Rep Schemes: Taking Lifting Seriously

So you’re a Body-Builder and deep in a program ..Looking for some more info.. Need a change-up?

Do you know what kind of lifter you are? Do you know what a rep is and why changing training styles is important? Below is some more detailed info on how to play around with rep schemes.

You must perpetually overload the muscle. This means that you’re talking yourself into lifting, pushing, or pulling something that seems heavier than you could ever want to lift– and it’s changing the look on your face as you do it– yet, you still do it– and as many times as possible.

HOW WELL YOU DO THIS,

IS DIRECTLY RELATED

TO THE LEVEL OF YOUR GAINS.

Gains can be: Strength, Endurance, Muscle Size,  Body Composition, Skill, Speed/Power, etc.

You must shock your body- with movements that you haven’t done before, exercises you aren’t good at. You have to work on your weaknesses and imbalances. Think of yourself as one huge muscle.

You must diversify the style, speed, and duration of your movements, the kinds of exercises and planes and ranges of your motion, as well as when and in what sequence, and with what energy source.

Why is this all so important?

You have to break down muscle fibers so that when your body restores this damage and lays down new fibers – they are much more capable of meeting the demands of your movement, aka ADAPTATION

Same Muscle Group:

Working the same part of the body is attempting to control and use blood flow in the most efficient manner. The thinking behind this method is that you are capable of lifting greater loads as all of your oxygenated blood and energy is concentrated in the target muscles.

Opposing Muscle Groups:

This method is my personal favorite. It gives you an awesome feeling — what lifters call a pump– and you will feel in command of your anatomy, maybe even learn a thing or two about your body. Think of it as holistic lifting. ūüėČ

You train opposing muscles, so let’s say you are working on lower body.

1st set: Work the Anterior: Quadriceps with knee extensions – bilateral work, or pistol squats – unilateral work.


Rest


2nd set: Work the Posterior: Hamstrings with reverse hyper-extensions or leg curls taxing the muscles just opposite the Quadriceps.


Super Set: or Tri-Set:

The fastest and easiest way to increase the intensity and caloric expenditure of your workouts. Using the same example above, do exercises back to back without taking a rest. You will be fatigued for sure but burning fat and building endurance simultaneously.

For Tri-Sets, you do three instead of two without resting in between.

Pyramiding:

The most common training method of them all. After warming up:

1st set: Start with a load that you can complete 12-15 reps


2nd set: Increase load and shoot for about 8-10 reps


3rd set: Load for 6 reps.


This overloads the muscle successfully and works well for building lean muscle, strength and endurance.

Reverse Pyramiding:

This is the reverse of the above description. Always warm up first.

1st set: load for 6 reps max (meaning you can load for 1, 3, 4, etc)


2nd set: reduce load and push through 8-10 reps


3rd set: load for 12-15 reps.


This Rep Scheme gives your body the chance to lift maximum weight before fatigue sets in. It is a great way to get your numbers up. The more frequently you are able to maximize the lbs on the first set, the easier this whole routine will become and you will be lifting heavier than you thought you could in no time.

Drop Setting:

This is a really great Rep Scheme to wake up a certain muscle group that is just not responding in the way you would like. It could be genetics, or neglect, whatever the case, you’re ready to face it head on.

1st Set: Any exercise at your heaviest load but bearable. The load you can do for about 6 reps.


2nd Set: Reduce the load by half and do as many reps as possible. AMRAP. Depending on the exercise, it may be advisable to have a spotter present because this is very close to training to failure.


Optional Continuation:¬†Drop Setting to Failure: You can continue to decrease the weight and by any increment you like until it is the lightest it can be – and you can no longer move in the exercise’s range of motion.

Types of Training to Failure:

  • Set Assistance /Positive Failure

Any exercise any load, in the final reps a spotter assists you past a sticking point or muscle fatigue. By doing this it is a successful and positive way to not only overload the target muscle but complete the set. You can use a resistance bands on a pull-up as a form of assistance.

  • Negatives

This is the greatest way to acquire any skill/movement/exercise when strength held you back in your first attempt.

Ex. Pull ups. Hold yourself at the top of the bar and slowly lower. Rest and repeat. Soon the pulling motion will come much more naturally to you.

  • Partial Reps/ Pulses

However many sets of any exercise it takes to find yourself exhausted and target muscles fatigued. Continue going through sets getting through all reps at the original desired load, BUT by moving in pulses that cover only a portion of the full range of motion of the exercise.

  • Giant Set:

1st set: Any exercise with a weight that you can do for about 10 reps.


