Want muscle? STOP the quessing game
People who engage in very repetitive tasks such as long distance running, labor or swimming show very little or no improvement in the size and strength of their muscles. Long distance events are by nature very low in intensity.
Compare a marathon runner to a 100 meter sprinter. Marathon runners who train for very long periods at a very low intensity are emaciated looking having less than normal muscle mass and carry on average 14 ? 16% body fat. Sprinters, on the other hand, who train for short periods at a high level of intensity are very muscular and have half the body fat levels than marathoners. If cardio is the key to getting lean, as many people presume, why do marathoners have a higher body fat than sprinters? The reason is, a specific stimulus is required for a specific outcome.
The specific stimulus needed to stimulate muscle and strength is high intensity training. This is a universal training principle that affects everyone without exception. This is due to the fact that we are anatomically and physiologically the same. If this were not true doctors could not perform surgery and prescribe medicine. Consequently, the stimulus needed to induce biochemical changes that build muscle and strength in humans is the same.
Intensity, when referring to training, is the percentage of physical exertion that one is capable of. Training with one hundred percent intensity is the best way, the only way, to stimulate muscular size and strength in the shortest amount of time. How does one gauge the intensity of their workouts? By taking your working sets to positive or concentric failure.
Taking a set to the point of failure, where you cannot possibly perform another rep despite your maximum effort is one of, and perhaps the most important of several factors in your success. There are many who disagree and advocate high volume training with 60%, 72%, 95%, or whatever percentage of intensity they decide is the best. Some even claim training all out, with one hundred percent intensity is not only unnecessary, but detrimental. Over the years I’ve seen so called strength coach specialists, and personal trainers with 15 letters after their last names, concoct the most ridiculous routines, using almost every percentage, that have yet to show any effectiveness in real world application.
The main problem with these bogus routines is that there are only two accurate measures of intensity. Zero, when you are at rest; and 100%, when you?re training to the point of failure. How do you measure anything less than 100% intensity? If I can do 10 repetitions to complete failure with 100 pounds on the leg extension machine, where do I go for 80% intensity? Do I perform 10 reps with 80 pounds? Or do I use 100 pounds and only perform 8 reps? Is 80% the optimum percentage, or is it 65%? There is no evidence that suggests, let alone proves, anything less than 100% effort is equally or more effective. Are you starting to see the ridiculousness and inaccuracy of such training prescriptions?
Intensity cannot be measured accurately with reps or weight. While performing a set, intensity increases exponentially with each successive rep. Performing the first 5 reps on the leg extension is not equivalent in intensity to performing the last 5 reps. Hence, 5 reps is not the equivalent of 50% intensity.
The only way to train that is completely accurate is with all out intensity to failure. This will give you a concrete view of how you?re performing. If you train with 100% intensity during every workout and you do not progress, you know you are not recovering. There will never be a question whether you are providing a strong enough stimulus for progress. However, if you follow the percentage of intensity or the percentage of max rep principles, how will you know you are training intensely enough to stimulate muscular size and strength? If you plateau, are you training too hard or too long? Do you lower the percentage or raise it? Do you need more rest, or do you need to train at a higher intensity? There is no need for this guessing game.
Your goal is to bring about the largest, most rapid outcome for your individual genetic potential. In order for this to occur, the body requires 100% intensity every working set of every exercise. This is the only truly accurate way to gauge the efficacy of your training program. Nothing less than 100% will do. The body needs a reason to adapt. Give it!
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Tags: Building muscle, Building strength, Cardio programs, free weight lifting programs, High intensity training, high intensity training HIT training, high intensity weight training, HIT trtaining, HIT vs. high volume training, Is cardio neccessary, losing weight, tips for adding muscle, tips for gaining strength and muscle, training programs, Weight Lifting advice, weight loss, Weight training, weight training programs, weight training routines, Weight training vs. Cardio, weight training workouts
Buying New Gym Shoes? Let Your Feet Lead the Way!
Some like them light, others like them heavy and some like them somewhere in between. No matter what you prefer, there’s a gym shoe out there just waiting for you, all you have to do is walk into the athletic store and let your feet do the rest. Just in case you’re unsure about what your feet (and your body) need to be comfortable, here’s what you should look for:
A specific shoe for a specific activity.
