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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Curls - The Proper Way

I want to give you some advice regarding working out with weights. There are some old myths and "old school" teaching that is wrong and less productive. First of all, full range of motion is not the best way to workout on most exercises. Full range of motion puts enormous stress on the joints and many injuries have occurred because of this. Also, using full range of motion causes you to rest at the end of a (rep) repetition or half way through a rep.

I have seen guys in the gym doing all kinds of weird exercises with weights and machines. It looks like they make up their own stuff sometimes and I'm afraid they're going to get hurt. I have to hold in the laughter at times when I notice someone doing strange, distorted movements. I try not to interfere with someone else's workouts but I am often tempted to correct them because it looks like they are going to get hurt.

If you want to lose body fat fast, the best way to workout is to do short and intense workouts ! rather than long drawn out workouts with "endless sets" and "endless reps". Now, you can lose weight doing long workouts but if you go too long you can actually begin "eating away at your muscles" and you do not want that. Two to three sets per exercise should be plenty, resting one or two minutes between sets, just long enough to catch your breath. If you are doing heavy squats or leg presses for your legs or dead lifts then you will need to rest a little longer between sets - maybe 2 to 3 minutes. If you are more advanced two to three sets per exercise and two or three exercises per body part should be enough. You have to find your range. You do not want to over train but you do not want to under train either.

By the way, muscles can't count. (I know this may surprise you but they really can't). There is no magical number of reps (repetitions) to perform. You need to do just enough to where you're "squeezing out" the last one or two reps. However, one thing to use a! s a general guide here is that if you can do less than 6 reps ! you migh t want to lower the weight a little. If you can do more than 12 reps you might want to increase the weight a little. But it's still better to do 3 reps to failure than to do 6 to 12 reps too easily. You need to put added stress on your muscles or they will simply adapt to the stress they're already used to and remain the same. When I see guys doing endless sets with light weight and never adding that extra rep or that extra 5 pounds or they go through the motion too fast and sloppy I know that they are just wasting their time. It will work for a beginner because just about anything will bring some progress at first because he is going from nothing to something. But after awhile he will need to put more stress on his muscles in order to continue making progress.

Take the curl for example. If you lower the bar all the way down, not only are you resting for a second or two at the bottom of the movement but you are putting undue stress on your joints. The stress needs to s! tay on your biceps not your joints. Also, you are resting at the top of the curl if you curl the bar all the way up. The effective range of motion for a curl should begin with your arms slightly bent, then raising the bar for about two seconds and ending with the forearms bent just a little higher than parallel. Now, lower the bar for a count of about three seconds until your arms are slightly bent again. The same principle applies to most other exercises as well. Build your muscles, save your joints! It is a whole lot better to use a heavier weight using partial range of motion. Full range may sound good but it is not logical and it is not safe, especially as you age. It is better for you to do few sets and reps with intensity than to do too many sets and reps sloppily, straining the joints instead of the muscles.

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