This question is rarely asked by my clients but it should be asked often. This is an important concept because exercise set and rest duration both play a big part in determining your success in achieving your fitness goal. Allow me to explain by providing several examples of fitness goals.
Let's say your goal is to build more endurance (i.e., core or lean conditioning). In order to build more endurance it's best to lift no more than 67% of your 1-rep max (1-RM) for loads. At this intensity level you will be able to perform high repetitions (e.g., > 12 reps) at a moderately-fast speed. As a result, you should spend at least 30s up to 40s duration per set and no more than 30s rest between sets. The 30s to 40s exercise duration provides enough time-under-tension (TUT) for your muscles to adapt to the exercise stimulus with regard to endurance under relatively low loads. In addition, the relatively short rest period of no more than 30s allows your heart rate to remain elevated to boost your metabolic rate--ideal for burning bodyfat.
What if your fitness goal is to build more muscle mass (i.e., bodybuilding)? In this case it's best to lift within the range of 67 to 80% of your 1-RM. At this intensity level you will be able to perform moderately-high repetitions (e.g., between 8 to 12 reps) at a moderate speed. Here again you should spend at least 30 to 40s duration per set but your rest period may last from 30 to 90s due to the increased loading. The exercise duration needs to last at least a half-minute in order for adequate TUT for muscle adaptation with regard to muscle hypertrophy (growth) to occur. The rest duration of up to 1.5 minutes should suffice in allowing your heart rate to decelerate enough to begin the next set.
Maybe your fitness goal is to build more strength. In order to build more strength it's best to lift between the range of 80 to 85% of your 1-RM. At this intensity level you will be able to perform moderately-low repetitions (e.g., between 6 to 8 reps) at a moderately-slow pace. Since the weight is relatively high you should spend about 20 to 30s per set with a rest period lasting from 2 to 5 minutes. Spending up to 30s per set at such a relatively heavy weight provides adequate TUT for muscle strength to be activated. Allowing up to 5 minutes for recovery between sets may be needed in order for your heart rate to decelerate enough before resuming your next set.
Finally, let's say your fitness goal is to increase power (i.e., sport performance). Power depends on the amount of work done within a certain period of time: P = W / t where P=power, W=work and t=time. Recall that work is simply the amount of force applied over a particular distance, or W = F * d where F=force and d=distance. So power is the amount of force applied over a certain distance within a time duration, or P = F * d / t. In this case, the force may at least 85% of your 1-RM or less than 45% of your 1-RM. When the force or load is high (e.g, 85% 1-RM), overall distance travelled by the weight will be relatively low because muscle fatigue will only allow a limited amount of repetitions (e.g., less than 6 reps). Thus, force (F) is high while distance (d) is low over a short duration (t) which allows for a relatively high power (P). When the force is low (e.g., 45% 1-RM), overall distance travelled by the weight will be relatively high because muscle fatigue will not occur until a high amount of repetitions (e.g., more than 30 reps). Thus, force (F) is low but distance (d) travelled is high due to many repetitions that can be performed under a low load, again allowing for a relatively high power (P). Therefore, power training may done via heavy weight for short durations or light weight for longer durations. As a result, the repetition speed may either be slow under heavy loads or fast under light loads. Therefore, the set duration may last anywhere between 10s under a heavy loads to a minute under light loads. Accordingly, rest durations may last anywhere between 1 to 5 minutes. Under light loads, a minute may be all that's needed for recovery whereas heavy loads require up to 5 minutes for your heart rate to be adequately decelerated.
Power walking involves walking at a brisk pace (e.g., 5 miles per hour). This is a superb exercise for those who want to spare their joints (e.g., back, hips, knees, ankles) from high impact and for those who may have orthopedic issues (e.g., arthritic knees). Power walking can provide cardiovascular benefits comparable to running. It entails having one foot touching the ground at all times with the front leg being relatively straight when it contacts the ground. To get the most out of power walking, you should strive to move as quickly as possible in order to burn more calories and become more fit. Here are some tips to better your technique and to help move at a faster pace:
BOTTOM LINE: Walking is a respectable exercise and is certainly better than being sedentary.
