Push-Pull Muscle System

I have trained my upper body muscles many different ways and have achieved results with each method. However, the workout split that has worked the best for me over the years has been the push-pull system. It involves training all the push muscles in one session and the pull muscles on a separate day. It allows certain muscle groups to rest completely while others are worked. This in turn lets me workout more often. Thus, I am able to train body parts multiple times a week without putting undo stress on my body.

Below is an example of one of my recent upper body push workouts:

Incline Dumbbell Chest Press: 4 sets X 15 reps

Tip: Using dumbbells instead of a barbell forces you to stabilize your shoulders and core the entire time. This balances strength on each side of your body. 

Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets X 15 reps

Tip: Keep a slight bend in the elbow. The movement will only happen at the shoulder joint and at the wrist, not at the elbow joint.

Barbell Chest Press: 3 sets X 20 reps

Tip: I used to do heavy chest presses but found that they caused me shoulder pain and I was not receiving the full benefit of the exercise. I now concentrate on maintaining a good range of motion, going higher rep , and pushing through my chest. 

Pec Dec Flyes: 3 sets X 15 reps

Tip: Pause at the top of the exercise (pads in) for a count of 3, squeezing the chest for maximum intensity.

Tricep Dips: 4 sets X 10 reps

Tip: You may use a dip assist machine, if you are new to this exercise and do not have the strength to perform it. These machines use weight to help you push your bodyweight.

Iso Lateral Shoulder Press: 4 sets X 15 reps

Tip: The Iso Press independently engages diverging and converging motions for equal strength development and muscle stimulation. Also, the back pad is angled 40 degrees for stabilization and to eliminate hyperextension of the spine. Keep tension on the muscles by not returning the weight to the stops until the set is complete.

Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 7 sets X 10 reps

Tip: Maintain the torso in a stationary position, lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and the hands slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass. To keep resistance targeted to side delt, torso should be bent over slightly. 

Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets X 15 reps

Tip: I use an alternate grip that really targets my rear deltoids. Hold the top of the dumbbell as if pouring water out of a jug, pinky fingers facing out. 

Tricep Cable Rope Push Down: 3 sets X 15 reps

Tip: A slight bend forward at the waist allows me to really hit my triceps. Remember to keep the belly in, chest up, and booty out!

Tricep Cable Bar Pressdowns: 3 sets X 15 reps

Tip: I like to use the bar in addition to the rope, because the bar allows me to push more weight. 

Decline Weighted Sit ups: 3 sets X 20 reps

Tip: I like to imagine that my abs are the only way I can lift and lower my body with stability and control.

Dial up the Intensity: Legs & Glutes

1. Emphasize functional, multi-joint exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and step-ups which target the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Isolation moves such as leg extensions and hamstring curls are good for improving definition and definitely hold a place in your leg routines. However, they should not comprise the bulk of your workout. In addition, you should train each leg muscle group from various angles for maximum muscle fiber recruitment.

2. Strengthen your core. Squats, lunges, and deadlifts all require core stability. The core is extensive including the rectus abdominis, obliques, back extensors, the lower head of the latisimus dorsi, (wings of the back), small spinal muscles, transverse abdominis, and glutes. These muscles work together to stabilize the body in space and in motion and to absorb shock during joint movement. Your body consists of a chain of intricate systems, and your core is the center of the muscular system. It controls your balance and keeps you on your feet.

3. Spend time pre and post workout foam rolling and using active release techniques. Doing so prior to your workout can aid in the prevention of injury. If you have any muscular imbalances, your body will constantly be compensating for your problem areas throughout the workout. I prepare my body for a workout session by using a foam roller on my calves and the outside of the IT band. I prefer the weight of a 10lb medicine ball for my adductors and the small Lacrosse Ball for treating specific glute and hip areas which affect my lower back. The small area of the Lacrosse Ball really allows the user to pinpoint the pain and release trigger points. When used before and after training, the Lacrosse Ball aids in preventing soreness as well.

This workout combines multi-joint exercises with isolation movements. Give it a try on your next leg day. However, be sure to adjust and modify according to your fitness level. Many of these exercises require a certain degree of core strength and muscle endurance.

Superset:

  1. Squats on Smith Machine or Squat Bar: 4 sets X 12-15 reps  If you are uncomfortable with using the squat rack, try the Smith Machine.  When doing squats, you do not want all your mental focus to be on the weight on your back. This can affect your ability to engage the proper muscles. The Smith Machine offers a more comfortable alternative. 
  2. Smith Machine Sumo Squats: 4 sets X 15 reps  Use a wide stance.

