Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drop Sets

Pressed for time or need a change of pace and want a kick-ass workout? Well you may want to try drop or strip sets. So what’s a drop or strip set? Well, it’s quite simple to understand but a real bear to do. You perform an exercise with a weight that will yield you about 8-10 repetitions to muscular fatigue/failure. When you reach failure, you immediately drop or strip approximately 15-20% of the weight and then do as many reps as you can again (you will probably get around 4-6 reps). Now, you have one more drop/strip set so again, reduce the resistance by 15-20% and do as many reps in good form as you can (you will probably get around 4-6 but as always, do as many as you can).

The ideal approach for using drop/strip sets is to pick 3 compound exercises (exercises that use more than one joint and involve more than one muscle group) and a resistance that can be reduced easily and quickly. Selectorized machines (selectorized refers to a machine that has weights already and you change the resistance by using a pin while a plate-loading machine has to have weights added to it manually) or dumbbells tend to work best. In picking your three movements, choose one for the lower body so it stresses the thighs and hips, one movement that works the back and biceps and another that will stress the chest, shoulders and triceps. An example may be a workout that involves a leg press, pulldown and shoulder press. These three movements will hit every major muscle group quite intensely and effectively. If you pick a piece of equipment and requires you to plate-load or you use a barbell, make sure to have a qualified spotter or training partner drop or strip the weights for you after, of course, you’ve set it up for the proper increment drops. A quick example of the plate-loaded leg press using 200 pounds for your initial set: load the leg press so that it totals 200 pounds but allows you to drop/strip the resistance by 35 pound plates (which is about 17%) so you just need to make two easy drops.

In essence, a workout of this magnitude is providing nine highly intense sets in a very short amount of time (probably no more than 10-12 minutes). There is no doubt that you will stimulate plenty of muscle fiber and your cardio respiratory system to its fullest.

Fred Fornicola

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some people making lifting weights their life - nothing wrong with that. Others strength train as a means to enhance their athletic or recreational performance...and that's good too. While others use strength training to be more functional and a "part" of their overall exercise program...and that's great. But remember,... regardless of your reason for training, it's all about improving your health.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Daddy D

Big Daddy D

Darryl (also referred to as Big Daddy D around here) has been training with me for 6 ½ years. Darryl has been on the up-and-down fat loss wagon for some years now, but over the last 6 month’s we have honed in on the right exercise frequency/intensity and he has stayed strong on his nutritional plan allowing him to lose over 25 pounds of fat and gain around 5+ pounds of muscle. Darryl at one time trained twice a week then went to three times a week and for the last several month’s has been strength training just once a week with me. On Saturday’s, he and a couple of other guys come in and we go through a very intense conditioning program using the Concept II Rower and the Concept II SkiErg.

Today, Darryl’s workout consisted of the following:

*Machine Pullover – 8 reps to failure plus a couple forced reps - supersetted with*Machine Pulldowns – 4 reps plus a static hold in the MMA position (Maximum Moment Arm)* Machine Shoulder Press – 3 reps plus various static hold positions for 5 seconds each*Single Leg, Leg Press on the Nautilus Leverage – 5 reps each leg alternating for 3 sets (15 total reps per leg)* TrapBar DL/Hi Pull combo for a handful of reps…..(see attached video)

And then Darryl rested……he had no choice!

Check out the video! DARRYL DEADLIFTS

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Entire Body

Name one sport, athletic event or physical activity that doesn't engage all the muscles of the body? Well, I'll make it easy for you, there isn't one. Certain areas of the body may be emphasized more than others as in running or cycling, but don't think for a minute that your entire body isn't involved in activities like would be sadly mistaken.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

What's More Important?

A question I often get is "what's more important, good nutrition, strength training or doing conditioning work?" and my answer is usually the same, "what's more important to a car; gas, the engine, oil, wheels, the key, etc., etc"...

If you give it some thought, all aspects could be argued in favor of or against, especially when the individual is keen on one particular area, but the truth of the matter is, I don't feel that you can, nor do you need to separate and distinguish one over the other. Like the car, they all work in unison to support each others functions and in doing so, enable you to have a healthier more functional lifestyle.

Fred Fornicola