Static Stretching When & Why.
Static Stretching is used to stretch a muscle while the body is at rest. It is comprised of various techniques that gradually lengthen the muscle to an elongated position (to the point of discomfort) and holding that position for 30+ seconds.
Statically stretching a muscle before training has been shown to interfere with performance and augments the joint and can promote instability in the joint making the person more susceptible to injury.
However stretching after a training session as part of a cool down to help improve flexibility can lengthen a tightened muscle. It can also help relive stress and tension.
Static Stretching should be done NOT BEFORE a training session but AFTER!
For your warm up I would start with Dynamic Stretching, stay tuned blog post to following on Dynamic Stretching.
What Load Should You Be Training At?
The load you should be working at for your lifts is very dependent upon your goals.
If your looking to build Power, Strength, gain some Muscle (hypertropy) or build Muscular Endurance they all require a certain load range based off your 1 Rep Max or Estimated 1 Rep Max. I will go though how do a 1 Rep Max test at a later date.
Below I have outlined the basics for Power, Strength, Hypertrophy and Muscular Endurance.
Note there are other considerations you must take into account when training such as training frequency and number of exercises in a session to maximise your progress.
If you are interested in a goal specific training programme get in contact am happy to help.
Exercise Order & Why its Important.
Although it is fairly obvious if you have training experience, studies that analyse the effects of exercise order on training performance show that volume (total reps performed) is greater when an exercise is placed at the beginning of a training session.
Since compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups and provide the greatest overload, they should generally be prioritised over isolation exercises and performed at the beginning of your training session to get the best results.
- Exercise 1 - Back Squats (Compound)
- Exercise 2 - Barbell Hip Bridges (Compound)
- Exercise 3 - Leg Extensions (Isolation)
- Exercise 4 - Leg Curls (Isolation)
That said, if you consider an isolation exercise important for meeting your individual training needs (like bringing up a lagging body part), performing this exercise before your compound lifts can be useful.
If your interested in progressive full body training programme designed for you get in contact I do online training packages.
Many people think that if they are not sore after your workout its not been a good session and you are not effectively stimulating your muscles for growth. However how sore you are is not a good indicator of how effective your training is for muscle growth. (Have a look at this study if your interested).
Although muscle soreness may make you feel like you just had the best workout ever, it actually isn't a good indicator of how effective your training was for muscle growth or strength gain.
Muscle soreness usually occurs when you perform exercises you are not familiar with or are familiar with and have done some eccentric training.
The more often you perform a certain type of exercise, the less muscle damage and soreness it causes over time. This is known as the "Repeated Bout Effect" and it explains why you become less sore when you train consistently.
So, if you are making progress in the gym, you don't have to train for constantly sore muscles. In fact, being super sore all the time can inhibit you from pushing hard in the gym by increasing recovery demands and impairing performance. (See study here).
How To Do A Pull-Up - (STRICT)
I regularly get asked how to get that first pull up. Like "Four Stages To A Perfect Push Up" here is a progression model I use for getting that first pull up.
It's important to note that this progression model will work best for those who are at an average body weight and lack pulling strength to properly execute a pull-up. If someone is overweight, simply losing excess fat in combination with vertical pull training should be the main focus to start with.
Stage 1: Pulling Strength!
The goal here is to increase vertical pull strength. Once you're able to lat pull-down close to your own body weight for more than 5 reps, progress to phase 2. See "Strength Training - The Basics" for guidelines on how to build strength. These guidelines should be applied to all stages.
Stage 2: Strength, Skill and Range of Motion (Assisted)
Here he focus is on practising your pull-up skill through assisted pull-ups. Once you can comfortably go through the range of motion and need little assistance, progress to the next stage. You can use resistance bands or if you have access a Machine Assisted Pull-Up, this bit of kit is great at this stage but not many gyms have them.
Stage 3: Negative Pull-ups
Work on the negative (eccentric) pull-up, we turn things up a notch and let you practice pulling your own body weight. Once you can do several eccentric Pull-ups in a very smooth and controlled manner (controlling your body weight), it's time to start smashing out some pull-ups.
Stage 4: Pull-Up Progressions
Once you can pull yourself up for 8+ reps per set with perfect form, it's time to progress, consider adding weight!