Tag Archive: life


How to Lift Weights

For building Muscle Mass:

When you’re trying to build muscle mass, you have to find ways to stabilize your body so that you’re only working a select set of muscles at once.  You can think of this in a bench press exercise where your legs and core are minimally involved because they’re resting on a bench.  Your pushing muscles are the only muscles being stressed to a great extent.

This is the type of exercise you have to do if you want to gain muscle mass.  You have to use exercises where specific muscles are targeted.  Full-body exercises just don’t work as well for muscle growth. Continue reading

Maine Hiking

The concept of functional exercise came from a bunch of exercise physiologists and physical therapists who noticed the obvious.  They noticed that doing leg extensions in a machine didn’t help their patients walk again.  They noticed that a lot of what we do today in gyms doesn’t really help the body function in its natural environment and therefore doesn’t really help us much other than by gaining muscle mass.  There’s nothing wrong with gaining muscle mass, but if that’s all you do then your training is incomplete.

For my own story, I got to a point where I was deadlifting over 450lbs and only had about 8% bodyfat.  But when I went to play some recreational soccer, I found out that I couldn’t change direction well at all.  I was slow and uncoordinated.  This confused me because I was the strongest I had ever been.  Strength in the gym automatically means strength in real life, right? Continue reading

Reflection

At some point, we all need to just sit back and remember where we’ve come from.  For me, this is often a tremendously difficult task because I’m constantly thinking about the present and how to positively affect the future. Continue reading

Apparently, power training is for everyone…. including 65 to 84 year-olds.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18245765

In the study, they trained older adults with power (high speed) training or with strength (high resistance) training.  The results after 24 weeks were that the power-trained adults out-performed the strength-trained adults.  While strength training helped, power training won out.

So, this study leads us to believe that some level of power/speed training is beneficial for anyone and everyone.  Just lower the weight some and do the exercise at as fast of a speed as you safely can.  Focus on speed rather than using higher weights.

This isn’t to negate the efficacy of strength training.  Other studies done on athletes have shown that doing both strength and power training together is what leads to the best results.  However, it is short-sighted to only do strength training or to only do power training unless there is some sort of injury that you need to protect.

How to Resistance Train

Because of the pros and cons of training for muscle mass vs. training for activities of daily life, we must use them both in order to achieve the most benefit.  Since the concept of training for muscle mass is typically more familiar to most individuals, we’ll use that as our starting point.

However, I need to point out that this writing is almost entirely conceptual.  I’ll make other resources later that explain further how to actually apply these concepts.

Training for muscle mass

Since this book is directed towards the general population, and the general population mainly desires a form of bodybuilding (which is gaining muscle, losing fat, or both), we’ll focus on the concept of bodybuilding rather than using these same exercises for the purpose of strength or power.

According to the NSCA, hypertrophy(muscle growth) is stimulated by using 8-12 repetitions with a 30-90 second rest period between 3-6 sets.  However, the key in exercise selection is that the exercises must be stabilized in order to work only a specific group of muscles rather than the full-body.

In the name of simplicity, we’ll divide the muscle-groups into three major functions.  First, the upper body push.  Second, the upper body pull.  Third, the legs push.  The legs don’t pull because most of us haven’t figured out how to pick up that barbell using our toes yet.

Upper-body pushing includes anything that involves moving an object farther away from you.  It doesn’t matter if that object is a barbell, dumbbell, or resistance band.  As long as you are stabilizing your body and putting yourself in the strongest position to move the resistance, then you are training the upper-body pushing muscles for muscle growth. Continue reading

What Kind of Exercise?

Defining the Terms

Before we get into the physiology of exercise, it’s prudent to take a step back and look at the big picture.  In the fitness realm, there often seems to be a fairly large dichotomy between people training “functionally” and people training “conventionally”.

Typically, we think of people training “conventionally” as bodybuilders doing their exercises on machines or using barbells.  The “conventional” trainers typically have a lot of muscle mass, but their athleticism is limited.

Typically, we think of people training “functionally” as the person standing on a BOSU ball with one foot while doing an alternating dumbbell military press.  These “functional” trainers typically have little muscle mass, but they are relatively athletic.

That’s the old way of thinking.  It is my opinion that that should be abolished in favor of labeling everything as “functional for ::fill in the blank::”  Functional means that something does what it was designed to do.  A functional toaster toasts while a dysfunctional toaster does not.  A functional quarterback throws a football fast, far, and with accuracy while a dysfunctional quarterback lobs a football blindly in no particular direction.

So, for our purposes, I’ve chosen to disregard the “conventional” vs. “functional” debate as fairly inaccurate descriptors.  What is typically thought of as “conventional”, I will call “functional for building muscle mass”.  What is typically thought of as “functional”, I will call “functional for activities of daily life”. Continue reading