- Keep you chin up, head level, shoulders relaxed, and back straight
- Pump your arms in front of your shoulders with bent elbows (i.e., about a 90-degree angle)
- Keep your arms tucked close to your ribs
- Swing your arms forward rather than crossing the center of your body
- Avoid having your elbows rise above your chest when swinging your arms
- Avoid having each fist rise higher than your buttocks during the backward swing
- Strike the ground with each heel with your toes up
- Avoid bouncing or swaying your upper body
- Keep your hips in line with your shoulders
- Keep your hands closed in a fist but not clenched
- Step with one leg and swing your opposing arm in sync with your stride
- Swivel your hips, allowing for natural rotation to occur
- Push off with the ball of your back foot
- Take relatively small steps to avoid overstriding
- Begin with a 20-minute walk several times per week and gradually pick up the pace each week
- Vary your routine (i.e., carry a weighted vest or backpack, perform hill walking, perform intervals, perform treadmill walking)
Contrary to popular dogma, lifting weights within the 8 to 12 rep range is not entirely necessary in order to cause muscle hypertrophy (i.e., muscle size increase). Low-load, high-rep training may also impact muscle growth. The reason for this is because more volume (i.e., greater reps) may increase muscle protein synthesis for a longer duration (e.g., 24 hours post-exercise). More muscle protein synthesis means more growth potential due to greater absorption of protein within muscle tissue. In either case, optimal muscle growth will most likely occur when maximal muscle fatigue occurs in conjunction with relatively short rest periods (e.g., less than 1 minute) between each set. Bottom line: Perform high-rep, light-weight sets mixed with low-rep, heavy-weight sets to cause optimal muscle growth.
Those cast-iron or steel balls which look like small cannonballs with a thick metal looped handle on top can be useful for working on joint flexibility as well as functional-type movements (e.g., deadlifts). One of the key benefits of working with kettlebells is the possibility to work the entire body for a powerful and efficient workout. Other benefits include increasing strength (including core strength), power, endurance, flexibility, mobility and cardiovascular capacity. You can achieve a strenuous workout in less than thirty minutes.
Standard kettlebell exercises should incorporate four basic movements: the press, the pull, the squat, and the deadlift. Examples include shoulder press, bent-over row, sumo squat, and Romanian deadlift. Swinging the kettlebell (e.g., single- or double-arm swings) is another example of a pulling movement that makes the kettlebell uniquely beneficial for training purposes. The end result is the incorporation of more muscle groups, including your core muscles (i.e., abs, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings), being worked. Studies have shown that using kettlebells can improve coordination and balance in addition to increased muscle strength and endurance. By swinging one or two kettlebells, you will be able to target your hips, back, glutes, shoulders, and legs. An additional benefit is increasing grip strength.
If you minimize the rest periods between sets, you can also get a cardiovascular workout with kettlebells. Be sure to start out with lighter weights in order to get a feel for the movements and an understanding of how to properly control the weights. The risk of injury (i.e., torn muscle, tendon, ligament) increases greatly if the kettlebells are too heavy, are swung incorrectly (i.e., away from the sagittal plane) or are swung too strenuously. Focus on using good form by improving your technique. Sloppiness is a recipe for injury.
of kettlebell training include:
- Efficient, quick workout incorporating many fitness components (i.e., strength, endurance, power, flexibility, cardiovascular)
- Requires minimal space
- Relatively inexpensive
- Excellent way to condition your body for sports due to functional movements
- Ideal tool for gaining core strength
of kettlebell training include:
Bottom line: Kettlebells can be useful for anybody but should be utilized as a complement to your workout program rather than your exclusive workout program. Kettlebells should be thought of as a tool in conjunction with dumbbells, barbells, machines, and cables as another means to enable yourself to gain strength, balance, coordination, endurance, and good cardiovascular conditioning.
- Limited weight capacity
- Fixed weights
The benefits of caffeine are numerous in regard to your workouts. Caffeine can lessen reaction time, increase mental alertness and improve mood. Taking caffeine prior to a workout can increase endurance, allowing for more reps, sets and longer sessions. This increase in volume can lead to larger muscles in the long run. Caffeine's effect on the body is via the central nervous system (CNS), causing an increase in your pain threshold. End result: it becomes easier for you to push through those extra reps, extra sets, and extra cardio intervals.
Caffeine may also increase muscle strength due to those extra reps performed. Another benefit of caffeine is its characteristic of increasing lipolysis, or fat breakdown. The fat can serve as a much needed fuel source during hard training, allowing for more calories to be burned. Caffeine taken post-workout can increase glucose uptake from the blood into your muscles. This means your muscles can recover faster and glycogen recovery in enhanced. An increase of glycogen into your muscles enhances muscle size due to its hydrophilic (water-pulling) effect.
