New Weight Lifting Technique

I have to admit – this is how I feel sometimes when I am lifting weights:

Muscle Confusion – the Key to Strength and Tone?

About 3 weeks ago, I met my workout partner at the gym on a Saturday morning and we ran through a new workout sequence that Michael called a “super set.”   This involved 50 repetitions of a variety of machine equipment exercises set at a medium weight.   We did leg presses, seated arm presses, seated tricep push downs, hamstring extensions and seated shoulder presses.

That afternoon, I was so exhausted, that I took a 3 hour nap.

Over the past 3 weeks, we have added this “super set” to our weekly routine – performing it twice a week and even adding additional exercises.  This morning (Saturday) we did a super set that included more exercises at higher weights than the one we did three weeks ago.

I have a normal post-workout burn but I am not fatigued like I was after that first set and I feel no worse after doing these super sets than I do with any other exercise routine.

I suspect that muscle confusion and muscle adaptation offers an explanation.  I do find it interesting that the fatigue associated with muscle confusion happened only after that first set.

I am thinking that I need to come up with different routines to re-create that muscle confusion, both for weight loss and for increased strength.

New Five Day Workout Plan

In our on-going effort to create an effective and interesting workout plan, workout partner Michael and I have arrived at the following:

Monday:

  • 15 minutes of work on the elliptical machine
  • medicine ball twist – 2x up and down length of basketball court
  • medicine ball squat – ball at small of back – 10 reps
  • boxing workout – five or six 1 minute “rounds” hitting hand pads or heavy bag
  • tricep pulldowns – 3 sets
  • BOSU balance workout – 3 sets
  • exercise bike warm down and protein drink

Tuesday:

  • 15 minutes of work on elliptical machine to warm up
  • medicine ball twist – 2x up and down length of basketball court
  • medicine ball squat – ball at small of back – 10 reps
  • boxing workout – five or six 1 minute “rounds” hitting hand pads or heavy bag
  • kettlebell exercises – swings, lifts, balance ball
  • exercise bike warm down and protein drink

Wednesday:

  • 15 minutes of work on elliptical machine to warm up
  • medicine ball twist – 2x up and down length of basketball court
  • medicine ball squat – ball at small of back – 10 reps
  • various stretching exercises
  • leg press exercises
  • exercise bike warm down and protein drink

Thursday:

  • 15 minutes of work on elliptical machine to warm up
  • medicine ball twist – 2x up and down length of basketball court
  • medicine ball squat – ball at small of back – 10 reps
  • boxing workout – five or six 1 minute “rounds” hitting hand pads or heavy bag
  • bench press exercises
  • exercise bike warm down and protein drink

Friday:

  • 15 minutes of work on elliptical machine to warm up
  • medicine ball twist – 2x up and down length of basketball court
  • medicine ball squat – ball at small of back – 10 reps
  • boxing workout – five or six 1 minute “rounds” hitting hand pads or heavy bag
  • tricep pulldown routine + leg work
  • exercise bike warm down and protein drink

Use a Decline Bench for Free Weight Exercises

There are many possible weight lifting exercises that you can do to improve your strength and increase your muscle tone.   As a rule, I prefer free weights over machine exercises because machines limit you to one plan of motion.  By contrast, free weights force you to use stabilizing muscles which tends to improve tone.

Further, there is a bit of  a fear factor with free weights  – you know that if you drop them you could embarass yourself, hurt yourself or your workout partner.  In my experience, you are much more attuned to your limits when you use free weights.

I find that I get a lot out of decline bench workouts.  A decline bench is like a regular weight bench except that the head of the bench sits at a 45 degree angle – in other words, your head and arms are inclined below your feet.  For me, this type of workout fits my body type and I feel that it puts less stress on my shoulder joints.

At some point, I will do my own video, but for now, here is an example of a decline bench exercise that is done effectively.  You can use a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells with a decline bench.

You can find other examples of decline bench exercises on YouTube although many of them feature blaring music and gym rats who are lifting 400 lbs.  You don’t need a lot of weight – lift what you can do comfortably and handle 10 to 15 reps for 3 sets before you move up in weight.

GoFit DTAC Gloves a Winner

If you work out with kettlebells, free weights, bar balls, dumbbells, pull down ropes or even medicine balls, you most likely use workout gloves.   Over the years I have tried many different brands, but I have been lucky to get more than 2 or 3 months from any that I have tried.

Bionic brand gloves give a very nice grip when they are new, but they are relatively thin and in my experience, break down a little too easily.

My new favorite are weightlifting gloves made by GoFit, called GoFit DTAC.

Go Fit weightlifting glovesI got these at Buy.com for about $22 (including shipping) and I have been using them for just over 2 months.  I am very impressed with both the grip and the durability.  I put a lot of stress on my gloves, using them for kettlebells, weight bench training, rope pulldowns and even pushups.  So far these are the best gloves I have every used.

The gloves come with an exercise CD that is fairly generic but if you are looking for durable, functional workout gloves, give the GoFit DTAC gloves a try.