 

 

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Superset:

  1. Leg Press: 3 sets  X 20 reps
  2. Smith Machine Split Bulgarian Squat/Single Leg Squat: 3 set X 12 reps

 

Hex Bar Deadlift (targets more quadriceps but engages less lower back, if you have back issues) OR Barbell or Smith Machine Stiff-Legged Deadlift (uses more hamstrings and glutes): 3 sets X 10-12 reps

 

Superset:

  1. Prone Hamstring Curls: 4 sets X 12-15 reps
  2. Hip/Glute Thrusts on the hamstring machine: 4 sets X 15 reps

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Cable Glute Kickbacks: 3 sets X 15 reps

 

Finisher: Weighted Tire Pushes Or Plate Pushes (not shown) Stay low to the ground. Strongly engage your abdominal muscles. Make your legs and glutes do the majority of the work and not your arms. 

 

 

Metabolic Conditioning for Goals

The term metabolic conditioning has been used frequently in the fitness industry and can be difficult to understand. It is not just a series of random exercises combined in a circuit. Rather, metabolic conditioning refers to work and rest periods that are strategically planned to condition the muscles to better use the fuel delivered to them by improving the efficiency of the different energy systems of the body. The desired reaction is usually reached by manipulating the work and rest periods during a workout in order to achieve a certain goal, such as a muscular physique, endurance sports, or power.  For example, someone wanting to lose weight and gain lean muscle will have a different work to rest ratio than someone training to run a marathon.

Metabolism is the process whereby we break down food for energy using three different pathways. First, there is the immediate system or creatine phosphate pathway which is the fastest and most powerful method for obtaining energy. This is mainly used when performing powerful exercises that are less than 10 seconds, such as sprinting or Olympic power lifting. Recovery time for this system is three to five minutes. Secondly, there is the intermediate system or glycolytic pathway which provides energy for activities lasting more than four minutes (weightlifting or mid-distance runs). This system takes one to three minutes of recovery. Finally, there is the long duration or aerobic system which provides energy for hours of moderate intensity work and allows for recovery in seconds. During the course of a workout, each system is contributing. However, your goal during a metabolic conditioning circuit is to develop the efficiency of one of the three energy systems to improve your performance and physique.

When developing your ideal metabolic conditioning workout, you must first determine your goal. If you are training for a long distance triathlon, you would target the aerobic system by performing a long circuit with minimal rest periods . However, if your goal is to compete in power lifting, you will want to focus on the immediate pathway by doing short powerful intervals with longer rest periods. Regardless of your goal, you will want to have the intensity of the work duration high enough to achieve results.

Below are two examples of workouts that would focus on specific goals using the various metabolic pathways:

Example 1: Sports Performance: Intermediate system or Glycolytic Pathway. Work ratio 1:2  Be sure to make each work period intense enough to require the full 40 seconds of rest. Perform the circuit 2-3 times

  • Kettlebell Swings 20 seconds.

Rest 40 seconds

  • Kettlebell Cleans 20 seconds

Rest 40 seconds

  • Kettlebell Push-Press 20 seconds

Rest 40 seconds

  • Full Kettlebell Turkish OR Half Turkish Get ups 20 seconds

Repeat for a total of 2 to 3xs

 

Example 2: Endurance Performance: Aerobic System. Tabata Intervals of 20 seconds work followed by 10 seconds rest.  Repeat each interval-rest sequence 8xs.

  • Kettlebell Alternating Swings: 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. Repeat a total of 8xs
  • TRX Chest Press: 20 seconds on. 10 seconds rest. 8xs
  • Kettlebell Clean & Press: 20 seconds on. 10 seconds rest. 4xs each side
  • TRX Rows: 20 seconds on. 10 seconds rest. 8xs

References:

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Figure 4. 23(3):800-806, May 2009. Long-Term Athletic Development- Part 1: A Pathway for All Youth

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2015 – Volume 29 – Issue 5 – p 1439–1450. Long-Term Athletic Development- Part 1: A Pathway for All Youth

Len Kravitz, Ph.D, Nick Beltz, M.S., Jonathan N. Mike, M.S. (2014). University Of New Mexico: Anaerobic Metabolic Conditioning. 

Jeremy Duvall. Men’s Fitness: Metabolic Conditioning: The Key to Better Performance. 