More is not better when it comes to caffeine intake. Overindulging in caffeine can cause insomnia, overexcitabilty, restlessness, muscle twitching, etc. If you experience any of these symptoms, level off the amount consumed. In this case, less can actually be more--smaller amounts may be more effective in promoting increased endurance, strength and muscle mass. You need to consume an amount relative to your bodyweight (i.e., 3-6 mg per kg bodyweight) at the right times (i.e., pre-workout, post-workout). The full effect of caffeine can last 2-3 hours and diminishes within 12 hours. Caffeine in liquid form (e.g., coffee, energy drinks) will be absorbed within the body faster than in pill form.
There are commonly-held beliefs regarding caffeine that are myths:
MYTH: CAFFEINE CAN SOBER YOU UP
Caffeine does not sober you up but rather makes you become an alert drunk.
MYTH: CAFFEINE MAKES YOU DEHYDRATED
The reality is that caffeine does have a mild dehydrating effect within the kidneys but the increased urination is mostly caused by increased fluid intake.
MYTH: CAFFEINE IS ADDICTIVE
Caffeine is not addictive in and of itself--rather it's the morning ritual of drinking coffee that makes it seem addictive. Nevertheless, caffeine is a drug which, when taken in large amounts and then stopped, can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and irritability.
- Increased muscle glycogen storage capacity
- Increased muscle mitochondrial density
- Increased muscle ATP/CP content
- Increased muscle creatine content
- Increased aerobic enzymes
- Increased slow-twitch muscle fiber percentage
- Decreased fast-twitch muscle fiber percentage
- Decreased muscle fiber size
- Increased cardiac output
- Decreased resting heart rate
- Decreased bodyfat
- Increased capillary density
- Increased myogloben content (for oxygen transport within muscles)
5 mins cardio warm-up
BENCH SUMO SQUAT (1 X 15-25)
SITTING ADDUCTION MACHINE (1 X 15-25)
WIDE FRONT PULLDOWN MACHINE (1 X 12-15)
BALL DUMBBELL PRESS (1 X 12-15)
SITTING LEG CURL (1 X 15-25)
NARROW SLIDING LEG PRESS (1 X 15-25)
CALF LEG PRESS (1 X 15-25)
SUPINE LEG LIFTS (PALMS DOWN) (1 X 15-25)
PLANK (1 X 1 min)
SUPERMAN (1 X 12-15)
DELT MACHINE PRESS (1 X 12-15)
CABLE KICKBACKS (1 X 12-15)
PREACHER ALTERNATE DUMBBELL CURL (1 x 12-15)
STAND EZ-BAR REVERSE WRIST CURL (1 X 12-15)
PREACHER DUMBBELL HAMMER CURL (1 X 12-15)
The answer to this question largely depends on your anaerobic fitness goal (i.e., weight training goal). There are essentially four goals when it comes to weight training:
Whichever goal you choose will determine how much rest or recovery you should take between exercise sets. Each of these goals is unique with regard to the following parameters involved:
- Maintain physique (endurance training)
- Gain muscle mass (mass training)
- Increase strength (strength training)
- Increase power (power training)
Let's take a closer look at the recommended parameters for each fitness training goal:
- Load intensity (i.e., percentage of one-rep max)
- Number of reps (e.g., eight to twelve reps)
- Movement speed (e.g., slow, moderate, fast)
- Endurance training
- Load: < 67% 1-RM
- Reps: > 12 reps
- Speed: Moderate
- Rest: 30 s
- Load: 67 - 80% 1-RM
- Reps: 8 - 12 reps
- Speed: Slow
- Rest: 30 - 90 s
- Load: 80 - 85% 1-RM
- Reps: 6 - 8 reps
- Speed: Moderate
- Rest: 2 - 5 mins
Rest periods may vary from 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on your fitness goal regardless of your weight training experience level. Generally, the lighter the weight lifted, the less the rest period and the heavier the weight lifted, the more the rest period. During resistance training the muscles fill up with blood as the body delivers nutrients and removes waste products. Active rest, in which the muscles continue to contract and relax while under low resistance, will allow this process to be more efficient and therefore enhance recovery. Thus, it's better to continue moving (e.g., standing and shifting your bodyweight from one foot to the other) between sets rather than just to sit still and allow blood pooling to occur.
- Load: < 45% or > 85% 1-RM
- Reps: > 30 reps or < 6 reps
- Speed: Fast or slow
- Rest: 2 - 5 mins