Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's the Best Exercise for (insert fitness goal)?

The human body is an incredibly efficient and adaptive machine, and will adapt to just about anything. In other words, when you exercise, your body is put under stress. Depending on what kind of stress, whether it be endurance, hypertrophy(bodybuilding) strength and so on, your body will gradually adapt. This would be why you would want to continually increase intensity, volume, reps and various other factors that will keep your body from adapting to the stress.

There is no one best exercise for losing weight. There is no best exercise for getting defined abdominal muscles. When thinking about providing stimulus to your body, you want to hit it from different angles. You want to catch your body off guard, and keep it off guard. Results come from your body adapting. Once your body adapts, results slow down and this is where plateaus happen.

As an example of the body adapting to outside stimulus rapidly in order to cope check, out http://http// for a bit more info on how the body adapts. For some more nutrition info check out some of our blogs by Noel Cerda and Katie Steen.

Doing multiple exercises that focus on different movements, up to 4-5 per body part, will ensure that your body gets varying degrees of stimulus this will slow down the adaptation process by continuously keeping your body under different stresses. Sometimes keeping a workout program fresh can be as simple as changing the amount of rest you get between exercise sets. If you've been doing 60 second rests, change it to 45 seconds.

Always keep in mind your goals. Your goals can be classified by three training methodologies.

  1. Strength: where you focus on recruiting as many motor units as possible by adding the most amount of resistance to your lift that you can do for 3-6 repetitions and 3-5 sets and 2-5 minute rests in between those sets. The most common form of a strength program would be the 5x5, which is generally used for bulking.

  2. Hypertrophy: where the principle of volume workouts come in and what is generally done for bodybuilding, and also prepares the body for strength. 8-12 repetitions, 3-5 sets, with usually 60 seconds of rest in between the sets.

  3. Muscular Endurance: This is the realm of athletics and peaking for competitions. Athletic programs implement this training method to hone their athletes into lean powerful machines that can last until the games is over and still have energy and fuel. Repetitions of 12 and up for 3-5 sets with a weight that gives failure around the 15-18 rep mark, with little to no rest in between sets. Keep in mind though, for athletics, the exercises performed are usually total body. This can be applied for cutting fat, just remember to not overdo it. 3-4 sets per muscle group should do the trick.

Keep reading for more weightlifting tips from Ryan Hasapes and I. If you need any held in the gym, feel free to ask any of our fitness specialists/nationally certified personal trainers on shift at the fitness desk.

-Turo Gamez NSCA-CPT

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