Make the Most of Your Resistance Training

Friday January 16, 2015

Resistance training, whether with free weights, TRX or machines, is an integral part of any fitness routine. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to get the most bang for your buck from your weight workouts.

Work big to small

Start with compound movements that work multiple muscle groups first, and save the isolation exercises until the end. For example, if you’re training upper body, start with movements such as a chest press or pull ups. These exercises target multiple muscle groups at once, and are the most effective in helping to build strength. Save the bicep curls and triceps extensions until the end. Another reason to start with compound movements is that these are typically your hardest exercises. Starting with them will ensure that you have the most energy, therefore allowing you to perform your best.

Use Supersets to your advantage

Supersets are the act of doing one exercise immediately followed by another with little or no rest between exercises. Typically, the exercises will be working opposing muscle groups. A great example is pull ups and dips. Pull ups primarily target the latissimus and biceps, whereas dips target the triceps, chest and shoulders.

Perform an adequate warm up

You should never jump into a weight session cold; this increases the chance of injury and can also inhibit you from performing the desired number of sets and reps you want to achieve. Do a few minutes of light cardio to get your heart rate up. Also, performing some basic bodyweight movements such as push-ups, squats and planks will prime your muscles for the heavier activity to come. Be sure to warm up the specific area you will be training. If you are going to do squats, do a few sets of squats with light resistance to prepare for the heavier weight ahead.

Stretch when you are finished

Static stretching is best at the end of your workout.  Your muscles will be good and warm by the time your workout is over, and it is at this time that they will be the most willing and easiest to stretch. The stretch mate is a great tool to use for this and allows you to stretch any muscle group with ease.

To recap: Warm up to prepare your body to work, start with large muscle groups and compound movements, try some supersets and finish with some static stretching. These tips will help you get the most benefit from your workouts!

By Daniel Tysinger, CPT