Pause for five seconds


 2nd Set: Do it again- and then again and again and again until you can only complete two reps of the exercise.


  • Pausing and Repeating:

This is another overloading method where instead of dropping the load, or doing partial reps aka pulses, you put the weights down and rest for 10 seconds and then repeating until you move. Failure, get it.

 

 

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High Intensity Varieties

We all want the quick fix, right? The magic pill that will bring us the greatest body we’ve ever had. So, why then don’t we all do high intensity exercises?

High Intensity Interval Training, known as HIIT usually refers to aerobic based exercises, and High Intensity Resistance Training, known as HIRT is basic lifts but put into an interval scheme with a timed period of work and rest. The concept behind this training is that you are not letting your heart, muscles, and cells recover before adding to their workload. The only thing you need is an interval timer – Get an App, there’s tons.

Benefits of High Intensity anything:

  • See what you are capable of.

  • Change body composition in a considerable way in a very short period of time.

  • Shrink abdominal/ trunk fat mass.

  • Improve aerobic and anaerobic conditioning.

  • Maximal Caloric Expenditure:¬†

What is most interesting, to me anyway, is that the caloric expenditure during prolonged cardio is greater than the calories burned during short bursts of high intensity cardio BUT calories keep burning long after the short bursts of HIIT is over.

This is a bang for your workout buck!

When looking at caloric expenditure Рthe energy your body uses to produce the work to complete your exercise,  it should be calculated over a period of a week, or daily and looked at a glance, NOT just what was burned during exercise. When trying to change body composition, it is important to think big picture to keep a meaningful perspective.

Higher EPOC:¬†HIIT, HIRT¬†does an incredible things for Excess Post-Exercise Oxidation Consumption, aka the amount of calories burned after the exercise is over. Why do we still burn calories even after we’ve stopped moving? The body has to restore itself, i.e. replenish energy resources, re-oxygenate blood and restore the circulatory hormones, decrease body temperature, and regulate your breathing and heart rate. How long does this process take? The higher the intensity of your workout, the longer it will take to balance the body to pre-exercise levels, aka more calories are spent. YAY!

#hiit

But are you ready?

Now, just like anytime you level up: There’s pre-requisites. High Intensity is like entering the High Stakes poker room. Are you properly bank-rolled?

  • You need a strong base. You can’t be five years out of doing any movement at all and then begin a High Intensity training session and expect to feel good, perform well, or be able to move afterwards. Start Here: Foam Rolling, Weightless routines, or beginning Movement.

  • HIIT cannot be your only mode of exercise. Learn about training styles.

  • Be ready to change routines:¬†Meaning you have to change up the actual exercises you do in the intervals.

  • A proper¬†lifting diet¬†of¬†carbohydrates,¬†proteins, and¬†fats. You need ample glycogen for your high intensity game. This is not a fasting type exercise, otherwise it will be fast and over. If you haven’t eaten in the past twelve hours – you may not have what it takes to push through muscle fatigue.

  • When you are OFF: Rest. Do not move. Go brain dead, even.

  • When you are ON: TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT!

Go Hard or Go Home = Hard as a Mother F*cker = HAM

There is a reason that HAM means “I am” in Sanksrit. High Intensity pushes you to the absolutely edge of what you’re capable of, and it is the greatest mind-body conversation you can have, particularly when you’re the one testing your limits and demanding all that you have.

Kinds of High Intensity:

1.The Tabata method is kind of miraculous in the sense that it taxes the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems almost to the edge of what they can bear. Dr. Tabata’s research- yes he’s a real life doctor- and his work demonstrates that it’s possible to generate maximum power while simultaneously conditioning your heart in an incredibly short period of time.

Technical Details :

Total time: 4 min: Intervals: 8 rounds: 20 sec on; 10 sec off.

Whether you’re training arms, legs, core or some other push/pull split, finishing a workout with Tabata may provide you with a pump and fat burning boost you have never experienced before.

Be aware: You are not going to perform like a champ throughout your first Tabata attempt. In fact, it is more realistic to say that you probably won’t complete what seems [to your mind] to be a moderate amount of exercises. GO SLOW! It’s the Tabata style that makes the world of a difference. Instead of focusing on completion, put your effort on maintaining, i.e. staying alive. I kid, but this is no joke.

EXAMPLE: Let’s say the exercise you’ve chosen is the classic Push Up.

You do 20 push ups in your first round, pretty impressive. So impressive and it took so much energy that you were only able to complete 12 in the 2nd. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. You now have to focus on maintaining. You must try for 12 in the 3rd round. If you only get 10, this does NOT mean you are a weakling. You have to build up to withstand this kind of training. Just try to match the reps you completed in the previous round and stay upright. So, even if you absolutely could not lower to do one more push-up, hold the plank until that timer dings done.