Justin Grinnell,. Muscle & Fitness: 5 Keys to Metabolic Conditioning. 

 

Training Back: Width & Thickness

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When training the back muscles, it is important to include a variety of exercises to achieve both width and thickness. Here are a few different exercises to try on your next workout.

Cable Lat Pull Downs: 4 sets X 12-15 reps

Using the Precor cable pull down machine with handles allows you to focus more on unilateral development. Grasp the handles and pull the cables down with your palms facing forward and the elbows back.

Tips: Lift the chest as you lower the handles and squeeze the shoulder blades together.  Hold and squeeze at the point of contraction, and release it back up slowly. Make sure to extend fully to the top for a full stretch.

 

Lying T-bar Rows:  3 sets X 12 reps

These are great for adding thickness to your inner back. They are challenging, so hit them early in your workout.

Lift the bar off the rack and extend your arms in front of you.  As you exhale slowly pull the weight up and squeeze your back at the top of the movement.  Inhale and slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position.

Tips: Keep the upper arms as close to the torso as possible in order to better engage the back muscles. Do not lift your body off of the pad at any time. Also try not to use the biceps when lifting the weight.

 

Hammer Strength Iso Lateral High Row: 4 sets X 12 reps

These work the muscles of the upper and middle back (trapezius, rhomboids, and rear deltoids), as well as the latissimus dorsi (for the width of the back). This plate loaded machine also allows you to develop and strengthen both sides of the body equally.

Grasp the handles with an overhand grip and pull down and back lowering the handles toward the seat. Try to keep your chest on the pad. Slowly return to the starting position.

Tips: Maintain good posture throughout the full movement. When pulling back, bring the elbows behind the back for a good squeeze of the back muscles. When returning to the starting position, be sure to fully extend your arms and stretch to the top.

Reverse Grip Machine Rows: 3 sets X 12 reps

Reverse grip rows will incorporate the lower lat fibers, as well as recruiting the middle back and rear deltoids.

Grasp the lower handles with the palms facing up (underhand grip). The chest pad should be in line with the top of the chest. Pull the weight toward your body, squeeze the shoulder blades together toward the end of the range of motion, and return the weight back to the starting position with control.

Tips: When pulling back, keep a neutral wrist and concentrate on allowing your back muscles to do the work. Biceps will be recruited, but the focus should be on your back.

 

Divergent Lat Pull Down: 4 sets X 12-15 reps

Lat pull downs are excellent for creating width in the back. The divergent lat pull down machine is similar to a traditional lat pull down. However the handles move further apart as you pull down, providing a fuller range of motion through the lats.

Pull the bar down toward your chest drawing your elbows back as far as possible. Hold and squeeze at the point of contraction, and extend back up slowly.

Tips: Lift the chest as you pull the handles down. Relax the grip and move the focus to your lats, rather than your forearms or biceps. Be sure to extend fully to the top range of motion to allow for a good stretch through the lats.

 

Superset: Perform 15 reps of both exercises straight through without resting. Rest 30-45 seconds between each set. 3 sets X 15 reps

These exercises isolate the muscles are good finishers to your back workout.

Attach a rope to a high pulley and make your weight selection.

  • Rope Straight-Arm Cable Pulldowns (isolation move for the lats): Stand a couple of feet back from the pulley and take the rope with both hands. Lean forward from the hips, keeping your back straight, with your arms extended up in front of you.
    Keeping your arms straight, extend the shoulders to pull the rope down to your thighs. Pause at the bottom of the motion, squeezing your lats. Return to the starting position.
  •  Face pulls: (for the rear deltoids and middle back) Facing a high pulley with a rope, pull the weight directly towards your face, separating your hands as you do so. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground.

Tips for Training Arms

When it comes to increasing the size of the arms, it takes several different techniques to achieve muscle growth.

  1. Focus on intensity with supersets, drop sets, forced reps, negative reps, and rest pauses. Studies have found that these techniques increase growth hormone which in turn can initiate recovery and muscle growth.
  2. Follow a program that includes periodization, a process that uses various weight and rep ranges.
  3. Properly fuel your body to activate cell volume. Drink plenty of water, maintain a normal sodium intake, and be sure you are eating enough complex carbohydrates to maintain muscle glycogen stores. Most of us are familiar with the need to include protein in our diets.  However, a diet too low in carbohydrates can lead to decreased cell volume and muscle breakdown.
  4.  Finally, consider incorporating fascial stretching to increase muscle growth. This does not refer to conventional stretching or elongating of the muscle. Rather, it is based on stretching the muscle from the inside out through volume. This training technique was made famous by Hany Rambod and is referred to as FST-7.  Deep fascia is dense fibrous connective tissue that surrounds and penetrates muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. Thinner fascia allows the muscles to expand easier and results in muscle bellies that appear to be larger and fuller than those who have thick and tough deep fascia. An example of FST-7 would be 7 sets of 10 reps on machine preacher curls separated by less than 30 seconds rest between sets.

