Our bodies can lie to us. For example, when you first start serious strength training, almost any program will produce dramatic results. It is possible to gain 10-20 pounds of pure muscle during your first year of training, depending on your genetics. Continue reading “Why Everyone Should Strength Train”
The latest issue of Muscle & Fiction and all the High-Intensity zealots would have you believe that if you don’t take a set to absolute muscular failure, you are wasting your time. That just isn’t true. On an effective strength training program for the natural lifter, most sets should stop 1 or 2 repetitions short of failure. We should avoid going to failure on all but the last set of each exercise. A simple, yet effective way to evaluate your rating of perceived exertion (RPE), is using this table developed by respected strength coach and competitive powerlifter Mike Tuchscherer.
Forget those 1-minute rest intervals in the muscle magazines. Your performance from set to set will decline quickly. Short rest intervals and training to failure repeatedly will increase human growth hormone levels, but I have not found any studies that correlate it with long-term increases in muscle mass. I have found studies that have concluded just the opposite. [i] [ii]Countless studies have demonstrated that progressive overload is the key to muscle and strength gains.
If you want to build strength and muscle, it is best done naturally by resting 3 to 5 minutes between working sets. The only time I recommend one-minute rest intervals are between low-intensity warm-up sets. A study conducted by the Kennesaw State University found that subjects that rested 2.5 minutes between sets made substantially greater gains in muscle mass than the subject that only rested 1-minute between sets.[iii]
“Greatness is a lot of small things done well. Day after day, workout after workout, obedience after obedience, day after day.” Ray Lewis
Image by Shea Huening
Today we are drowning in information, but starving for wisdom. Most of us have the knowledge of the world available to us in the palm of our hand. A lack of information isn’t the problem. A lack of common sense is the problem. Nowhere is this truer than in the fitness industry.
You might be reading this with the hopes of validating your current program. You want to know if it meets a scientific litmus test for determining its effectiveness. You might be reading this to discover the five characteristics of an effective program. I am sure you could find an article like that, but this isn’t it. I conducted a Google search and wasn’t disappointed.
The litmus test for determining if a program is effective is simple. Is your diet and exercise program sustainable? That’s it. If your program is sustainable, then it is effective. So many people fall into the trap of doing a program. The whole mentality of “doing a diet” or workout program is flawed. It implies a task that has a beginning and end. Staying fit is a journey, not a destination. Fitness isn’t something you do, it is something you live. Continue reading “The Effective Program Litmus Test – Does your Program Pass”
Treadmill image by Sport-Tiedje GmbH
“The kettlebell is an ancient Russian weapon against weakness.” Pavel
Before we go into greater detail, here are the 7 reasons I suggest you purchase a kettlebell instead of a treadmill:
- Kettlebells Improve both Muscular Strength and Cardiovascular Condition
- Kettlebells are More Cost-Effective
- Kettlebells have a Small Footprint and are Portable
- Kettlebells are Simple & lend themselves to Quick Workouts
- Kettlebells are Quiet
- Kettlebells allow for a lot of Exercise Variety
- Kettlebells workouts are low impact
#1 Kettlebells Improve both Muscular Strength and Cardiovascular Condition
It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you are losing weight, strength training, not cardio training should be your number one exercise priority. For years we have been indoctrinated to believe that to lose weight you have to eat less and move more, but the main flaw with this approach is that even if you do it properly, you will lose muscle mass. If you don’t challenge your muscles, you will lose calorie-burning muscle mass along with the fat which will lead to a fat loss plateau. Continue reading “7 Reasons Why You Should Purchase a Kettlebell instead of a Treadmill”