Two Tips for Strength Training

I am often asked how I get favorable results from strength training.  Two great tips to share are:

  • If you are training longer than one hour, you are making friends, not training.  An excellent workout can be had in 30-45 minutes.  This involves little rest time in between sets.  You can incorporate compound setting, where you perform two upper body or two lower body exercises (or more) consecutively, or use super-setting, when you perform two exercises that work the same muscle/muscle group one after the other.  An example of compound setting is push ups then biceps curls then lat pulldown.  Lower body compound setting might involve basic squats with hamstring ball rollouts.  An example of super-setting is barbell biceps curls then concentration curls.  I love to super-set core exercises by performing one exercise that involves spinal flexion immediately followed by one that involves core stabilization with minimal spinal positional change - for example, Roman chair or crunches on the ball, with plank to side plank, or "stir the pot" plank using a stability ball.  This is also safer for the lower back, because all high quality core exercises, particularly those that involved spinal flexion, carry some degree of risk to the lower back.  Reps for this category of exercises should be limited, so adding a pure core stabilization exercise right after will intensify the training effect of both exercises.
  • Never increase quantity at the expense of quality.  This involves what is called "technical limit", meaning that the first and last rep should look exactly the same.  Using momentum, leaning forward to execute one last rep, or relinquishing good posture near the end of a set, only increase the risk of injury and do not enhance the quality of a workout.

Be prepared for intense  - and fun - workouts!