Sunday, September 27, 2009

Which Torture, I mean, Training Method is Best?

What's the best way to strength train? How many times a week should I lift? Should I breakup my body when I lift? (Ouch... no, that would hurt! LOL!)

These are just some of the classic questions I get asked all of the time. As a personal fitness trainer in the biz for 30 years, I've seen it all..... come and go.... thru many cycles. My best answer.... "It don't matter.... just DO IT!" But to get into specifics, there are so many different ways to weight/strength train that you can just take your pick, change it up frequently and get real benefits and results from all methods.

*FULL BODY: work upper and lower all in one work out (3x week, MWF)
*UPPER BODY: one work out (2x week M/TH)
*LOWER BODY: one work out (2x week T/F)
*ALL PUSH MUSCLES: one work out (2x week M/TH)
*ALL PULL MUSCLES: one work out (2x week T/F)
*UPPER OPPOSING MUSCLES: work push muscle, then its counter pull muscle in one work out (2x week M/TH)
*LOWER OPPOSING MUSCLES: work push muscle, then its counter pull muscle in one work out (2x week T/F)

The following is an example of Upper Body Opposing muscles. You will want to alternate with Lower Body Opposing muscles during the weekly work out. A schedule might look like this:

*Monday Upper
*Tuesday Lower
*Wednesday REST
*Thursday Upper
*Friday Lower

As always, if you have health issues, are deconditioned, have not worked out in awhile or lead a sedentary life check with your doctor before starting any exercise program!

Remember to “SUCK n SQUEEZE” and BREATH! Don’t hold your breath!

Have fun! Be careful... now GO GET STARTED!!!


*Military Pushups 4 sets of 20
Keep head parallel to the floor, eyes looking at floor in front of you. Keep the butt down. Modified version -> start on knees instead of toes

*Pull-ups 4 sets of 5 to 10
Try not to swing your body

*Bicep Concentration Curl (Pull) 4 sets of 20
Place hand not in use resting behind your back. Make certain elbow does NOT rest on top of quad. Elbow is positioned up against the medial (inside) side of the leg.

*Tricep Dips (Push) 4 sets of 20
Don’t use your legs to help with this exercise. Legs are positioned straight out in front of you. You can cross your ankles.
Elbows should not “fly” out like a chicken wing. Keep elbows close to body. Notice in the pic, how elbows are parallel with shoulders.

Until next time......



  1. My question is - *why* should we strength train? Is there any evidence of longevity or better health benefits?

    The reason I ask is because although I'm aware of cultural traditions like yoga and tai chi, and I'm aware of the health benefits of eating well and of getting regular movement (not exercise,movement) in your life, I'm not aware of any benefits of western-style strength training. But I am aware of how easy it is to injure yourself if you train incorrectly.

    I'm trying to work out the best system for me. At present dietary changes are working well, and I've always been very active (especially now with two preschoolers!), but am not sure I want to strength train, unless it can be proven to be beneficial. So the jury is still out on it, and your article has come at a good time for me!

    Cheers :-)

  2. Thanks for the questions! So happy I got you thinking!!!

    As the body grows older, for various reasons we lose muscle mass, bone strength, and gain fat. We are susceptible to osteoporosis, arthritis, degenerative bone and joint disorders. Many players have their hands in this..... We sit all day at desks, or in our cars, or on the couch. As we get older, gravity takes its toll and starts to pull us down... our spine shrinks and we are stooped forward. This forces our shoulders to droop, our head falls forward, our pelvic bones and hip bones feel the brunt of this change and our guts turn to flab and protrude over our belts.

    If you are in your 30's, you are already losing muscle mass and bone structure. NOW! Is the time to start strength/weight training. Even if you are busy running around with kids... that is not enough to prevent bone and muscle mass loss. Besides, kids are considered ADL (Activities of daily living) and do not count as exercise. Just like walking from your car to the market or walking up the stairs to your office or doing gardening...or even if you bike everywhere... all of that you would be doing anyway... it does not count as a weight/strength training or exercise program... period.

    Along with a plant based nutritional plan, weight and strength training will: (no diff between weight and strength training)

    *replace the loss muscle mass (without muscle mass... you can not walk or function)
    *maintain your strength to perform your ADL (activities of daily living)
    *prevent osteoporosis and arthritis
    *prevents injuries & falls by improving balance, coordination and flexibility
    *burns fat, YES!!! Weight training BURNS FAT!
    *Improves our posture...straightens us up... takes the pressure off the spine, hips and pelvic areas

    There are studies and research all over the web. Just do searches for Journalistic research on strength training.

    Get yourself set up with a CERTIFIED Fitness trainer, preferably one that has been in the business for more then 5years. They will show you how to lift properly so that you don’t get injured. Most injuries occur when our pride gets in the way and we lift way more then we should. And we don’t take days of rest. You must rest at least one day between sessions.

    So, you should be doing:
    *plant based food plan
    *strength training at least twice per week
    *heart throbbing cardio at least 3 times week for 30 minutes preferably 45
    *a session or two of yoga, Pilates body flow