While four minute workouts sound almost too good to be true, it is only good if you give it your all –and even then– the goodness is only felt after it’s over. ¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† *Advanced Tabata – Do work in both intervals, as in don’t rest. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Create a high intensity for 10 sec and low intensity for 20 sec. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† EXAMPLE: Mountain Sprinters – 20 sec : V-ups/Boat Variation – 10 sec Don’t hate me, I love you

Where to use Tabata:

  • On vacation
  • Limited Equipment or Space
  • Going out on a hot date – or critical interview and need to feel invincible

When to use Tabata:

  • Limited Time
  • After a quick warm-up as a cardio boost to begin your lifting program.
  • In between lifting sets so that you maintain an elevated heart rate and continue to burn fat.
  • Post-lifting to purge lactic acid built up in the muscle, flush the waste out of your system, and burn maximal fat.

How to use Tabata:

  • Maintain a controlled slower pace – they’re brief intervals – but there’s 8!
  • Use lighter weights than normal
  • On a belly that has had food in the last three hours
  • Make a Move Like a Beast Playlist¬†
  • Stay hydrated – you’ll need more water post -workout than other workouts


2. HIRT: High Intensity Resistance Training Routine:

EXAMPLE: SEATED ROW: Pull max weight for 6 reps. Do this 3 X with a rest between. Rest could be 20 sec to 1 min What if you can’t get 6 reps on the 2nd try, and not even ready for the 3rd round when it shows up? TOTALLY NORMAL This is what you are working towards, duh. ¬† ūüėČ


3. Spinning Intervals – Spin 1 min, 2 min, even in 3 min intervals using resistance and the following positions as variables to change as you see fit. See Spin Playlists.

  • Seated climb
  • Standing climb
  • Seated fast (downhill)
  • Seated upright (the biggest chance to recover)
  • Hovering just over the seat with a flat back

The beauty of interval training is the constant shifting that you’re putting your body through…so don’t get stuck on the actual movement you’ve designed for the interval. *Never fully rest when spinning, just slow down or take incline/resistance away.


4. Sprinting Intervals – Run like someone is chasing you.

Switch between walking, jogging, low, middle, and extreme inclines. Play with sprinting for distance or speed. You have to really sprint in numbers you have never seen before. Run at 9,10, even 12 mph. Don’t be scared, its only for .20 of a mile, or for 1 minute. You can do anything for 1 minute! *Try not coming to a full stop, just walk, jog, or raise the incline making it more anaerobic than aerobic or get off the treadmill and do something else in your rest, like push ups.


Already convinced that high intensity is better than long-duration training for calories burned and fat loss, but just not ready for Tabata, AND maybe you like your cardio or workouts to last longer than 4 minutes. It is the journey for you, not the destination. 

Turn up the intensity on your existing workout as a change-up in routine – AKA DON’T REST. Or where you would normally rest, do jumping jacks, or jump rope. And then right back to the lifting set of what you working on.¬†

WANT TO TRY BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO : You can do high intensity with anything. It doesn’t have to be eight rounds, it could be three, and the intervals don’t have to be measured in seconds, try minutes or reps.¬†Lift, something as basic as bicep curl or dynamic like Kettlebell snatches, Run, Jog, Jump rope, Body weight exercises, you name it. The possibilities of creating a timed effort of speedy work followed by timed rest or no rest is incredibly easy and fun!

Have fun going HAM.

Heavy Hitters, Suckers…

#hot97 #throwback #eastcoast

 

 

 

 

Wide Legged into Wild Thing

Practicing asana is only one of many details that fall under the umbrella of yoga.

But it’s lovely isn’t it?

yoga- wide leggedBeing able to move and stretch, breathe and hold all of your body weight in ways you never thought possible.  A yoga flow can come from careful planning, or following a flow that sets out to achieve a certain release in an area of the body:

Heart Opening , Hip Opening , Backbending  and so forth.

Sometimes listening to your body and letting her guide you as to where to move next can be the most gratifying part of your yoga session.

Have you ever just moved through space letting your thoughts completely disappear and watch your hand and foot dance without any hesitation?

 

Lunge or Crescent lunge – Anjaneyasana

wide -legged stretch –

Wild thing –¬†Camatkarasana.

Wide -legged stretch

Standing Splits –¬†Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana

Chatturunga

Downward Dog –¬†Adho mukha ŇõvńĀnńĀsana

 

Practice is Everything

It’s called a practice because it’s not perfect.

yoga pic, practice not perfect

 

The other day I put up a photo of my meal prep Sunday. My caption said, “If I can do it, you can do it.”

