Best Smart Watches
Whether you're new to muscle-building movements or just want to get back into training, the repetition-set-rest strength training format may catch you off guard. You probably know the importance of repetition -- the number of times you do an exercise -- and the number of sets -- but rest? This may not have been your plan. But you should.
Putting pressure on yourself and sitting idly between sets, or worse, texting or talking on the phone while walking, is not the best solution. In fact, studies show that the latter can seriously impair your balance and stability, and may put you at risk for falls and injuries.
Instead of using your down time as an excuse to relax or chat with friends, use it to improve your health.
1.STRETCH IT OUT
'Stretching for 15 to 30 seconds between sets can lengthen tight muscles, increase range of motion and improve fiber recruitment during weightlifting,' says fitness class designer Adrian Richardson. Here are some stretches you can try, sorted by different parts of your body:
Towel triceps stretch
Target muscles: chest and triceps
1.Grab a workout towel with one hand and raise your arms straight into the air.
2.Bend your elbows so the towel hangs behind your body.
3.Put your other hand behind your back and grab the other end of the towel.
4.Use your forearms to pull down the towel until you feel the stretch. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
5.Switch arms and repeat.
Fixed-Bar Lat Stretch
1.Facing a waist-high retaining pole or shelf, hold the pole firmly with both hands, shoulder width apart.
2.Bend your knees, hips back and down. You should feel a stretch in your upper back.
3.Wait. Repeat on the other side.
Pear-shaped muscles stretch
1.Hold a fixed barbell (about waist height) with both hands for support.
2.Slowly bend your knees and hips slightly forward.
3.Cross your left foot over your right thigh and sit deeper until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.
4.Switch legs. Repeat.
2. Track your progress
Weights used, reps, sets completed, etc., allow you to monitor your progress and progress (great for those days when you need motivation).
3. Check your heart rate
Knowing your heart rate per minute gives you data on your effort levels and cardiovascular status. "Hard work is more than just being out of breath," Richardson says. "If you train correctly, your heart rate should come back down to the same level during the break. For example, if your heart rate varies from 95 BPM to 60 BPM during the first break between each group, then the heart rate of each group should remain within this range. Recording heart rates between groups can help you decide when to retreat or increase strength, reducing the likelihood of overtraining."
Whether you're practicing an extended squat position or keeping your back straight during deadlifts, take some time during the break to fine-tune your training. According to a Johns Hopkins university study, people who made minor changes to their routine -- such as switching from barbells to dumbbells -- learned skills twice as quickly as those who kept their subsequent exercises exactly the same.
5. Complement with supersets
Are you ready for the challenge? Consider integrating supersets into your daily work. A superset is when one set of exercises is performed directly after another, with no breaks in between. By reducing the rest time, super-training can increase heart rate in less time -- increasing the overall intensity of your workout and burning more calories in less time. And, because you'll get your workout done faster, you'll have more time to get your day done (and fewer excuses to skip the gym).
6. Actively recover
According to a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences, people who do active recovery between high-intensity runs produce lactic acid faster than those who do passive recovery. There's some evidence that the more intense your active recovery, the faster your lactic acid will be cleared. Why is this important? While lactic acid is no longer seen as the culprit of muscle fatigue, the rise and fall in lactic acid levels appear to coincide with related body characteristics. Richardson's tip: Instead of just sitting there and waiting, do some light riding on a stationary bike to keep your muscles warm and flexible.