Summer in sunny tropical Florida is about to turn into autumn. Sure, that means a hurricane scare or two, and maybe a little less humidity, but all in all, we still have several more months of sun and fun in store for us. If your summer workout routine has been less than sizzling, then let’s take advantage of the brand new season ahead to put some growl back into your workouts.
I have a fantastic little formula to stoke up anyone’s workout and it’s called the Five “R’s”. When you are in the gym pay attention to each of these five elements and your time there will pay off 5, 10, 20 fold! Whether you are a beginner or a pro you are sure to benefit from following these principles.
The first “R” stands for range of motion. When I speak of range of motion, I mean the complete movement capability of a joint. Every exercise from a bicep curl, lunge or crunch should be performed through the muscle’s complete range of motion from a fully stretched position to a fully contracted position. For example, during a bicep dumbbell curl, begin with your arms at your sides, then curl each dumbbell to your chin by fully flexing your elbow, contract your biceps with all your might and supinate your forearm. Pause at the top of the motion for a fraction of a second and squeeze your bicep before you slowly lower the weight back to starting position.
The second “R” stands for resistance (or, the weight that is moved). Resistance must be small enough that the exercise can be performed through the full range of motion without cheating, swinging or jerking the weight. Yet, resistance must be such that it taxes the muscles for the desired number of reps. Your 1 rep max is the most weight that you can safely raise for one rep. A rule of thumb is to keep within 55% – 85% of your 1 rep max when doing your reps and sets.
The third “R” stands for repetitions. When choosing the number of repetitions (how many times the exercise is to be done in a set), you must first decide what you want from your workouts. Generally, low reps (3-8) with heavier weights, will produce greater strength. Medium reps (10-20) with moderate to heavy weight are best for producing size. High reps (20 or more) with lighter weights are best for tightening, toning and producing aerobic strength endurance.
The fourth “R” stands for rest. A working muscle needs about 1-3 minutes rest between each set of reps before it is ready to function near full strength capacity again for the next set of reps. This period of time gives your body time to replenish ATP and phosphocreatine, the two chemicals your muscles need for every contraction. Between sets, don’t just sit there, get up, walk around, stretch and re-hydrate yourself.
Finally, the last and fifth “R” stands for recovery. Recovery is crucial for muscle growth and rebuilding. Muscles fibers cannot grow unless you allow them to rest between workouts.
As a rule, you should not exercise the same muscle group two days in a row, and usually not more than 3 times a week. Allow 48-72 hours of rest between workouts for each muscle group. For example, if you work chest on Monday, don’t work it again until Thursday. Allow yourself at least one day of rest per week, otherwise your body will become over trained or injured.
Need more sound advice on working out? Contact email@example.com!
Tom Bonanti is a certified personal trainer and owner of Pump’n Inc Gym at
1271 NE 9th Ave, Fort Lauderdale. For more tips on how to maintain your muscular,
toned summer body, give me a shout at TrainerTomB@aol.com