The Best Exercise You Are Not Doing - Dead Lifting

The dead lift is THE most important lift in the gym in my opinion. Its a compound, multi-joint, multi-muscle movement, incorporating the largest muscles in your body: the hamstrings, glutes, core, traps, and shoulders. Because it involves so much muscle mass there is a tremendous caloric expenditure both during the exercise,and recovery, making it excellent for weight loss. Additionally, multi-muscle activation under heavy loads can elicit significant blood testosterone levels, again facilitating lean muscle development. The dead lift is an excellent functional movement, reinforcing proper technique for lifting heavy objects. Incorporate the dead lift into your routine if you want to maintain a health back, flat, strong core, and lean physique.

Machines versus Free Weights

I feel machines serve a better purpose attracting members to gyms, but do little for their training. Statistically, more people are injured each year exercising on machines than with free weights. Machines often limit or force a one size fits all range of motion on the user. They also tend to isolate muscles or joint actions that perform better with mutlimuscle multijoint movements. A functional approach to training would involve working the body as one, while mimicking real life, or athletic movement; training movements, not muscles. The exerciser would be better off learning the squat pattern, for example, a fundamental movement, than isolating the various parts of that pattern via a hip abduction/adduction or a knee flexion/extension machine. As the gym culture mentality shifts, you ll be begin to see less gyms full of expensive cardio and resistance machines, and more open space full of free weight and other functional resistance equipment. Next time you re in the gym, take a look at what members are doing with their trainers. Take a look to your left and right, if a trained fitness professional does not have a client on the elliptical next to you, maybe you should be over by the kettllebell rack doing cardio too!! :) Take a look at this article on the oxygen cost of kettlebell swings. Theres alot of science - exercise physiology behind it, but to suffice to say, kettlebells provide a useful conditioning tool for fitness professionals. Performing a two handed kettlebell swings can improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of athletes and amateurs. However, fitness professionals should be aware that HRs achieved during continuous kettlebell exercise are significantly higher than the corresponding exercise V_ O2 demand. This explains, why your heart spikes during compound resistance training movments, but does not always have an aerobic benefit. Furthermore, the relationship between the 2 variables is greater than that noted for circuit weight training but less than that for treadmill exercise. Check out fellow New York City personal trainer, Tom Weaver, performing a Kettlebell swing.

Tapping into Muscle Mass - Type I and II Muscle Fibers

Many people make the mistake of only ever training one muscle fiber type. We are all born with different proportions of 3 muscle fiber types, which give us all different body shapes and abilities, notably important in athletics and whether your body is geared more towards endurance or power activities. For the exercise enthusiast and health conscious. Training the full spectrum of your muscle mass is important to developing your lean mass and warding off fat mass. Type 1 fibers are also referred to as slow twitch muscles. They have a high oxygen carrying capacity, which aids slow sustained contractions of moderate output, endurance. Training these fibers includes endurance activities such as steady state cardio, and resistance training programs above 20 repetitions at a lower weight and speed.

Type 2 fibers, also known as fast twitch, allow rapid contractions of high intensity for a short amount of time, power. Activities include explosive movements, such as strength and power lifting with repetitions below 6, anaerobic activities like sprinting, jumping, etc for intervals less than 60 seconds or so. These fibers have been categorized further into type 2a and type 2b, but we will not get into that in this blog.

Suffice to say we are all built to have a greater proportion of one fiber type than the other. Allowing us to be better at certain activities than others, with some over lap. For the average exerciser, its important to train and develop both of these fiber types to stimulate the full spectrum of your lean mass. The goal being to develop lean mass to increase metabolism, resting energy expenditure, burn more fat, and store less. Most of us today would like a lean athletic physique. However, alot of exercisers either do excessive amounts of muscle wasting cardio, which I discussed in my Cardio vs. Resistance Training blog, or they do too many repetitions of less than stimulating resistances. Nobody wants to "bulk up" these days. Bulking up, requires high calorie consumption, good genes, and great training. Conventional wisdom however, training light resistances to achieve slim lean looks, is not supported by science. High reps, low weight does not mean high reps, no weight. You need to stimulate your type one and two fibers by attacking their specific energy system. To do this, type 1 fibers need to be trained to fatigue with repetitions schemes of 15-25 repetitions or 20-60 seconds. Type 2 fibers should be trained at high loads appropriate to reach failure within 6 or less repetitions or 20 or less seconds. Stimulating both fibers and training within both energy systems is more stimulating to your body and your mind. For better muscle tone trying adding more resistance and fewer reps to your routine.