One of the most common concerns I hear from young women started in the gym is; “I want train BUT I don’t know what I should be doing”
Which is usually followed by “So I just stand on the treadmill for an hour” and “the weight section is too scary”
I get it.
The glaring mirrors, the machines you don’t know how to use, the scary guys grunting doing bicep curls, the teenage boys training in packs…
It can all be a bit much for a newbie.
Then not to mention the overwhelming amount of gym-fluencers telling you what you should or shouldn’t be doing at the gym
It all becomes too confusing and stressful when you thought training was meant be fun and exciting
Which it 100% can be
For you to start gaining some of the amazing things you can get out of training; feeling stronger, fitter leaner and more confident
Let’s address the first issue I mentioned earlier
The way I have found is extremely effective for gaining strength, lean muscle mass and getting the most ‘bang for your buck’ is focusing on compound movements, using a mix of free weights, body weight and machines in your session and understanding the concept of progressive overload.
By the way, if you just want to know exactly what to do, I’ve got a FREE 4 week program done for you that you can check out below.
Compound Movements are essential in strength training, muscle building, and overall fitness because they offer several advantages that make them more effective than isolation exercises.
- Engage Multiple Muscle Groups: Compound movements involve multiple joints and muscle groups working together in a coordinated manner. This engages more muscles simultaneously, allowing you to lift heavier weights and stimulate greater muscle growth.
- Efficiency: With compound exercises, you can work several muscle groups in one movement, saving time in your workouts. This efficiency is especially valuable for those with busy schedules.
- Functional Strength: Compound movements mimic real-life activities, improving your functional strength. This means you’ll be better equipped to perform everyday tasks and sports activities with ease.
- Hormonal Response: Compound exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, trigger a more significant hormonal response, including the release of testosterone and growth hormone. These hormones play a crucial role in muscle growth and strength development.
- Calorie Burn: Because compound movements involve more muscle mass, they require more energy, leading to increased calorie expenditure during and after your workouts. This can be beneficial for weight management and overall fitness.
- Core Activation: Many compound exercises require core stability, leading to a stronger and more stable core. A strong core is essential for maintaining good posture and reducing the risk of injury.
- Improved Coordination and Balance: Compound movements often demand better coordination and balance since they involve multiple muscle groups and joints. This can help enhance overall fitness and athleticism
Examples of compound movements include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups, and rows.
Using Free Weights, Bodyweights & Machines
Using a variety of equipment and exercises in your training can be beneficial for gaining strength, improving fitness, and building muscle.
- Functional Versatility: Free weights, bodyweight exercises, and machines each have their unique benefits. Free weights, like dumbbells and barbells, engage stabilizer muscles and mimic natural movements, promoting functional strength. Bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups and pull-ups, improve relative strength and mobility. Machines provide stability and isolation for specific muscle groups, allowing you to target them more directly. Combining all three methods ensures that you develop a well-rounded, functional strength that can be applied to various activities.
- Muscle Diversity: Different exercises target muscles from various angles and with varying degrees of resistance. A mix of training methods helps you work all the major muscle groups in different ways, promoting muscle balance and preventing overuse injuries.
- Progressive Overload: Mixing free weights, bodyweight, and machines allows you to continuously apply the principle of progressive overload. You can increase the challenge by adding weight to free weight exercises, adjusting leverages in bodyweight exercises, and increasing resistance on machines.
- Safety and Control: Machines can be particularly useful for beginners or individuals recovering from injuries. They provide a controlled environment, reducing the risk of injury. Bodyweight exercises are generally safe and can be adapted to your fitness level, while free weights require proper form and may carry a higher risk if not used correctly.
- Variety and Motivation: Incorporating a variety of exercises keeps your workouts interesting and prevents boredom. It can also help you stay motivated as you work towards your fitness goals.
- Customisation: Using a mix of equipment allows you to tailor your training program to your specific goals and preferences. You can choose exercises that match your strengths and address your weaknesses
- Adaptability: You can use a mix of equipment based on your available resources. For instance, if you don’t have access to a gym with machines, you can still achieve your fitness goals with free weights and bodyweight exercises.
To maximize the benefits of this approach, it’s essential to have a well-rounded training program that incorporates a variety of exercises, including compound movements and isolation exercises, to target all muscle groups.
Progressive Overload is a fundamental principle in strength training and fitness that involves gradually increasing the demands placed on your muscles over time. This progression is essential for continued growth, improved performance, and achieving fitness goals. The idea is that as your body adapts to a certain level of stress, you need to continually increase that stress to see further gains.
Here’s a simple explanation of progressive overload and how to achieve it:
- Increase Weight: One of the most common ways to achieve progressive overload is by lifting heavier weights. When you can easily complete your current set and rep scheme with proper form, it’s time to add more weight. This challenges your muscles to adapt to the increased load.
- Add Repetitions: Another way to progressively overload is by increasing the number of repetitions (reps) you perform with a given weight. For example, if you’re lifting a certain weight for 8 reps, aim to perform 10 or more reps with the same weight as your strength improves.
- Raise Sets: Increasing the number of sets you perform in a workout can also apply progressive overload. If you were doing 3 sets of an exercise, try doing 4 or more sets to increase the total workload on your muscles.
- Adjust Exercise Variations: You can make exercises more challenging by using different variations or modifications. For example, switching from regular push-ups to decline push-ups or from bodyweight squats to pistol squats can add complexity and increase the demand on your muscles.
- Decrease Rest Time: Reducing the rest periods between sets can increase the intensity of your workouts, challenging your muscles more within the same time frame
- Increase Frequency: Adding more workout sessions to your weekly routine can help you progressively overload your muscles. However, be sure to allow enough time for recovery between workouts to prevent overtraining.
- Use Proper Form: Maintaining good form during your exercises is crucial to ensure safety and effectiveness. Focus on perfecting your form before increasing the intensity.
- Track Your Progress: Keeping a workout journal or using a fitness app can help you monitor your progress and ensure you are consistently pushing your limits.
Remember that progressive overload should be implemented gradually. Don’t rush to lift the heaviest weight or do the most reps right away. Listen to your body, avoid overtraining, and allow for adequate recovery to prevent injuries. With consistent application of progressive overload, you’ll continue to see improvements in strength, muscle size, and overall fitness.
Now I know that was a lot of information to take in
So to keep it simple for you I’ve designed a 4 Week Strength Program which you an flick in your details below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox..
It uses all these key concepts outline earlier and it lays it all out for you with options for progression or regressions based on your experience level
Take a minute to read over it and if you have any questions at all, email me at [email protected] because I’d love to help you in anyway I can.
Get My FREE 4 Week Program
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