Time is precious....... Time is money...... We all live increasingly hectic and sometimes stressful lives. So, how can we make the most of our training?
What if I told you, that by simply completing 3 basic exercises, you would have worked all the major muscle groups in your body and you could even do it in 30 minutes?!
Don’t believe me? Ok, concentrate. Here comes the science bit.
If done correctly, with good form and taking the muscles to exhaustion (and by that I mean that you cannot get one more rep out), then all you need to do is push, pull and squat! Ok, so it’s not quite that simple. If it were, I and many other Personal trainers would be out of a job, but if you have the knowledge, you can build a better body.
So, let’s look firstly at those all important chest (or Pectorals, to give them their correct name). We all want those to look good when we are dancing with our t-shirts off.
What are the muscles involved in, say, a chest press or a press up? Well, obviously the pecs, but your shoulders and triceps also get a workout. Your core muscles will be worked in a press up. Not so much in a chest press as the bench supports you.
So, now to the ‘pull’ part of the session (and no, that’s not about pulling the hot guy on the bench next to you! Concentrate)! Pull ups are one of the best exercises for strengthening the back muscles. Yes they are hard, but if they were easy they wouldn’t be so good for us would they?
The pull up works the latissimus dorsi (or lats), trapezius, rhomboids, biceps, shoulders and again, to a certain degree, core muscles. That’s a lot of muscles in one exercise. No wonder they are so damn hard!
So, we have just about covered the upper body with those two moves. Now let’s look at an area that is, sadly, all too often neglected.........Oh yes, it’s the dreaded legs! How many of you out there are guilty of not training your legs?
We trainers have heard all the excuses under the sun, including “my cats just died”. No one wants to look at ‘chicken legs’ or as a friend of mine so elegantly puts it, “two pieces of cotton blowing in the wind”. If you have the upper body of a Greek god, it’s only right that the lower half matches. Collars and Cuffs and all that.......!
The lower body contains the largest and most powerful muscle in the human body – the gluteus maximus. In addition there are a pretty large set of quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles and to kick these babies into touch you have got to push them hard. Yes, training legs is hard, but you gotta put the work in to get the results and next time we are going to look at various training methods, but for now, let’s look at the basic squat.
The basic squat, if performed correctly will hit your glutes and quads and with variations can also target your hamstrings and calf muscles.
So there you have it. Three exercises working just about every major muscle group in the body. The more muscles work, the more fat burned and more testosterone released, the more testosterone released the more muscle growth. Sure a bicep curl will give you nice biceps, but that’s it. A pull up will give you that and so much more.
Remember. Compound moves!
Next time we will look at various training methods and equipment.
Until then, keep training hard but effective.
I'll be on-line Tuesday and Friday evenings to answer any questions you may have about topics covered on this or any future articles I write.