Wright: Free Weight body positions
The Fitness Trail
When choosing an exercise to include in your program design one of the most important components, out the ten observational essentials, is to determine what the body’s position will be during the exercise and this is particularly critical when training with free weights in order to position the body opposite of gravitational forces.
Therefore, this week, follow these tips for determining your body’s position when training with free weights and begin to feel and experience the positive results. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Tip #1: When training the chest with free weights, lying supine (i.e. face up) is generally most effective. There are decline, flat and incline possibilities, each emphasizing a different segment of the chest.
Tip #2: When training the back with free weights, you are either lying prone (i.e. face down) or kneeling on a bench hinged from the hip joint so that the back is facing the ceiling and parallel to the floor. Again, adjustments may be made in terms of the degree of hinging from the hips as this will either lessen or increase the load placed on the back muscles (i.e. lats/traps, etc.).
Tip #3: If you would like to train the biceps with free weights, then you may be standing, seated, kneeling or even lying supine on an incline bench with the palms facing forward in standing or seated positions or facing the ceiling in supine. The key is that the load must be created in the biceps, not the deltoids so the action is elbow flexion and extension.
Tip #4: Training the triceps may be accomplished either in a kickback position with the torso hinged from the hip joint and the upper arm parallel to the floor and stable at the shoulder joint so that the triceps may pull the forearm into extension from the elbow joint. Or, you may stand and hold the free weight over the head, elbows facing the ceiling, shoulder joint stable and extend the arm toward the ceiling (i.e. French curls). Another option would be to lie supine, elbows facing the ceiling aligned with the shoulder joints, arms flexed to 90 degrees at the elbow joint extending the arms toward the ceiling (i.e. skull crushers).
Tip #5: Training the deltoids (i.e. shoulders) requires different positions due to the location of each aspect of the deltoid muscle group (i.e. anterior/posterior/medial). Consequently, to effectively load the anterior shoulder you will either stand, sit or kneel, palms facing the thighs lifting arms to shoulder height and back down. To train the medial deltoids, perform a lateral raise with the arms moving from the side of the thighs palms facing the floor at shoulder height and down. And, to effectively train the posterior deltoid, you may hip hinge forward in a standing position, or lie prone extending the arms behind the torso palms facing the wall behind you or ceiling above. Overhead presses, which train both the anterior/medial deltoids, may be trained by standing/seated/kneeling, pressing the arms over the head from shoulder height fully extending elbow joint and down.
While not an exhaustive list of the hundreds of exercise position possibilities, the exercises featured above provide you with the fundamentals of proper body position when training with free weights.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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