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Fitness Plan - Introduction
Fitness Plan - Introduction
Fitness Plan - Introduction
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Resources
Fitness Plan - Resources
Fitness Plan - Resources

Strength Training

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You will need to perform at least two sets per exercise:

  1. First set should have about 10 to 12 repetitions, with the last three reps crucial for reaping benefits.
  2. In the second set, you'll need to do about eight to 10 reps. You need to increase weight in the smallest increment possible. Lift until you reach muscle failure and you feel you can't lift anymore. "Failure" refers to the part of the exercise where you can no longer maintain good form, but still be able to lift the weight.

As for your tempo, make sure you lift slowly as follows: three-second positive, one-second isometric squeeze, three-second negative. Don't just concentrate on moving from point A to B. Focus on contracting your muscle through the entire range of motion.

The tempo of your repetitions is very important. If you go to the gym, you might see several individuals doing their weight lifting a little too fast. By doing this, the tension created by the lifting can wind up in the wrong area of your body and increase your risk of injury!

SuperSlow Weight Training

Did you know that you can combine high-intensity interval training and weights? This is called SuperSlow Weight Training, created by Dr. Doug McGuff.

The idea is, by slowing everything down, you turn your routine into a high-intensity exercise. This benefits your muscle at the microscopic level to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle.1

SuperSlow exercises can be done using either free weights or machines. It is beneficial to use the latter, because it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort rather than on the movement.

As for weights, it is best to choose one that is light enough for you to do at least eight repetitions, but heavy enough that you can perform 12 reps. You can apply SuperSlow Weight Training to these five exercises.2

  • Pull-down or chin-ups
  • Chest press
  • Compound row (a pulling motion in the horizontal plane)
  • Overhead press
  • Leg press

Here's how to do SuperSlow Weight Training with the exercises mentioned above:3

  1. Start by lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as you can. Also, when pushing, stop about 10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened, then smoothly reverse direction.
  2. Slowly lower the weight back down to the slow count of 4.
  3. Repeat these until exhaustion. This should be around four to eight reps. It is important that when you reach exhaustion, you don't try to jerk or heave the weight just to get one last rep in. You should keep trying to produce the movement for another five seconds or so, even if it seems ineffective. By using the appropriate amount of weight or resistance, you're sure to finish four to eight repetitions.
  4. Immediately switch to the next exercise that will target a different muscle group. For that group, repeat the first three steps.

This routine will take no more than 12 or 15 minutes.

Peak Strength Training

What distinguishes peak strength training from regular weight-lifting is that it’s a process where you’re trying to generate a stimulus to cause strength and metabolic improvements, as opposed to simply trying to demonstrate strength by lifting the weight by any means possible.

Ideally, you’d incorporate both versions of peak exercises, as they each provide important pieces of the fitness puzzle. For example, you might do conventional HIIT using a stationary bike once or twice a week, and SuperSlow high-intensity weight training once a week — or vice versa, to end up with a total of three high-intensity sessions per week.

Remember that, as your fitness increases, the intensity of your exercise goes up, and the frequency that your body can tolerate goes down. As a result, you need to continuously customize your program to your own fitness level and other lifestyle issues. As a general rule however, you do not want to do high-intensity interval training exercises more than three times a week.

Peak strength training can be done twice a week initially, but as you get stronger you will need more recovery time and eventually drop down to once every seven to 10 days. Any more than that and you’ll put your body under too much strain. Your body needs time to fully recover in between sessions.

Alternate Exercises You Can Do

The following are bodyweight exercises you can perform in the intermediate and advanced levels:

The Burpee

The Burpee was developed by author, psychologist, and physical fitness fanatic Dr. Royal H. Burpee in the 1930s. Historically, this exercise was used to test the strength and agility of military recruits. Today, many fitness experts continue to recognize its different fitness benefits.4 Watch fitness expert Jill Rodriguez as she demonstrates how to do the Burpee properly.

Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are ideal for building overall muscle and strength. They are also one of the indicators of an advanced-strength athlete. This exercise builds grip strength, since it utilizes your fingers, hands, and forearms. It also develops your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Pull-ups also provide core training advantages, as it provides your abdominal muscles a good workout.5 In this two-part video, fitness expert Darin Steen and I demonstrate how to do a proper pull-up.

Squats

Squats are relatively simple to perform, but offer a wide range of benefits. They enable you to do whole-body muscle-building, promote mobility and balance, and burn more fat.6 In this video, Darin Steen shows you how to do safe squat techniques.

Push-Ups

Push-ups provide whole-body benefits, but may lose effectiveness if you add new challenges, like changing your hand positions and incline.7 In this video, Darin Steen shows you how to do the Perfect Push-Up, and ways that will help you vary your technique.

Planking

Strong abdominal and back muscles will help protect your lower back and improve your ability to stand and sit with correct posture. Planks will strengthen your shoulders, abs, back, glutes and the large muscles in your legs.

Lie on your stomach. Rise up on your elbows or hands, holding your elbows or hands directly below your shoulders. Pull your body up on your toes and hold a position similar to doing a push-up. Work up to holding for three minutes.

30-Day Plank Challenge

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Exercise Circuit for a Tighter Backside

If you’re looking for a rounder, firmer, and curvier behind, you can achieve many of these coveted effects with exercise. The best butt exercises can be done right from the comfort of your own home. For a tighter backside try this circuit.

Complete all repetitions of exercise one, then move on to the next, continuing through all five. Upon completion, rest for one minute then start the circuit again. All five exercises should have 30 repetitions each, and the entire circuit should be repeated five times in a row (with one-minute rest periods in between each five-exercise set).

  1. Squats (30 reps)

  2. Bulgarian Split-Squat (15 reps on each leg)

  3. Cook Hip Lift (15 reps on each side)

  4. Reverse Hyperextension (30 reps)

  5. Froggers (30 repetitions)

Sources and References