It’s never a good idea to purchase a pair of gym shoes that are made for walking if you’re planning to run. Walking shoes tend to be stiff, while running shoes are flexible with extra components such as cushioning to handle higher levels of impact. Running in walking shoes can lead to aching heels, shin splints, and muscle aches.
Shoes that fit your foot type and no one else’s.
Some us have flat feet, others have narrow feet, and some of us have wide feet. Never try to stuff your wide feet into a narrow pair of gym shoes because they look good. You’ll end up with more than just aching heels at the end of the day. A good shoe store will have all the equipment it needs to measure your foot precisely, and match you with the perfect shoe. Listen to the salesperson’s suggestions and you won’t be sorry later. Here’s another tip, foot size continues to change as we age, so have your feet measured twice a year.
Ok, so of course you need extra room for socks, but you’ll need even more room to wiggle your toes. Yes, gym shoes should not be snug at the front, but your heel shouldn’t slip out of the shoes either. Leave at least 3/8-1/2 inch between the front of your big toe and the inside of the front of the shoe for a comfortable fit. You shouldn’t feel any tightness anywhere. If you do, keep trying until you don’t!
Cutting-edge components for whatever ails you.
Having trouble getting shoes to fit no matter what you do? Try a pair that allows you to pump up the tongue for a customized fit. Got heel pain? Try a pair of gym shoes that come with clear inserts or shoes that are filled with gel, air, or Freon. These components add extra shock absorption, so you’re feet are less likely to hurt after a vigorous workout.
Yes, shoes rack up the miles, just like a car. And, like a car, they can break down when they’ve racked up too many. Ask the salesperson how many miles your shoes will last. The figure should be somewhere between 350 and 400 miles. Once your gym shoes hit the mark, it’s time to trade them in for a new pair. If you just don’t have time to calculate miles, it’s ok. You can go by how your shoes look and feel. If the shoes no longer offer support, they’re uncomfortable, or the back heel is worn out, it’s time to throw those puppies out and buy a new pair.
For more information about choosing the best gym shoes for your feet, visit WebMD.com.
How to Buy Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Buying running shoes can be a frustrating experience if you have flat feet.
If you’re not too sure if you have flat feet, you can tell by looking at the insides of the feet. A person with flat feet has flattened arches in the insides of the feet. When a person with flat feet stands up, the entire foot touches the floor. A normal foot has an arch on the inside, so this part of the foot never touches the ground. The arch provides natural shock absorption. Without it, extra stress is placed on other parts of the body such as the hips, ankles, and knees. To reduce the impact on other parts of the body, including the other parts of the feet, running shoes that provide either extra cushion, support, motion control, and stability are essential.
Although flat feet is a common condition, people with flat feet still have to search for special shoes that reduce the impact on other parts of the body, in order to prevent injury. Individuals with flat feet, especially those that play sports or exercise regularly, have a higher risk of medical and lateral midfoot injures such as metatarsal (the long bones in the forefoot) stress fractures. Metatarsal injuries are common in ballet dancers, gymnasts, and runners.
There are several manufacturers that you probably have never even heard of that make the best shoes for flat feet. These include Brooks and Mizuno. Popular makers of running shoes for flat feet include New Balance, Nike, Saucony, Asics, and Reebok.
No matter which brand you choose, you will still have to test them to make sure they are right for you. One of the best indicators of compatibility is how your ankles, feet, hips, and knees feel when you run or jog in them. Most large athletic stores will have a running track or enough space for you to jog around to see just how well the shoes work for you. Spend as much time as need to test cushion, support, motion control, and stability, with stability being top priority.
Expect to pay the same price for specialty running shoes as you would for a high quality pair of non-specialty running shoes. In-store prices typically start at around $120. You can shop online where “Internet only” specials are plentiful, but purchasing specialty shoes without trying them out first is not recommended.
In addition to wearing special running shoes, people with flat feet may perform foot exercises (using ping pong balls) to prevent injury and they may also use insoles for flat feet in other types of footwear. New Balance, ProKinetics, and Dr. Scholl’s sell a variety of insoles for flat feet.
