High Intensity Fitness Training
SuperMuscular.com is your site for accurate, scientifically based exercise and high intensity fitness information. Our goal is to help you reach your goals! If you are motivated to reach your ideal weight, build muscle, develop a healthy metabolism, improve your nutritional habits and develop a lean and fit body than you have found the right place!
We have packed this site with lots of great fitness articles and some inspiring and informative videos. Please check them out and let us know if you have and questions.
My motivation for developing this site stems from my many years of working professionally in the fitness field. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Physical Education, working as a fitness trainer and fitness center manager for many years as well as authoring The Fitness Center Handbook I came to many realizations about the world of fitness. One is that there are many highly motivated individuals who regularly engage in a wide variety of activities designed to make them healthier, stronger, leaner, sexier and more fit. I personally have met and worked with literally thousands of these folks and I still see them every day at the gym. These people should certainly all be congratulated and admired for their dedication to improving themselves.
Reduce Body Fat
Improve Cardio Endurance
Look and Feel Your Best
Regular exercise is wonderful. Unfortunately there is is also a few problems with the world of exercise and fitness. There are many misconceptions, sources of misinformation and lots of inaccurate information concerning exercise. There is even a lot of outright scams and lies involving fitness, exercise and weight loss. These all lead to wasted efforts and results that are less than could otherwise be achieved.
Hopefully I can reach out to the people who want to exercise the right way and help them learn how to train the most effective and efficient way and incorporate fitness into an active and healthy lifestyle.
Probably the most highly regarded and most widely recognized organization involved in exercise and fitness is the American College of Sports Medicine. The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. Founded in 1954, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) promotes and integrates scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life. Following closly to their well researched guidelines will be an excellent first step in learning how to properly follow an exercise program.
To simplify things it may be helpful to look at physical fitness as three key points.
1. Developing muscle strength in all major muscle groups. This is best accomplished by following a regular program of high intensity strength training.Developing the strength of the large muscles of the body can have a very significant benefit as far as functional ability, metabolism, weight control, appearance and athletic capability.
2. Developing cardiovascular endurance by regularly engaging in cardio / aerobic activity. This can be accomplishing by following sensible exercise guidelines and performing a wide variety off methods such as running, biking, swimming, cross country skiing, rowing, walking as well as an extensive range of cardio exercise equipment such as stair climbers, elliptical trainers, treadmills, etc.
3. Flexibility (limberness) refers to the range of movement in a joint or of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints. Flexibility in some joints can be increased to a certain degree by exercise with static stretching being the common exercise component to maintain or improve flexibility. Quality of life is enhanced by improving and maintaining a good range of motion in the joints.
Below are some basics concerning these aspects of fitness training starting with high intensity strength training and cardio endurance exercise. In addition there are additional categories on our site that deal with many exercise topics such as exercise and weight loss for women, nutrition, maximizing your workouts, etc. There are also several links to some well research workout programs that you many want to consider to help you reach your goals.
High Intensity Strength Training Tips – Learn the Right Way to Exercise!
Many men and women, head to their gym on a regular basis and they put a lot of time and effort into developing muscle strength to improve their fitness levels. Strength training is certainly a very worthwhile activity and offers many significant benefits. Unfortunately the average person makes quite a few mistakes that can actually reduce the results of their workout efforts.
Probably the first step is to understand what High Intensity exercise is, then how to apply the high intensity principles to your training routine. The bottom line is that you will probably get much better results in much less training time!
Before you engage it strength training workouts it only makes sense to really understand what this type of training is all about. The term high intensity exercise is something that most people do not really understand. They think if it as a vague way of saying “exercising with lots of effort” when it actually refers to a specific method of fitness training.To develop stronger muscles, to build muscle mass and help decrease your body fat level, you should exercise your muscles in this high intensity fashion. This is a very efficient way to train as it does not require a lot of time.
The term “maximum benefit in minimum time” is a term used to describe high intensity training. Long and drawn out, high volume workouts are NOT high intensity workouts. When performing proper strength training exercise you want to keep in mind that the workouts should be relatively short in durationbut the effort level should be very high. If you perform long workouts the intensity level will in fact be relatively low. High intensity workouts are of high effort and short time span. This is true for the simple fact that a high level of effort can only be sustained for a short period of time. To exercise longer the intensity MUST be lowered.The specific mathematical formula for Exercise Intensity is that Intensity = Work divided by Time. If you think about this you will see that if the time becomes greater the intensity will be lower. If a lot of work is performed in a short period of time then the intensity is high. A simple example of this can be shown with the common exercise push-ups. Suppose you do 50 push-ups in about 2 minutes and on the 50th rep to have reached complete fatigue or muscle failure. At this point you cannot do another push-up. This would be a rather intense effort. On the other hand it you did just 15 push-ups, rested briefly, did 15 more and continued until you had completed four sets of 15 reps for a total of 60 push-ups, taking about a total of 6 minutes to complete. Here the intensity is much lower. The amount of work is higher (by 10 total push-ups, 50 vs. 60) but the time was three times as long (2 minutes to 6 minutes) and therefore the intensity was lower. In this example doing more sets and slightly more total reps did not use as many muscle fibers and did not stimulate the muscles too get much stronger. The all out effort of doing the 50 push-ups all at once would have been a much better workout. The bottom line with high intensity strength training is the quality of exercise is more important then quantity of exercise. Combining quality exercise with the correct amount of exercise and proper recovery will yield outstanding results.