Some friends of mine made fun of me. That I was nuts to not only think this, but to¬†write it in a post. But what they don’t realize is that I literally couldn’t do many¬†of of these postures. I owe it to writers and photographers who have captured others’ practice and made books and articles available so we can continue to learn from each other. I owe it to teachers who are fearless in putting new and exciting challenges together that are outside the yoga practice box. And lastly, I owe it to my will for pushing my body &¬†my mind for listening and the trusting the bond between the three. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Mind Body Exchange, Baby.

The goal:

Hold Downward Dog and try to grab a hold of and bind alternate hand and foot. It seems utterly impossible at this moment. But, just like anything else.        You give it effort and it gives in.

 

 

Hip and Shoulder Warm Up

Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire;

My love is blind, can’t you see my desire.¬†

Burning inside you is all that you will ever need.

       Give your joints the blood flow they need. Move Slow. Put yourself into a trance.

yoga- pic hip and shoulder

 

UJJAYI BREATH: Breath in through your nose with a narrowed back of the throat. What does that mean, almost like you are purposely growling. This kind of breath feeds the fire within. Grip the floor. Push off and pull in. Activate your insides. How much can you suck your belly button in? Become small. How close can you get your nose to your knee? Close your eyes. Bask in the silence of your concentration.  Exhale to get even more compact. Become long. From the wall in front of you to the wall behind you, draw your head away from your feet. Spread your fingers away from each other. Everything blooms. Inhale into into that new space you just created. 

Move Fast. Your skin will open up and perspire. Your heart will forcefully push blood to all ends of your body. Open your eyes. See how grounded and ready you are to move with intention. Every great practice needs a great warm-up. 

(This video was sped up. Going through this sequence once can take 4 minutes.)

Forward Fold –¬†Uttanasana

Inverted Plank – Purvottanasana

Rolling Wave – ¬†Kumbhakasana –>¬†Adho mukha ŇõvńĀnńĀsana

Balancing Series

Balancing has everything to do with alignment. But how and why do we come out of ¬†“proper” alignment. Because we do and we may have never had it. We sit lop-sided. We have tight muscles. We exercise the muscles that are already strong because it’s easy and no one wants to do corrective exercises, God Forbid! Read more about Balance here.

In order to balance well, you have to practice Pada Banda.yoga- balancing

In yoga, you will learn something called Pada Banda, and this is literally the activation of your toes so that they grip the ground. They need to push the ground as much and as consistently as the ground is pushing you. This total activation from the tiny muscles of the foot all the way up to the lower leg and thigh and engaging the hip is how we create balance, AND in my opinion, it’s the place to begin.

Focus and continue to focus on hip alignment. Do you stand on one leg? Do you sit with a prolonged leg cross? Do your feet turn out, turn in? In order to have good hip alignment you must be aware of how strong or weak the muscles of your lower back, core, hips, as well as how bent or curved your spine is. Do you slouch? Have recurring pain in your neck, shoulders, between your shoulder blades, hip joint? It would be helpful at least to know which section we are talking about when we discuss the spine and try to localize the origin of pain or any sensation.

Simply, your spine is broken down into four main sections.

  • Cervical is related to your neck.
  • Thoracic is the mid section encasing¬†the ribs.
  • Lumbar is the area that we think of when we refer to the lower back.
  • Tailbone, fused together is¬†far less mobile than the rest of your spine is called the Sacral.

Series:

  • Pyramid –¬†Parsvottanasana
  • Standing Splits –¬† Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana
  • Warrior 3 – Virabhadrasana III
  • Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana
  • Standing Splits –¬†Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana

I only recorded one side, but you get the idea. Repeat on the other side and as many times as you can or want to.

 

A Warrior Dance

A¬†warrior’s dance is a playful expression to honor the union of their two halves: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Peacemaker & Gladiator

A true warrior has strength for battle, but uses intelligence and morality over force.

yoga- warrior dance

  1. Glide through each asana
  2. Remember the take your time
  3. Three breaths minimum as you sink into each pose
  • Side Angle –¬†Utthita Parsvakonasana

  • Reverse Warrior –¬†Viparita Virabhadrasana

  • Triangle (with bound arm) – Baddha Trikonasana

  • Warrior 2 (with flexed wrists) –¬†Virabhadrasana II

  • Split –¬†Hanumanasana

  • Downward Dog –¬†Adho mukha ŇõvńĀnńĀsana