Give this biceps and triceps workout a try. It incorporates a few of the techniques described above. These are advanced training methods. Be sure that you have built a solid base of strength before using them.

Superset #1:

  1. 21s-Barbell Bicep Curl for 3 sets: 7 bottom half curls, followed by 7 top range curls, and ending with 7 full range curls. Rest and repeat for 2 more sets
  2. Machine Tricep Dip/Pushdowns: 3 sets X 15 reps + 1 dropset (drop weight 3 to 4 times). Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps where you pyramid the weight up each time and rest briefly between the sets. On the 4th set use the drop-set technique. Start with your heaviest weight and do as many as you can, without resting reduce weight and perform as many as you can. Repeat for 3 to 4 total drops in weight.

Superset #2:

  1. Behind the Head Bicep Curls (on the lat pull down machine): 4 sets X 12-15 reps + 1 set of rest-pause reps. Last set use rest-pause technique. Perform 6-10 reps. Release the weight and take 3 deep breaths. Perform as many reps as you can to failure. Release the weight. Take 3-5 deep breaths and finish the set.
  2. Tricep Cable Overhead Extension (with rope attachment): 4 X 12-15 reps + 1 set of rest-pause (same method as described above)

Superset #3:

  1. Machine Preacher Curl: 4 sets X 10 reps working the negative (fast up, slow down) + 10 reps regular pace
  2. Machine Tricep Extensions: 4 sets X 15 reps

Superset #4: Using FST-7

  1. Low Cable Bicep Curl (with short bar attachment): 7 sets X 12-15 reps with less than 30 seconds rest
  2. Skull Crushers (dumbbell or barbell): 7 sets X 12 reps with less than 30 seconds rest

References:

American College of Sports Medicine. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(3):687-708.

Exercise-Induced Insulin-Like Growth Factor I System Concentrations after Training in Women
GREGORY, SARA M.; SPIERING, BARRY A.; ALEMANY, JOSEPH A.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 45(3):420-428, March 2013.

Twenty-Hour Growth Hormone Secretory Profiles after Aerobic and Resistance Exercise

NINDL, BRADLEY C.; PIERCE, JOSEPH R.; RARICK, KEVIN R.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 46(10):1917-1927, October 2014

http://www.fst-7.com  Hany Rambod: Fascia Strength Training

 

 

 

 

 

Circuit Training: HIIT Cardio & Resistance

In this final segment on circuit training I chose to focus on higher intensity cardio intervals. By combining cardio with resistance training, you will increase fat burning capacity during the workout and your metabolic rate after the exercise session. In other words, you will effectively burn more calories during the workout and will continue burning calories after the training has been completed.

In this type of circuit you will replace traditional rest periods with cardio exercises performed for 30 to 60 seconds.  The exercises can be as simple as running in place.  The idea is that you do not rest between sets of strength training but continue to move. The goal is to gradually increase the amount of time and the intensity of the cardio intervals. The increased blood flow between lifts will deliver a bigger muscle pump and potentially boost strength and endurance.

Although the cardio portion of the workout is key, strength training plays an equally important role. Resistance training will allow you to build strength, lean muscle, and burn body fat. You can use either time and resistance (example, chest press for 45 seconds) or a specific number of reps to achieve your goal.

Below is a Cardio-Resistance Circuit you can try. Perform the lifting for 45 seconds and the cardio for 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat each set for a total of 3 times. There is no rest between the sets, so adjust the time and exercises to suit your fitness level.

Set 1: Dumbbell Squats for 45 seconds followed by jogging in place for 45 seconds. Repeat this set a total of 3 times

Set 2: Incline Dumbbell Chest Press & Bench step ups. 45 seconds each for 3 sets

 

Set 3: Upright Rows & Bench Toe Taps. 45 seconds each. 3 sets

Set 4: Overhead Dumbbell Shoulder Press & Alternating Battling Ropes. 45 seconds each. 3 sets.

