Jackie Wright – Designing a basic strength training program
July 9, 2009
First in a Three-Part Series
Designing a top-notch muscular strength training program requires a significant amount of exercise science/kinesiology/biomechanics knowledge and expertise. However, there are a few guidelines which may enable you to create a basic muscular strength training program.
Today, we will highlight how to balance your program by working across all three planes of the body and what muscle groups that includes. As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.
When designing your program think about the concept of muscle group balance. You will want to work across all three planes of the body (i.e. sagittal/frontal/transverse). However, to keep it simple, think about the front/back of the body, top/bottom halves of the body and the left and right sides of the body.
Upper Body- Chest/Back/Shoulders/Arms (Pectorals, Deltoids, Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi (lats), Rotator Cuff, Triceps and Biceps)
• When you work the muscles of the chest (pectorals), design your program so that you work the opposing muscle groups of the back (trapezius, lats, rotator cuff, etc.). This creates a balance between the front and back of the upper body.
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• The back of the upper body, from the base of the skull to the tip of your tailbone, needs to be addressed due to the impact those muscles have on posture/stability/balance. There are dozens of movements that the different back muscles produce, therefore, choosing exercises that multi-task is probably a more balanced and functional approach.
• When working the shoulders (deltoids), keep in mind that the deltoid muscle has anterior (front), medial (middle) and posterior (back) segments. Therefore, you will need to address all three segments of the shoulder joint in order to effectively strengthen it.
• The biceps (front of the upper arm) and triceps (back of the upper arm) are a classic opposing muscle group combination and may be worked in conjunction with one another.
Lower Body – Thighs/Hips/Calves/Shins (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Abductors/Adductors, Gluetus Maximus, Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Tibialis Anterior)
• When you work the quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh), you will also want to work the hamstrings/gluteus maximus (back of the thighs and buttocks) as the quadriceps/hamstrings are opposing muscle groups.
• When working the hip abductors (outer/upper hips), you will also want to work the hip adductors (inner thighs) to create balance between the outside and inside of the hips/thighs.
•The opposing lower leg muscles, the gastronemius/soleus and tibalis anterior may be worked in conjunction with one another.
There are inner and outer core units which include the abdominals and spinal erector muscles.
• Choose exercises that include both the anterior/lateral/posterior aspects of the inner and outer core unit muscles is critical to ensure balance between those muscles that stabilize, rotate, flex and extend the trunk.
Next week, the second part of this series will provide you with the real “meat” of this subject – the actual exercise descriptions for a basic muscular strength training program.
– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness LLC in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her Web site http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her e-mail at NSFGL@comcast.net or her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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