Weight training is far more than a means to build muscle or achieve a certain aesthetic—it is a lifestyle, a mindset, and a transformative practice that has the power to positively impact every aspect of your life. It is a discipline that demands consistent effort, proper technique, and a deep understanding of the human body's capabilities and adaptations.
I started strength training in junior high, but really got into it in high school when I was exposed to the different sports doing the same exercises. This got me interested in the industry and made me think more about it.
To maximize strength gains, try to pick one to two exercises that stress the muscle in all lengths. Use different tools such as weights, cables and bands to keep your workouts efficient.
Both leg press and barbell squats have their purpose, but the leg press offers a more controlled range of motion which can be beneficial for people with back injuries.
Cardio and weight training are both important for weight loss. You can see the difference in body types of those who primarily do cardio vs those who incorporate strength training into their routine. Cardio is important for aerobic fitness, whereas strength training helps support your body and keep it together.
To increase your squat max, focus on single leg strength and exercises like split squats and pauses. Don't overwork your joints by loading up too much weight on the barbell squat. Try to stay healthy for the long term.
To get a stronger flat bench press, focus on eccentric slowing down and holds in different ranges. Also, work with dumbbells and machines and have someone help you up on the concentric.
Single leg squats are great for assessing asymmetries between the left and right sides of the body as well as unloading mechanics. There are also many variations to single leg squats which make them useful for bodybuilding techniques.
It really depends on your goals, but for the most part it is better to lift weights first and then do cardio afterwards. Splitting up your workout into two separate sessions can also be beneficial.
For gaining upper body strength for high school baseball players, focus on pulling exercises like pull-ups, back rhomboids and lats. Also, avoid barbell bench press and opt for ground based bench presses to maintain a safe range of motion. Try doing two to three more sets of pulling exercises than pushing ones.
I do not recommend creatine for strength athletes until they are older and can make the decision for themselves. I provide factual information but tread lightly during conversations about it with parents and coaches.
A few of my favorite movement patterns using a single dumbbell are the single leg Squat and reach, the dumbbell row curl to press, the push up to Renegade row, the single leg RDL hold to single arm dumbbell row, and the single arm dumbbell squat row to press. These exercises will challenge you in different planes of motion and provide a big bang for your buck.
During a push day, you should do lower body exercises that focus on your quadriceps and knee complex such as squats, terminal knee extensions, hip steps, and band exercises. This will help you work out more productively and avoid injury.
To grow larger biceps, prioritize them in your workouts, micro dose them by doing one or two sets of elbow flexion exercises throughout the week, work them in different ranges and don't forget to do compound movements such as pull-ups and superset with elbow flexion curling type exercises.
To widen back muscles, do pull-ups with a neutral grip and arms as wide as you can. As you fatigue, bring your arms closer or go to a supination grip (palms facing you). Microdose by breaking the maximum number of reps into sets of three or four. Focus on retracting and depressing the shoulder blades while driving elbows towards the hips.
A Mac would recommend a push and pull regiment for a recreational lifter that is fun, challenging and efficient. This could consist of exercises such as bench press, push-ups, pull-ups and squats to rows. The reps and time can be adjusted to the individual's fitness level, with an emphasis on two more sets of pulling exercises than pushing.
If you want to get to 135 pounds on the bench press, work on negatives and holds, do dumbbells, slightly change the angle and do isometrics. Stick with this for a few weeks before trying to push for 135 on each side. Remember that you don't need to be an A+ in the weight room, but if you love it, be safe.
Never stop lifting weights, but you should listen to your body and joints. Make sure to take precautions such as partial ranges of motion and isometrics to ensure joint integrity.
Hang cleans and snatches can be beneficial for runners, but there is a learning curve to them. Alternatives such as single leg lifts or dumbbell exercises may be safer and easier to learn.
When trying to work different muscle parts when doing bench pressing, use dumbbells instead of a barbell and experiment with positioning your elbows closer or further away from your body. This will put more or less torque on your joints and you'll be able to feel the difference.
Foot positioning is important when performing back squats as it affects the mechanics of the movement. Depending on an individual's femur length, torso length, and ankle mobility, they may need to adjust their foot positioning in order to achieve a 90 degree angle between the torso and shin. Not everyone is meant to back squat, so it is important to consider an individual's makeup when deciding if they should back squat or not.
To increase your workout, focus on control and adding holds at different points in the range of motion. Utilize different stances, directions of force, and grips to make the workout more challenging. Finally, add weight when you are comfortable with the movements to further increase difficulty.
To be more comfortable on the bike, practice riding it and do bodyweight squats, reverse lunges, crossover lunches, and progress to single leg exercises.
The exercise I would choose to do if I could only do one a day is a push/pull on a cable machine. I can do different variations such as rotating, stepping away from the machine, and squatting down to drive through my hips. This exercise works the upper body, spine, and hips for an effective workout.
I'm not a fan of weight belts, as I think you should be able to lift the weight without any extra support. However, depending on your sport or chosen activity, you may need to use one in order to compete safely and successfully.
I find it easier to get hyped up for upper body exercises because I don't enjoy being bulky and stiff all day. To stay motivated, I sometimes listen to music and sometimes I focus on the lift without any music for better concentration.