Jackie Wright – Quality Versus Quantity of Exercise
Grand County, CO Colorado
First in a three-part series
One of the concepts I try to impart upon my clientele is that quality of exercise generally trumps quantity of exercise. In fact, we use the “more isn’t necessarily better” approach to training.
There are only so many hours in the week that we allot for exercise; consequently, we want every repetition and set to count to ensure that we achieve the results we seek. Performing eight repetitions with excellent form, technique and at a safe and effective tempo for that specific exercise is more effective and less likely to cause injuries than performing dozens of repetitions with improper form, technique and at an unsafe/ineffective tempo.
Over the next three weeks we will highlight quality of exercise guidelines for the muscular strength/endurance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility components of physical fitness. Following these guidelines consistently may help you to achieve the results you seek. As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.
Quality of Exercise Guidelines – Muscular Strength/Endurance
• More isn’t necessarily better. Determine how many repetitions/sets should be performed to create a safe and effective training effect. In many cases, when focusing upon muscular strength, one-three sets of 8-12 repetitions of an exercise, such as biceps curls, performed with a set of dumbbells, which will create momentary muscle failure within those parameters, would strengthen the biceps muscle group.
• The exercise should be performed technically correct within the parameters set forth above. Some indications that the exercise is not being properly performed are that you are breaking form, swinging the dumbbells using momentum instead of muscle to cause the movement, or the tempo of movement is too fast. In general, slow, controlled movements will create the greatest engagement of the muscles involved and provide you with a positive training effect.
• Stabilization is crucial to ensure safety and effectiveness of exercise. The core muscles must be engaged when performing muscular strength training exercises. A perfect example of stabilization occurs during biceps curls. During this exercise, some clients will choose dumbbells that are simply too heavy to enable them to perform the exercise correctly without using momentum. Consequently, as they curl the forearm toward the shoulder, they lean backward with their torso, which creates the illusion of actually using the biceps muscles to do the work and may injure the low back.
Therefore, we encourage clients to choose the correct weight increment and to engage the core muscles throughout the exercise. If they notice that they are rocking the dumbbells up during elbow flexion, or losing control of the dumbbells during the elbow extension letting gravity extend the arm, they may have lost their core engagement and their stability. In this case, it is either time to lighten the weight increment or take a break
• Master the exercise before adding additional resistance or repetitions/sets. There is little benefit in adding resistance or repetitions/sets, unless and until you have mastered the exercise. Once your trainer notes that you have mastered the exercise at your ability level, then you may be ready to increase the intensity of the exercise.
Next week we will feature the quality versus quantity concept regarding cardiovascular endurance training.
– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness LLC in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com , her email address at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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