walk down to the corner store. To the weekend warrior, it is being able to compete with his friends and still be able to go to work on Monday.

To an Olympic calibre gymnast, physical fitness is performing an Iron Cross. The flexibility of an accomplished yoga practitioner is a display of physical fitness. As is the endurance of a triathelete. Or the power of an Olympic style weightlifter. Or the speed of a sprinter. Or the agility of a badminton player…

They are all right and they are all wrong.

For their particular needs, there is an appropriate level of adequate fitness. The weekend warrior has no need to perform an Iron Cross. Or a gymnast to run a marathon.

The decathalete / heptahalete is supposed to represent the ultimate of physical fitness. While the other athletes are specialists, these multi-sports athletes train to develop the ultimate combination of the different components that make up physical fitness.

So that is where we will go. By breaking down physical fitness into it’s components, we will arrive at a better understanding of physical fitness.

The 5 Components of Physical Fitness

Muscular Strength

This component of physical fitness deals specifically with the performance of the body’s skeletal muscles.

Your skeletal muscles contract and stretch in order to produce movement. Simple.

How they produce that movement is less simple. Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them. Sit on the couch and they will atrophy. Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions. Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.

One way to organize these different types of strength is in relation to time.

Maximum muscular strength is the ability to produce the most amount of force regardless of time. That big guy at your gym that is ALWAYS bench pressing may have a high level of maximum strength. He can produce a large amount of force (to move that heavy barbell) but he does it relatively SLOOOWWWLY.

Maximum muscular endurance is the ability to produce a smaller amount of force, but do it for a long time. A marathon runner has a high level of muscular endurance. His bodyweight requires less force to move than a heavy barbell, but he is able to move that weight for 2+ hours non-stop.

Maximum muscular speed is the ability to produce muscular movement very quickly. A hummingbird’s wings are the epitome of speed.

Muscular power is a combination of maximum strength and speed. An Olympic weightlifter is a great example of power. So are high jumpers and sprinters. Another way of looking at power would be to use our weightlifter friend from the gym.

If he bench presses 300 lbs but takes 3 seconds to perform the lift, his power output is 100 lbs. per second. However, if he drops the weight to 200 lbs and performs the lift in 1 second, his power output shoots up to 200 lbs. per second.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, different types of muscular strength rely on the development of the 4 other components of physical fitness.

Neuro-Muscular Co-ordination

This component of physical fitness deals with the communication between your brain, nervous system and your skeletal muscles.

While an in depth analysis of the nervous system is far beyond the scope of this post, I can break it down for you like this:

Your brain issues a command to your muscles. That command is carried via the nervous system (technically, the brain is part of the nervous system) to the muscles. The muscles perform the action if possible. Your nervous system relays the movement to the brain. The brain receives this feedback and issues another command. And so on and so on.

This is a highly trainable skill. Highly desirable as well.

A baby learns to walk by seeing others walk, processing this information in it’s brain and then issuing a command to the muscles to get up and walk. Initially this command will fail as the muscles do not yet have the ability to perform this action. However, the feedback is delivered from the muscles to the brain via the nervous system. The feedback is analyzed and another command is issued and another attempt by the muscles to walk is attempted.

Eventually, the baby will walk.

This neuro-muscular co-ordination is required when learning a new skill or improving a current skill.

Neuro-muscular co-ordination is usually described as agility or balance or simply co-ordination.

Structural Balance

This aspect of fitness has to do with the alignment and interplay of your skeleton, skeletal muscles, ligaments, tendons & fascia.

Are your hamstrings too tight? Is your pelvis in proper alignment? Is the fascia covering your diaphram too tight? Like that well known spiritual said, the leg bone is connected to the shin bone…

If your body is out of alignment in one place, there will be adaptations elsewhere. Whether those adaptations will result in pain and injury depends on factors that are largely out of your control.

Before beginning a new fitness program, it might be a good idea to visit some form of physical therapist for an analysis of your structural balance. An osteopath may be a good option as well.

Energy Systems

Energy system fitness refers to the ability of the body’s three sources of ATP (the main source of cellular energy) to produce that ATP.

The three sources or energy systems are the ATP-PC System (Phosphogen System), the Anaerobic System (Lactic Acid System) and the Aerobic System.

A common misconception about your energy systems concerns the dreaded “fat burning” zone. Many people are of the belief that if you stay well within your aerobic or fat burning zone, your body will burn fat instead of sugar. If you spped up and move out of the aerobic zone into the anaerobic, you will instantly stop burning fat. Not true.

These systems do NOT turn on and off. They are always on. Depending upon your demand for energy, one system may dominate over the other, but they are all working to provide energy for movement.

The ATP-PC system is most efficient for short bursts of activity. The Aerobic system is designed for longer duration, lower intensity activities. The Anaerobic sits in between these two systems. It is best designed for explosive activities of relatively short duration.

Basketball is an anaerobic sport as it alternates short duration, high intensity sprints with periods of lower intensity movements around the basket. These lower intensity activities allow the anaerobic system to recharge. This sport would improve the functioning of the anaerobic system at the expense of the development of the aerobic system. The same could be said for hockey and football.

An excellent illustration of different sports & how they rely on different energy systems can be seen here.

Overall Health

Overall health refers to your mental health, emotional health, body composition & lifestyle. While outside of the scope of this post, these aspects of physical fitness will affect you on a systemic level.

The most physically fit athlete in the world will not be able to perform if his anxiety prevents him boarding a plane to fly to the Olympics in China. A lifestyle choice like smoking will have an negative effect on a triathlete’s performance. And it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to maximize your physical fitness carrying around 20 extra pounds of body-fat.

In future posts, I will be delving deeper into the 5 components of physical fitness along with suggesting exercises and training programs designed to maximize your potential

My diet/nutrition blog

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments