Jackie Wright: Basic muscular strength training program design
July 23, 2009
Last week’s column provided the upper body exercise descriptions for this basic muscular strength training program. This week, we will cover the lower body and abdominals/core segment of the program. Keep in mind this is a basic program, so there are some muscle groups that may not be specifically addressed. However, the exercises described are excellent multiple-muscled exercises. As always, please consult your physician prior to performing any exercise program.
For all exercises below:
– Always warm-up prior to and cool down/stretch following this program.
– Rotate shoulders back/down, rib cage lifted, navel pulled toward the spine, knees relaxed and, keep the body weight in the heels when standing.
– Maintain a neutral spine.
– Two slow counts each direction.
– When using dumbbells or resistive tubing, choose a weight/resistance increment that will fatigue the muscles in 8-12 repetitions.
– Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise; 2-3 times per week.
– Allow 24-48 hours between muscular strength training days.
Lower Body Muscular Strength Training Program
Legs/Hips – Targets the Quadriceps/Hamstrings/Gluteals/Core – Squats – Stand with a barbell or dumbbells resting on the shoulders, feet shoulder-width apart, toes and knees facing forward, and the majority of the body weight resting in the heels. Engage your core, hinge from the hip joint, lowering the body as though you are going to sit in a chair going no lower than 90 degrees of knee flexion. Then, engage the glutes and drive your body upward to a standing position.
Hips – Targets the Hip Abductors/Core – Hip Abduction – Lying on your left side with the thighs parallel, the bottom leg flexed approximately 45 degrees and the top leg soft at the knee joint, rest your head on your left hand with your elbow on the floor directly beneath the shoulder joint. Lift the right leg approximately 45 degrees from the hip joint, then lower toward the floor without touching the floor. Repeat on the other side. You can place a dumbbell right above the knee joint on the working side to add intensity.
Abdominals/Core Muscular Strength Training Program
Abdominals/Core – targets the inner/outer core units – Reverse Curls – Lying supine on the floor, bring the knees to a 90-degree position off of the floor with the knees facing the ceiling, directly over the hips, lower legs parallel to the floor and the ankles crossed. Rest the head into the fingertips/shoulders off of the floor, keeping the head/neck in neutral. Pull the navel toward the spine, lifting the lumbar vertebra/upper torso off of the floor simultaneously. Return to the beginning position without losing the contraction. Add rotation to this exercise as you reverse curl to increase the effectiveness/intensity (i.e. lead with right shoulder toward left hip/lead with left shoulder toward right hip-rotating from the waistline).
Abdominals/Core- targets the inner core unit (erector spinae, etc.) – Bird Dog – Begin on all fours with the hands directly underneath the shoulders. Lift/extend the right leg so it is parallel to the floor at hip height. Then, extend the left arm, creating one straight line with the body. Hold for five-ten seconds, release and repeat on the other side.
Next week, we will feature a great resistive tubing workout that you can take anywhere.
– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her Web site http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her e-mail at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog on http://www.skyhidailynews.com