High Intensity Strength Training Tips – Proper Form
Do your reps correctly!
Use Proper Exercise Form – Another way in which many people fail get the most from their strength training involves the actual form or technique of how they do each rep of their exercises. In virtually all weight training exercises such as using barbells, dumbbells, weight machines or body weight exercises (such as dips or chin-ups) it is extremely important to NOT allow momentum to help more the weight. This simply means move slowly and smoothly to eliminate the use of momentum. This is a fact determined by the laws of physics. The faster you move against resistance the more there is momentum that helps move the weight. On the other hand the slower you move, the more tension has to be generated by the muscles, which means more muscle fibers will be used and there is a greater potential for strength gains. Most people tend to move too quickly which is easier but you really should be trying to make your muscles work harder not easier.
It is actually human nature to use BAD form. Your body wants to make the physical task of moving the weight as easy as possible. But for the best training results you actually want to do the opposite. You want to make the exercise more difficult and make your muscle work hard. By moving at the correct speed you will make the exercise harder and more effective. Hard (high intensity) exercise is what it is all about when it comes to getting stronger and building muscle. More details on ways to greatly improve your workouts can be found in The Fitness Center Handbook.
Proper Movement Speed is Vital!
So at what speed should you move? One common recommendation for muscle and strength exercises is to use two seconds to lift, a brief pause and then four seconds to lower so that each rep is about six seconds in length. The 2 second, 4 second method is considered a standard way to train however most folks perform their reps much faster then this. This is an excellent way to train but some advanced training protocols require even slower movements. By paying strict attention to the speed of movement you will dramatically improve you results because you are making the exercise harder to perform. Always emphasize lowering the weight slowly as this eccentric muscle contraction phase is very important for stimulating muscle gain. The weight should never be dropped or lowered quickly as this means you are missing the opportunity to tense the muscle fully against the weight. This lower portion, often called the negative or eccentric contraction is very effective for building strength.
The Super Slow Training system, developed by Ken Hutchins in the 1980s, suggests taking ten seconds to lift the weight, a brief pause, then take ten seconds o lower the weight back down. Having a training partner to time you will really make you work hard. With Super Slow training the number of reps should be in the range of 4 to 8 reps as opposed to the usual 8 to 12. The amount of weight also has to be lowered. Super slow training is generally considered to be an advanced technique and can be very difficult. It is also a very effective and safe way to weight train.
One of the real keys to training with intensity is your mental attitude. It is going to be difficult and you need to accept that fact before your workouts ever begin. If are about to begin an exercise, lets say a set of dips, and you say to your self “I am going to do ten reps” then the chances are that you will do ten reps and no more. You have per-determined when you will finish. A much better approach is to say “I am going to do as many reps as I possible can” or use the idea that once the exercise is very difficult you will do three more reps, than attempt to keep performing reps. This is now you train to “failure” which is what really stimulates your muscle to get stronger.
Strength Training Intensity – Train to Muscle Failure!
Failure can lead to success!
Your muscles respond to the stress that is applied to them. This is an important concept to understand if you want to get the most from your strength training workouts. To fully stimulate a muscle group to get stronger you should exercise them until they are fully fatigued. This means to completely work the muscle on each exercise, you should be continue to the point of momentary muscle failure. This is the point where you can no longer perform another proper repetition. Do NOT sacrifice good form to do more reps but do continue the exercise until do a “failed” rep. This is a very hard part of training and requires much discipline. Your thinking should not be ‘I am going to do ten reps with this weight” but rather “I am going to perform as many good reps as I possibly can.” Thinking this way will help you work harder. Also remember that with high intensity exercise you do not need or want to do lots of sets or long workouts but you do need to work hard on all the exercise that you perform. Training to muscle failure is hard work but it does allowyou to get ‘maximum benefit in minimum time.”
Recovery from High Intensity Workouts
Proper Recovery Means Real Results
Allow for recovery – If you are training with a high intensity effort and using good form in each exercise then you still need to allow your body to recover fully between workouts. The real benefit from muscle strengthening exercise comes from allowing your muscle to rebuild, recover and grow stronger before your next workout. To maximize your recovery and avoid over-training be certain not do too many sets or exercises and space your workouts apart adequately. Proper nutrition, proper sleep and rest and adequate time is needed to allow your body to get full benefit from your training. The American College of Sports Medicine , a highly respected authority in the field of exercise science, has the following recommendations: Perform eight to ten strength training exercises, doing eight to twelve repetitions of each exercise and perform this workout twice a week. These are excellent guidelines which will allow you to exercise with high intensity effort and recover for your next muscle building strength workout.
A Video Tribute to Dave Mastorakis
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