VeeFitness

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Beach Bummed


Competitive bodybuilders usually train for symmetry and proportion in an effort to build an aesthetically pleasing physique. There are many individuals who go to the gym to build up their beach muscles, disregarding symmetry and proportion in designing their training programs. Instead of training opposing muscle groups equally, they sometimes ignore the muscles they cannot see (back, hamstrings, calves, quads) and focus on the muscles they admire in the mirror everyday (chest, biceps, shoulders and abs). Although training specific muscle groups more than others can create an unbalanced-looking physique, disregarding a muscle group over time can potentially lead to other problems that may subject the body to injury.

One common mistake with regard to balanced training is performing an unbalanced training program between the chest and back muscles. The amount of time, energy, effort, volume and frequency between the agonist chest muscles and the antagonists back muscles may not be equal, or even close. A simple example would be an athlete who performs 4 sets os four exercises for the chest (for a total number of 16 sets) and does only 3 sets of three exercises for the back (for a total number of 9 working sets). Following this unbalanced training regime over time will result in back muscles much weaker than the chest muscles. This imbalance may lead to a slightly kyphotic posture (forward/rounded shoulders) that can potentially cause shoulder problems because of the faulty posture. In addition to the stronger chest muscles (compared to the back muscles) pullong the shoulders forward, inadequate stretching of the chest musculature can further contribute to this problem.

For some people, training legs consists of quads and that is it. The disregard their hamstrings while training only the quadriceps. Exercises such as the leg extensions, hack squats and front squats place a large amount of emphasis on the quads. Although these exercises are great you need to do an equal amount of hamstring work with leg curls and romanian deadlifts to stress both muscle groups. Distributing attention evenly to both muscle groups can give you healthier knees and lower back, as well as fewer hamstring strains because of an unbalanced hamstring-to-quad strength ration.

A less obvious training error woth regard to balanced training concerns the shoulders. Overhead shoulder press, incline bench press, flat bench press and other chest and shoulder pressing movements are critical for maximal muscle development. However, these exercises focus on the major muscle groups such as the deltoids, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and other muscles known as prime movers. Often ignored in a training regime is the training or isolation of the smaller muscle groups in the shoulder known as the rotator cuff (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) that are critical in keeping the upper arm in the socket of the shoulder. Failure to train these smaller muscles groups, two of which are not even visible can create an imbalance between the large prime movers and small stabilisers. This lack of imbalance in strength may result in bursts of bursitis, tendinitis or even rotator cuff tears in the shoulder joint.


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The Basics


Don’t persist with exercises, routines or methods that do not help you. If your training has not yielded any progress over the last two months, it is unlikely top yield any progress over the next two months. Make changes!

Training failures are valuable learning experiences that can help you to succeed with subsequent efforts. What could you have done differently that would have improved the outcome? What did you learn that you can put to good use next time? If you approach your training failures and setbacks with a positive attitude, you will use them to increase your chance of success in the future.

Use your gym time wisely. Follow brief but hard training, use exercises suited to you, and strive to add a little more weight every week or two to each exercise. Use a balance programme that includes cardio and stretching. Even if you train well, if you don’t satisfy all the components of recuperation you will not be able to make much, if any progress.

It is amazing how many gym-goers and athletes are negligent with their nutrition and sleep. Everyday you must eat well and sleep well if you want to optimise your recuperation. Do not undermine your training by cutting corners of the gym.


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Proper Stretching


Including flexibility training (stretching) in your workouts is crucial to round out the training program. However, many athletes neglect to make the time for it. Research shows static stretching at the beginning of your workout may hold back physique performance. Static stretching has benefits, including improved flexibility and posture. However, this type of stretching is best done at the end of your workout during cool-down when your muscles warm and pliable. Begin training sessions by warming up with dynamic stretching. Active-range-of-movements that lengthen the fascia (connective tissue around the muscles) raise your core body temperature, and prepare your body for the exercises to come in the workout.


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