Cardiopulmonary (cardio), weight resistance training, functional and movement coordination training, and flexibility training are the basic components of a good exercise routine. All of these must be included in a good routine. If you’ve been reading, you already know some flexibility exercises from my previous posts. I will be focusing on a very basic resistance routine on the next three posts.
A fellow by the name of Paul Check identified 6 primal movements. We build all of our more complicated movements based on them. The primal movements are pulling, pushing, squating, lunging, bending, twisting. I use them as a basis of all my routines. At the most basic level when you go to the gym, there are some exercises that you should include in your routines.
These are good exercises for beginners and for people who just want to maintain their body mass. If you are extremely sedentary and thin, you will notice a difference relatively fast. If you need to shed some pounds and you decide to diet, you’ll need these to keep your muscle mass. When we lose weight, we also tend to lose muscle.
Before starting any exercise routine, consult with your physician. If you experience any pain during any of these exercises discontinue the exercise until a fitness trainer can correct your form. If it persists, have a physician conduct a thorough neuromusculoskeletal evaluation to rule out any serious pathology.
Warm up before exercising. You can hop on an elliptical (since you will be using your arms) for 5 minutes, do arm circles, active stretches. However, if you have no idea of what I am talking about, do 5 minutes on a cardio machine, run, walk briskly or skip rope; then, do a very light weight set of the exercise you will be attempting to perform. When you start do one set of 12 – 15 reps of each exercise. When this becomes too easy add one more set. By the time you can do three sets of each exercise, you might need a more challenging routine. What weight should you do? The weight that will allow you to do the number of repetitions you select with correct form, but not a single more.
Pulling motions bring the weight towards our body. They primarily stress our back muscles and biceps. Overhead pulling is similar to climbing. You reach above your head. You hold on to the resistance, flex your arm and bring your elbow towards your torso. Chin ups are the perfect pulling exercise; unfortunately, they are too intense for most people. You can start out by doing machine pull ups to get you ready for the real deal.
The most common way to pull something is to pull from in front of you towards your torso as when you open a door or go kayaking. As a matter of fact, this pulling motion is part of the most common activity we do every day: walking and running. There are numerous exercises that mimic this motion.
Seat and adjust the knee pad. Lean back slightly. Make sure the bar is right above your chest. Tilt your head back to get your chin away from the line of pull (unless you want to whack yourself with the bar). Reach for the bar at a width slightly wider than your shoulders. Pull down the weight without leaning back any further. Bring the bar down towards the top of your chest as you exhale. Bring the bar slowly to the initial position. DO NOT swing your back while doing this exercise if you value your low back. Bring the weights back quickly or pull the bar behind your head if you value the integrity of your shoulders. Bring the bar down uniformly without allowing one side to come down faster than the other.
Other alternate exercises are assisted chin ups, alternate lat pull down, squatting lat pull down etc. Look them up and see if you are ready for these.
The most common way to pull something is to pull from in front of you towards your torso as when you open a door or go kayaking. There are numerous exercises that do this motion. The easiest of them by far is the seated row.
Sit down and bend your knees to grab the handles. At this point I don’t care what type of handle you use, but make sure your grip doesn’t cause any pain on the wrist. Slide back on the bench making sure you straighten your KNEES as you get into starting position. Starting position as follows legs extended with knees slightly bent, torso perpendicular to the floor and arms extended in front of you.
Keeping your shoulders from hiking up towards your ears, pull the handles towards your stomach. As you do this do not pull with your low back. At the end of the motion bring your shoulders back and stick your chest out. Do not elevate your shoulders at any time. It is very important that you remember not to swing your back at any point during this exercise.
Other exercises that mimick this motion are dumbell bent over rows, barbell bent over rows, supine rows, and squatting rows to name a few.
On my next post I will be introducing basic pull exercises and a very well known “bending” exercise. For now, you can at least, practice the two that I wrote about on this post.