Maintain Muscular Balance
When designing a program, select similar number of exercises
and sets for opposing muscle groups. Some joints may become more
susceptible to injury or altered posture when significantly greater
training volume is preformed on one movement and not the opposite
movement. See common
muscular weaknesses and postural
When performing a unilateral exercise, begin with the weaker
side first. Then complete only as many repetitions on the stronger
side as performed on the weaker side.
setting a range of motion (ROM) criteria on those exercises which
have a peak
tension curve (e.g. shrug, hip abduction, calf exercises,
etc.). During a warm-up set with a light weight, take note of
the angle or height the moving body segment or the position of
the apparatus at full range. All subsequent workout repetitions
should reach this benchmark without accelerating the weight through
this harder portion of the exercise.
Starting Back After a Layoff
When starting back after a long layoff, it may be advisable
to perform only one light set during the first workout(s). A
warm-up and moderately intense workout set can be performed during
subsequent workout(s). It will take longer to recuperate between
workouts if you become too sore by performing too many sets and
exercises. The body may adapt more efficiently with less chance
of injury if the initial workout is brief and volume and intensity
is increased systematically. Also see Low
Volume Training and Designing
Full Body Workout.
Monitor Muscle Gains
With an accurate body weight, a body
composition test can measure both muscle mass and fat weight.
Objectively monitor muscle mass gains every month. If muscle
gains are not observed over time, exercise and dietary changes
can be made in a timely manner.
Dip Bar Width
Some dip bars
allow for varied hand widths, narrower at one end and wider at
the opposite end. The Cybex assisted dip machine, for example,
allows for grip width adjustment by turning one or both handles
in or out. The ideal width will depend upon one's size (ie: shoulder
width) as well as intended target muscle group desired to emphasize.
See differences of grip width and form between the Chest
Dip versus the Triceps
Dip. Even with a wide grip, the hand width should not exceed
elbow width (determined when the elbow is at a right angle) to
maintain the benefits of a basic
exercise. Also see 'Too
Wide of Grip' error.
Circuit Training involves performing an entire routine with
little rest between sets, only that which taken to go to the
following exercise station. Circuits may consist of short cardio
bouts performed in between weight training exercise or incorporate
weight training exercise exclusively. See full body circuit workout
Circuit training increases general muscular conditioning.
Although circuit training can increase both muscular strength
and cardiovascular endurance, these gains are smaller than what
can be obtained from a program combining standard weight training
and traditional cardio exercise. Since beginners come to the
table with low
initial levels of fitness, circuit training allows for sufficiently
modest increases of fitness in the early stages of training.
Circuit training may also be incorporated into more advanced
programs, during recovery periods or short durations during the
off season to maintain fitness and to break the monotony of regular
Weight Room Recommendations
68 to 72° F (20 to 22° C)
60% or less
8 air exchanges per hour or more
Clean equipment pads daily. Make disinfectant and cleaning towels
available for use between uses.
Cables, chains, guide rods checked weekly
ACSM (1997) ACSMs Health/Fitness Facility Standards
Arm Position During Waist Exercises
When performing body weight exercises for the waist, the arm
position or leg position can be altered to vary resistance, until
additional resistance is needed. During the sit-up
the easiest position is achieved with the arms to the sides of
the body. Likewise, during hyperextension,
the arms can be placed behind the hips during the warm-up set.
More challenging positions can be achieved by placing the arms
higher on the body. These alterations shift the body segments'
center of gravity further away from the fulcrum, or articulating
joint. See Lever
Here is an example
of progressively harder arm positions that can be implemented
during a sit-up or crunch:
- Arms along sides of body
- Arms on waist
- Arms on chest
- Arms on shoulders
- Arms behind neck
- Arms behind head
- Arms on head
- Arms bent, overhead
- Arms straight, overhead
Usually an incline ab board and/or additional weight in the
form of a weight plate is added before the hands are placed on
or over the head. Attention should be given to the placement
of the added weight. For example, placing the added weight higher
behind the head (where far less weight would be required) would
be more challenging than placing the weight on the lower chest.
Caution should be exercised if the hand-behind-the-head position
is used during sit-ups or crunches. Don't confuse neck movement
for movement through the waist (thoracic
and lumbar spine articulation). Some individuals with a higher
risk of neck injury may need to keep their neck in a neutral
position so the added weight can be placed on the upper chest,
just below the neck. Incidentally, the chance of neck injury
may be increased when the exerciser places the hands higher behind
the head and attempts to throw the body upward, jerking the head
forward with greater force than to which the neck is accustomed.
A warm-up set for an exercise such as the hyper-extension
can be performed with the hands behind the hips. During workout
set(s), the arms can also be placed progressively higher-up on
the body until additional weight is required.
Leg position can also be altered as well as the angle of incline
on the leg
raise or the leg
hip raise (e.g.: Lying
bent knee leg raise is easier than the straight
leg vertical leg raise).
Programming for Continued Progress
Beginners can progress no matter what they do, even with a
less than ideal program. They seem to get seeming bigger and
stronger simply by walking into the weight room and touching
the weights. As a result, newcomers often feel over confident
in their achievements and continue to do "what works for
them" even after their progress slows to an abrupt halt.
You can only workout without a clear plan for so long until progress
discontinues. At some point, the only type of training that will
work is a well thought-out program with subtle variations and
planned progressions. See: