Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why You're Not Getting The Results You Want, Part 2

In Why You're Not Getting The Results You Want, Part 1, I wrote about many people's over-reliance on cardio for fat loss.

Today I'm going to address strength training. Remember, these reasons are not in any particular order since what might be relevant to you may not apply to someone else.

Reason #2: You are strength training incorrectly.

The best workouts for fat loss are total body routines that emphasize compound exercises.

Compound exercises are movements that involve multiple muscles and joints. Examples would be Squats, Deadlifts, Rows, and Presses- Chest, Shoulder, etc. Compound exercises are more functional (they more closely simulate real-life activities) and they also burn more calories.

Most resistance training circuits are filled with machines that isolate muscles- Leg Extension, Leg Curl, Pec Flye, Lateral Raise, Bicep Curl, Tricep Extension, etc. These machines work one muscle (or muscle group) at a time.

For example, the Leg Extension, shown here ===============>
works the front thigh (quadriceps) muscles and the Leg Curl works the back of the thigh (hamstrings). Compare that to a Squat which works both those muscle groups and more.

Which exercise do you think is more useful? A Squat or a Leg Extension? How often do you have the need to sit on a chair and lift your legs in front of you? Now, how often do you need to squat down to pick something up?

So, a Squat is more functional, uses more muscles, and burns more calories. Then, why are so many people in gyms using the Leg Extension and Leg Curl machines instead of doing Squats?

If you want to get optimum results from your strength training efforts, the most effective exercise program would involve...

* Total body routines performed on non-consecutive days

* Primarily compound exercises using bodyweight and free weight exercises

* Functional core training (Plank, Hip Bridge, Pushups, Side Plank, etc.)


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