For the serious gym rat, there are some unwritten laws that must be obeyed in the weight room. Take for example, the act of performing barbell curls in the power rack. If it were up to me, this offense would bring a mandatory one-year jail sentence. And if it's the only power rack in the gym and someone who wants to squat or deadlift has been made to wait, then I'd throw in some water-boarding for the guilty party too. The following is a list of things I would change about the way most people exercise. None of these recommendations require drastic changes to your regimen and are easy to implement into your current program. The ideas aren't as concrete as the "no curls in the power rack" rule, but they're probably more important to your success. Because let's face it; curls in the power rack aren't evil, they're just annoying. But God, they are really annoying. #1 Include More Single Leg Exercises Into Your Program Everyone trains their arms with dumbbells, but rare is the day you see a quality set of lunges, step-ups, or Bulgarian split squats. For athletes, unilateral leg training is a way to increase proprioception and stability. For powerlifters and bodybuilders it's a way to bring a bilateral deficit (the discrepancy between right and left limbs) up to par. Think, if your right leg significantly stronger than your left, the left leg will be the limiting factor in your squat. If you train them individually you'll force the left leg to improve. Not to mention the body has a unique way of compensating, so when a weak leg gives out in the hole of a heavy squat you may trap yourself in a compensating pattern of movement that will eventually lead to injury. #2 More Core Strength Work and Fewer Ab Exercises Everyone loves a six-pack. But doing sets of sit-ups really isn't helping your core stability, a critical factor in many lifts. If you have a solid core to stabilize your body, you'll be able to lift more weight. What exactly is core stability? Let's say you see a bunch of Hef's playmates out at a bar and you lift your shirt up to flex your abs for them. They love it, but Hef gets jealous and comes over and punches you in the gut. Chances are you'll fall to the ground gasping for air (of course, it might be from laughing at how little power that mummy can generate, but you know where we are going with this.) That is what core stability is all about, keeping the torso tight all over rather than just flexing your washboard. Exercises that can help with this are Turkish get-ups, planks, side bridges, and heavy squats and deadlifts. #3 Lift Weights if You Want to Burn Fat Women especially need to learn this lesson. The ladies love cardio because they're good at it, the same way guys enjoy biceps curls and bench pressing. The long, slow and steady intensity is easy on the joints and good for the heart, but it doesn't burn a ton of calories. Lifting weights, on the other hand, helps build muscle, a tissue that's metabolically expensive, meaning it eats up a lot of calories just by sitting on your frame. This will contribute to a greater need for calories and in the long term, more fat loss. Additionally, weight training has a much higher Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) than steady state cardio. This is a fancy term for the body keeping the metabolic rate elevated after exercise to make up for oxygen used. #4 Use a Dynamic Warm-Up in Place of Stretching Old-fashioned static stretching seems to be as dead as liquid creatine. It's replacement is the dynamic warm-up, going through a variety of athletic motions prior to a workout in order to raise your body temperature and increase elasticity in your soft tissue. Some examples are warrior lunges, cariocas, bear crawls, skips (and not the happy-go-lucky style), and glute bridges. There are tons of exercises and these only illustrate a few examples. Dynamic warm-up are smart for serious lifters because the moves can be used to activate the muscles group that are going to be worked that day. For example, the glute bridges could be done on a leg day to get the glutes to ready to fire when you set up for a deadlift. Going through the exercises also helps work on range of motion and corrective measures for problems with posture. The right moves can help correct common conditions such as thoracic spine inflexibility and hip mobility. #5 Use HIIT Cardio for Fat Loss It's all about EPOC. More and more research is popping up that supports the idea that high intensity interval training is superior to long bouts of steady state cardio. Working hard for 20 brutal minutes in the gym creates such an oxygen debt that you'll continue to burn fat long after those slowpokes on the elliptical machines have gone home.
5 Things in the Gym Everyone Should be Doing
By Team XTEND