For the past 55 years at least, I have been involved with resistance exercise. There have been exceptions to this, since playing basketball and then tennis demanded most of my time and energy when these sports were in season.
Here are the workout sites I have used, if memory serves:
- Garage workouts with barbells
- Bodybuilding clubs
- Weight room workouts in my college years
- Forced push-ups and chins during ROTC summer camp (harassment, but enjoyable)
- Health club workouts
- Nautilus center workouts
- YMCA workouts
- Home workouts
My interests have been to:
- Improve sports skills
- Increase strength
- Try to create a symmetrical body
Many aspects of resistance exercise are commonly known, such as:
- Bodyweight movements (push-ups, planks, V-ups)
- Lifting a barbell or dumbbell for 8-12 reps, briefly resting and then repeating
- Doing 3-4 sets of an exercise
- Implementing resistance cords
- Planning 6-8 upper body sets, then 6-8 for abdominals and legs
All of the above techniques are basic and productive. Don’t re-invent the wheel, but be knowledgeable about other methods of increasing the intensity when it becomes appropriate.
This is a technique of doing one set and then going directly into the next one without rest. I have tried variations of this, including the following:
- Doing a set of reps for my triceps to completion, then beginning and finishing one for my biceps. The point is to thoroughly ingest your arms with blood, so that an optimal “pump” is reached.
- Doing a movement specifically for my chest and then continuing without rest to finish with one that works the triceps as well as the chest. The goal here is to “pre – exhaust” your chest muscles (pectorals) with a direct exercise, like lying lateral raises – and then finish with an indirect chest movement, like push-ups or bench presses. This is the ultimate pump sequence.
- Doing an upper body exercise and then continuing without rest to a lower body exercise. This is only a method to speed up the workout to save time or to gain aerobic benefit. There is no special “pump” involved.
There are also tri-sets and quad sets and maybe more progressions. At a bodybuilding gym, an advanced man mentioned that super sets necessitated less weight. He preferred heavier weights to build and super sets with lighter weights only afterward. This made a lot of sense to me. He loved super sets, but put them in perspective.
This procedure requires a training partner. The idea is to totally exhaust your working muscles and then continue with the assistance of your partner.
For example, you have completed 6 reps of heavy bench presses. You then attempt a 7th rep, but you can only partially raise the barbell. Your partner then slightly helps by placing a finger under the bar as he stands behind you. With his assistance you are able to squeeze out 2 or 3 more reps.
In my experience, the training partner would often provide more help than I wanted, but the knowledgeable ones knew to only help in the most minimal ways. This would allow for greater intensity for the bench press and could apply to many other movements.
Another somewhat similar technique is working to failure. This simply means that we do not stop when we reach a designated number of reps – 10 or 12. We continue until we physically cannot perform another rep, regardless of the weight or number of reps completed. This requires careful attention and generally should not be used throughout an entire workout.
There has been a perception among many weight trainers that the lifting of a weight is vastly more beneficial than the lowering of that weight. In gyms, it is not unusual to see and hear someone finish a set and then loudly drop the weight, hopefully not on someone’s toes.
The importance of the negative portion of a movement has always been known, but may have been somewhat underestimated until Nautilus machines became popular in the late 1960s to early 1970s.
Nautilus inventor Arthur Jones strongly felt that the negative (lowering) part of a movement was more beneficial than the raising. His machines provided a means to capture the full value of negatives, as no other process did at the time.
I well remember the Nautilus decline bench press machine. It was important to do the lifting of the weight slowly, but the lowering twice as slowly. After the set of reps was completed, we were to then push the weight forward with our legs and then continue with negatives for 3-4 more reps. The effect was incredible. Arthur Jones knew what he was doing!
I have been involved with Bullworker fitness devices for more than 2 years. These are unique workout instruments that provide both isotonic and isometric modes of resistance. The joints move with the isotonic movement, either compressing or pulling apart resistance that is established by the powerful springs within a steel cylinder. The joints do not move and are held in place at the end of the series of reps. This increased tension adds value to the workout and is generally not available in other devices, to my knowledge.
A rotator cuff injury is presently limiting the force I can exert in workouts, but I have found a “work around” that is quite encouraging. I am now temporarily doing Bullworker static holds without the isotonic part, which would present a problem for my shoulder.
I was a bit surprised but very happy with the effect of the “isometric only” trial. It seems that I have lost very little or nothing by doing this.
My favorite Bullworker device is the Steel Bow, pictured below. It is the best chest developer that I have found. Before my injury, I would do about 12 reps with the most challenging spring that was appropriate, followed by a 10-second isometric hold. I would repeat this for at least 4 sets. Now I only do isometric holds but for a precisely timed 35 seconds and 4 total sets. I will continue this until my shoulder is healed completely.
Click on the links below for more information on items with relevance to the workout techniques described above. I have done business with all of these sources and have used most of the equipment within the links.
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Please join me in the pursuit of a healthy and fit lifestyle. Set up a home workout space and get going! I start and finish my workouts every day before I eat breakfast.
My current practice is to alternate a cardio workout with a rehab/bodybuilding workout. I do one or the other every morning except Sundays.
This is highly addictive and I can’t imagine any other use of my morning time. I have been doing this for years, but it seems to be especially suitable during a time of full or partial quarantine.
You will not regret committing to a fitness program, no matter your age. Your results will justify the effort! The only difficult part is the decision to work out. The rest is easy!
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and stay safe!