Friday, December 28, 2007


One of my favorite commercials on TV is the one where Peyton Manning gives the advise for men 25 yrs and up to wear bigger shirts. I know Manning does way too many commercials, but that one is really funny to me. That has nothing to do with this post by the way.

I just read an article on MSN and I thought it was pretty interesting. Below is basically what it says:

Guidelines to making the best decisions in the gym.

-Train on your feet. Sitting is an unnatural body position for strenuous work. Once you sit, you lose your body's natural anchor: the muscles of the back, butt, abdominal core, and legs. Ground-based training immediately puts an end to a host of outdated stationary-machine and free-weight lifts, including the bench press, military press, incline press, and chest press, and leg extensions, leg presses, leg curls, preacher curls, and so on. You'll find that staying on your feet keeps your heart rate up, requires you to think creatively, and keeps your workout moving along efficiently. You're either exercising or walking it off. That keeps your awareness up and boredom down.

-Vary your pace. Stationary running or cycling can become a semiconscious plod, anesthetized by television. Structuring tempo builds aerobic capacity, burns calories more efficiently, builds strength, and helps develop the ability to absorb force while in motion. Tempo changes do not have to be intense, only clearly drawn, whether you alternate 30-second efforts or do an "inverted pyramid" of descending durations of effort. Mentally, varying your tempo makes the time go by faster as well. With alternating durations of effort, you are pushing, recovering, or holding steady, and never simply tuning out.

-Train movements, not muscles. The five basic movements to develop in any exercise session are limited to different forms of stepping, pushing, pulling, squatting, and rotating. There's no need to do one exercise for your biceps, another for your shoulders, and another for your chest. Two good pushing drills take care of them all. Instead of targeting the upper back and then the lower back, simply pull (in the form of pull-ups or incline pull-ups) and bridge (holding your torso stiff to build strength in your back). For the lower body, lunge, step-down, and squat drills are all it takes, and body weight alone is usually more than enough load.

-Train for the four elements: stopping, slowing, descending/ascending, and catching. Many gyms don't value the reduction of force — the catching of a ball, landing from a step-down, or changing direction — because there's no easy way to measure it. Yet stopping, descending, and absorbing momentum are far more valuable for joint safety than any isolated strength-building exercise. This means not only throwing a medicine ball but also catching each return throw or rebound. It means stepping downward on one leg, running downhill, developing footwork agility, and squatting or lunging with control.

-Prepare to use the distant corners of your gym. Since gyms are not often set up for clients who move their bodies across space or in multiple directions, who toss weighted balls, or who need to do drills that require stopping and starting quickly, a more athletically based use of your health club will often require taking over its less populated areas. Empty basketball courts, aerobics classrooms, and other open areas are necessary in order to train dynamically indoors, so get used to feeling like a pioneer on the prairie.


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