Set 5: Barbell Bicep Curls & Double Wave Battling Ropes. 45 seconds each. 3 sets.

Set 6: Tricep Dips & Ball Slams. 45 seconds each. 3 sets. The dips can also be done on a bench with the heels on the floor (see http://www.exrx.net for instructions and video)

 

 

Circuit Training: Push & Pull

In the first blog on circuit training, we explored various ways of structuring a circuit. You can focus on body weight exercises, a specific muscle group, elevating the heart rate through cardio, or a blend of all three methods. You may also consider combining push and pull exercises when designing your circuit. If you do a chest press and then immediately follow with a dumbbell shoulder press, you may lack the energy to properly engage the muscles for the shoulder exercise. Alternating push and pull exercises in your circuit allows one muscle group to rest while the other is working.

The tissue of push muscle groups contract when the weight is pushed away from the body. Chest, shoulders, triceps, quadriceps, glutes, and calves are considered push muscles. Pull muscles contract when the weight is pulled toward the body.  These include the back, biceps, hamstrings.

Here are two examples of push and pull circuits you can try. The first focuses on the upper body. The second is a lower body circuit. Perform each exercise in sequence without stopping. Repeat the circuit two more times for a total of 3 rounds.

Workout #1: Upper Body Push & Pull Circuit

Incline dumbbell chest press: 15 reps

Smith Machine Back Row: 15 reps

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Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 15 reps

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Barbell 21 Bicep Curl: 7 full range curls, 7 top half reps, and 7 bottom half reps

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Tricep Dumbbell Skull Crusher: 15 reps

 

Workout #2: Lower Body Push & Pull Circuit

3/4 Hack Squat: 20 reps

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Unilateral Hamstring Curls: 20 reps each leg

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Plate Loaded Glute Kickback (standing donkey kicks): 20 double pump reps (top half pump followed by a full range repetition)

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Seated Hamstring Curls: 20 reps

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Seated Calf Raise: 20 reps followed by a slow count 10 second top half isometric hold

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Circuit Training: Break through the Boredom

Have you grown tired of your current workout routine? Circuit training is an excellent way to combat boredom. A circuit is a series of strength or cardio exercises repeated in sequence with little to no rest between the sets.  This type of training has several benefits. It can be specifically designed to meet your goals. For example, if you want to burn fat and increase lean muscle, you would do a circuit comprised of both strength and cardio moves. Circuits can be tailored to fit any fitness level simply by adjusting both the intensity and time. In addition, they can burn 30% more calories than conventional weight workouts. Circuits are also time efficient. You can choose five different exercises and perform each for one minute. Repeat the circuit 6 times for a total of a 30 minute workout.

Give this upper body weight circuit a try. The battling ropes will elevate the heart rate, providing a cardio benefit, as well as targeting the shoulders and core. The remaining exercises will hit chest, back, shoulders, and triceps.

Push ups: 1 minute (as many as you are able to do)

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Battling Ropes-Alternating waves: 1 minute

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Pull ups (can be assisted or on on Smith machine): As many as you can do in 1 minute

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Tricep Dips:  1 minute (as many as you can do) 

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Battling Ropes-Double waves: 1 minute

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References:

Comana, Fabio, M.A, M.S. Circuit Training. ACE Fitness.

American College of Sports Medicine, Physical Activity Guidelines, 2007, http://www.acsm.org

Black, Stephen A. (2006). Kick up your cardio with circuits. Fitness Management, June: 34-37.

Smokey Beef Chili

Grass fed beef: Is it a healthier alternative?

There has been a lot of emphasis on purchasing grass fed beef as a healthier alternative to conventional meat. All cows graze on grass for the first six months. However, most U.S. cows will finish in a feeding lot containing a concentrated mixture of corn, soy, grains, supplements, hormones, and antibiotics. This speeds the growth process by one full year and thus lowers the overall cost to feed the animals. In addition, this process increases the fat in the meat, giving it a richer taste, boosting marbling, and resulting in a higher USDA rating when it reaches the store.

Increasing the fat in beef changes the nutritional composition of the food. Three decades of research have concluded that grass fed beef is lower in calories (92 fewer calories in a 6 oz portion), lower in saturated fat, higher in good fats (Omega 3 content), higher in vitamins A and E, higher levels of antioxidants, and seven times the beta carotene.

