When going into a workout, you can’t expect to do haphazard things and obtain optimal results. There needs to be an intelligent design to a workout to maximize your time spent. Your workout should progress in a certain order. For example, should you do cardio before or after weight training? Should you stretch before or after The workout? When do I use the pyramid technique? In these 5 components of fitness, I will answer all these questions and more with my workout recipe.
THE 5 COMPONENTS OF FITNESS
- 1. Warm up
Warming up before you do any physical exercise is important. You need to get blood flowing and “wake up” the muscles before you exert yourself to avoid injury. If you neglect this, the question is not if you will suffer an injury, but when.
Warming up any muscle group should involve pyramiding. This refers to gradually increasing your weights until you reach your working set weight. You can’t just take a squat and jump right into you 8 rep max with no priming. What you would do is start out with an easy set of 12-15 reps, the number of reps you would use for a pump workout, not working to failure. Just focus on using good form and attempting to pump blood into the muscles. The next set may be 10-12 reps. The third set may be 8-10. The fourth might be 5-8. Keep pyramiding until you get to the working set you had in mind. Different repetition schemes are preferable for different people and different goals. However, everyone needs to warm up in some way, and the pyramid technique is a great way to do it. You don’t need to pyramid on every exercise, just on the first exercise for a new muscle group.
For training legs, I would also recommend a jog on the treadmill to further help warm up. The legs seem to be easier to injure for most people, so an extra warm up doesn’t hurt. An easy 5 minute jog is plenty to loosen you up, increase core temperature, and gets the blood flowing.
- 2. Strength Training
If your workout is going to low rep strength training, let’s do it towards the beginning of the workout, but of course only after you are sufficiently warmed up. You can do this by pyramiding your very first set into low reps. Take that first exercise to 1-5 reps, and to failure and you will be engaged in strength training. It is best to do your strength training when you are fresh so you can lift the most weight.
- 3. Mass Training
After you have done your strength work, its time to get into the mid range reps for overall mass building. This is your 8-10 rep range. Do your next exercise or two in this range. This will be the primary stimulus for muscle fiber growth.
- 4. Pump
Towards the end of the training of a particular muscle group is a great time to do a pump workout with some higher reps. Try drop setting here or just a few sets of high reps like 12+. This is the time to fill the muscle with as much blood as possible to encourage expansion; after you have encouraged the muscle to grow with you mass training, give it room to grow by pumping it up. The purpose of this pump is to expand the muscle fascia. The fascia is a type of connective tissue that encases the muscle. Picture the thin lining on the outside of a sausage that holds it all in. If the fascia can be forced to expand, through pumping the hell out of the muscle and filling it up with blood and fluid, the muscle is then given more room to expand as it grows.
- 5. Stretch
After fully pumping the muscle, it’s a great time to stretch it. Following on the same principle just discussed, stretching can also help expand fascia. This is only really possible if the muscle is already pumped and full. Some intense stretching at this point can only help to loosen up the fascia even more. In addition, stretching will help keep you flexible and help prevent injuries.
- 6. Cardio
If you are going to do cardio, place it after your weight training is finished. Stretch the lower body after the cardio to loosen up.
Well, there you have the 5 components of fitness for a successful workout. Of course, this isn’t the only way to do things, just one very good tried and true way. If your workouts lack direction, try using this type of organization and you should start seeing results again. Good luck!
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