Barbell back squat vs smith machine squats
Many strength and muscle building experts will say, the barbell back squat is much more effective at building size and strength. They argue free weight squats are a more natural movement and require much more stabilization and balance, which increases its effectiveness. However, the Smith machine is much easier to learn, especially for beginners, which many argue is safer. I contend that it depends upon the person’s build. If one has long legs and a shorter torso, they will have a very difficult time performing a squat correctly in order to get optimum stimulation for strength or growth. In this case and in others, they would benefit greatly from performing smith machine squats. But what does science have to say? Which is better for gaining strength?
Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada compared the free weight squat to the Smith machine using electromyography (EMG). The purpose of their study was to determine which exercise was better at stimulating the prime movers and stabilizers of the legs (e.g., tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and biceps femoris) and trunk (e.g., lumbar erector spinae and rectus abdominus). Six healthy participants performed 1 set of 8 repetitions using a weight they could lift 8 times, i.e., 8 rep maximum.
Contrary to our hypotheses, muscles of the legs (specifically the vastus medialis and biceps femoris) displayed greater EMG activity during the free weight squat compared to the Smith machine squat, whereas there were no differences between exercises for EMG activity of trunk stabilizers.
Researchers conclude that the free weight squat may be superior to the Smith machine squat for training the major muscle groups of the legs and possibly would result in greater strength development and hypertrophy of these muscle groups with long-term training.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(9), 2588-2591.
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Yogilates, The Yoga Hybrid with Staying Power
Back in 1997, when Yogilates was created by certified Pilates instructor and Vinyasa yoga practitioner Jonathan Urla, no one thought this yoga hybrid would stick. After all, hybrids like disco yoga, ballet yoga, and soul yoga faded away just as quickly as they exploded onto the scene. Well, Yogilates is still standing, nearly 15 years after its inception, with a sizable number of devotees and a dedicated website selling everything from DVDs and exercise gear to eco bottles and books. It’s safe to say that this is one yoga hybrid that’s here to stay.
Yogilates combines moves from Pilates and yoga to create a challenging workout that strengthens and tones the muscles, exercises the heart, and relaxes the mind. According to the official Yogilates website, this hybrid is designed as a unique style of yoga that “integrates the core strengthening and alignment principles of Pilates with the practice of hatha yoga” – a 5,000-year old discipline. As a result, Yogilates gives practitioners “more rapid and balanced development of their bodies than when either discipline is performed separately.”
A typical Yogilates session begins on the floor. Participants prepare for practice through breath and alignment awareness, followed by a warm-up that integrates “the core strengthening and spine lengthening of Pilates matwork with hatha yoga breathwork and essential poses.”
Through a series of smooth transitions from one exercise to the next, participants eventually move from the floor and into Sun Salutations (a series of 12 yoga poses) and a Vinyasa yoga flow. As the session progresses, the poses become more and more challenging before ending with restorative poses and relaxation called Shavasana.
Yogilates has a number benefits including:
Combines the most effective parts of yoga and Pilates for a challenging and invigorating workout
Improves flexibility of the spine, posture, breathing, and alignment
Improves performance in all activities from sports to everyday tasks
Helps to develop coordination and concentration
Helps achieve weight loss goals
Reduces risk of injury
Helps sharpen the mental and physical skills needed to achieve peak performance
Safe for all ages and exercise backgrounds
An additional benefit of Yogilates is it can be practiced in a studio or at home. It is possible to find Yogilates classes at a health club, but you are more likely to find quality Yogilates classes at a yoga or Pilates studio. To safely and comfortably practice Yogilates at home, you should purchase a yoga mat and comfortable exercise gear made of breathable and non-irritating fabrics. You should also make sure that you are well-hydrated before and after practicing.
Where to Find Yogilates DVDs
You may purchase one of three Yogilates DVDs produced by Jonathan Urla online at www.yogilates.com. You can also view or purchase other Yogilates videos by visiting Amazon.com or Youtube.
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Tags: yoga, yoga hybrid, yoga poses, yoga weight loss, yogalites