The disadvantages to grass fed beef include the cost and the care needed when cooking the meat. If you consume the U.S. average amount of beef per year of 67 pounds, it would cost approximately $300.00 more per year. Grass fed beef can also be more challenging to cook because of the lower fat content, requiring more time and lower temperatures. The good news is that when time is taken in preparation, grass fed beef compares in taste to conventional meat with higher fats.

I love spicy food and favor stews and soups in the colder months. Here is a nice, smokey chili to try. I usually make it stove top, but you can easily adapt this recipe to the crock pot.

Smokey Beef Chili:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion chopped fine
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers)
  • 2 serrano peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb grass fed beef
  • 1/2 packet of Old El Paso Hot & Spicy Low Sodium Taco Mix 
  • 1 12 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons Cervantes Jalapeño Salsa (optional) 
  • 2 cans low sodium black beans
  • 1 generous handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Generously spray the bottom of a stock pot with olive oil spray. Over medium heat add garlic, onion, peppers, and adobo. Heat for 3 minutes and set aside. In a separate skillet, cook the meat over medium heat until done (approximately 10 minutes). Drain meat and add to stock pot.

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Add taco mix, tomatoes, chicken broth, and salsa (optional). Continue cooking over medium heat. Stir in beans and cilantro and reduce heat to low. 

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Shoulder Workout: Use Various Forms of Resistance Training to Achieve Results

Free weights give you a complete training program, because they activate several of the smaller stabilizer muscles. They also allow for unilateral development of the body (increasing strength on both sides of the body). However, our musculoskeletal system is complex. It consists of levers dictated by genetic factors which contribute to our ability to leverage free weights effectively. In other words, these factors determine how much load our muscles can take during a given exercise. The length of our bones, angle of our joints, location of the muscle insertion, muscle fiber type (quick twitch vs. slow twitch), and length of our muscle bellies all limit the load our muscles can achieve. This is particularly true of free weight exercises that are hindered by the point where you move a weight and lose the resistance. For example, the preacher curl typically begins at 35 to 40 degrees, begins to lose effectiveness at 135 degrees, and completely loses resistance at approximately 180 to 200 degrees. This gives 110 degrees of useful range and 50 degrees of unwanted rest from the resistance. If we are able to avoid the loss of resistance, we can make exercises far more effective.

Machines are one way to overcome the loss of resistance. They work your target muscles through a good range of motion, while supporting your body during the exercise. However, since the body is in a fixed position, the smaller stabilizing muscles are less active. In addition, machines often sacrifice the benefit of precision that dumbbells allow.

Cables are another efficient way to create a range of motion that progressively loads the resistance and avoids the loss of resistance. Essentially cables place your muscles in the worst leverage disadvantage possible which increases the resistance and benefits of the exercise and incorporates stabilizing muscles. You can pull a cable from any direction needed, adjust the position of your body as needed, and create a range of resisted motion for the exercise.

The Kinesis machine is a type of cable exercise equipment that uses full gravity and a rotating pulley system to allow for a 360 degree range of motion activating all the body’s kinetic chains. Unlike traditional cable machines, there is no interference to the forearms or range of motion.

Since there are benefits to each type of exercise (free weights, machines, and cables), you can utilize all three to create a complete program to train the shoulders.

Overhead Kinesis Shoulder Press: 20 reps at a lighter resistance followed by 3 sets of 10 reps at a heavy resistance. Repeat above sequence 3 times with 45 seconds rest between each round.

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Reverse Kinesis Flyes (for the rear deltoid): Perform high, mid, and low sequence for 3 sets

Reverse Kinesis Flyes High: 20 reps

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Reverse Kinesis Flyes Midline: 20 reps

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Reverse Kinesis Flyes Low: 20 reps

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Seated Precor Cable Overhead Press 5 sets X 10 reps with 30 seconds rest:

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Seated Machine Overhead Press (Incline) 5 sets X 10 reps with 30 seconds rest:

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Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press: 4 sets X 12 reps with 30 seconds rest

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Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises 7 sets X 10 reps with 30 seconds rest:

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References:

C. Barrett. Free Weights vs. Cable Machines

e.medicinehealth. Strength Training. August 2015.

J. McLelland. Cable Machine Benefits. April 2014

Mercola. The Pros and Cons of Free Weights versus Resistance Machines. Peak Fitness. December 12, 2014

N. Tumminello. 5 Machines that are Better Muscle Builders than Free Weights. Muscle and Performance. May 7, 2012.

Technogym.com. Kinesis

Bodybuilding.com. Are Free Weights or Machines Better for Results?