Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sprinting

It may not sound obvious to some but sprinting is a great bodyweight exercise for the lower body and core. Indeed sprinting requires tremendous lower body strength to actively move the legs/glutes ;and core power as well to stabilize one's frame. The arms are also used to some extent in the stabilization process. Sprinting will increase your metabolism in a great way leading to lean muscle gain. Do 3-5 sprints of approximately 100 meters (rest 1 or 2 minutes between sprints).

Pros:
  • Works the entire leg, core.
  • Increases metabolism.
Cons:
  • Requires access to park, empty facility, etc .... 
  • Also requires good weather conditions if done outside.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

One-Leg Squat

The one-leg squat is an interesting variation of the classic compound move. Stand on one leg then go as low as you can in a controlled manner. Go back up, switch to the other side. Do 3 or 4 sets of 6-10  alternating reps.

Pros:
  • Works your legs and core.
  •  Develops your balance.
  • Can be done anywhere.
Cons:
  • None.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bodyweight Training and Rest

There's a common misconception about bodyweight training: many say you do not need to rest between workouts. This is just absurd! In many circumstances moving your own bodyweight can be an extremely challenging task, think of pull ups, negative push-ups, plyometrics etc ... As a matter of fact compound bodyweight moves can be difficult compared to isolation moves with weights. When you do a push-up you push roughly 60-70 % of your bodyweight (and even more if you do it in a controlled manner aka negative training).Not so bad, isn't it? Here are some tips when it comes to rest:
  • Never train with sore muscles, it's the best way to injure yourself. Wait until the soreness is completely gone; whether it takes 2 days or 1 week does not matter.
  • Eat lots of proteins year round, they are essential to muscle maintenance and construction.
  • Avoid excessive cardio between workouts.
  • Warm up/cool down before and after workouts but not excessively: a few minutes suffice.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

3 Point Push-up

The 3 Point Push-up is an interesting variation of the classic exercise. Start in standard push-up position then elevate one leg. Go down in a controlled manner then go up, that's one rep. After you're done with a set, repeat on the other side. Do 4 alternating sets of 5-6 reps.

Pros:
  • Works an astonishing number of muscles: hamstring, lower back, core, triceps, chest, shoulders.
  • Can be done anywhere.
Cons:
  • None.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

How to Structure your Workout

How do I structure my workout? This is a common question amongst people who devote their time to strength training. Unless you're into competitive bodybuilding, I advise a full body work out. Indeed a split workout can be hard to manage (ex: legs on Monday, Chest on Wednesday, etc ...) as we all have priorities in life (work, school, family you know how it goes). Also try to choose compound exercises that train several muscle groups at the same time (you'll gain a lot of time). You workout needs to focus on all following groups:

-BACK:

It's the largest muscle group in the human body and is used for pulling / rowing movements as well as supporting your entire frame. Bodyweight exercises you can do: 2 point box, bridge, pike push up, pull-ups.

-LEGS:

The legs (and yes that includes the glutes) form the second largest muscle group after the back. They are essential for jumping, walking, running. Bodyweight exercises you can do: any form of squats/lunges.

- UPPER BODY (CHEST/TRICEPS/SHOULDERS):

These are mainly used for pressing movements. Bodyweight exercises you can do: push-ups and dips.

-CORE:

This is basically your midsection (abs, side abs), it is used for bending/twisting movements as well as supporting your frame.Bodyweight exercises you can do: the plank, side plank.

Of course there will always be some form of cross-training in your workout but that's actually a good thing: this will work many complementary muscles you might ignore if you focus on one specific area. Many people work their biceps in isolation, forgetting the back and legs which are way bigger and more important. How about the number of reps? If you're looking to build mass: 5-8 reps; 9-20 reps if you're looking to build muscular endurance. However don't hesitate to experiment. Last but not least: never train with sore muscles! It's the best way to injure yourself, just let your muscles heal and you'll see great gains! Have a great workout!

Back and legs: the biggest muscle groups.
Chest/Shoulders/Triceps & Core: smaller but important muscle groups.

Saturday, January 1, 2011