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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Avoid Overtraining

Overtraining is one of the most common terms in the training world. It is touted as the ultimate training evil and something to be avoided at all costs. But what exactly is overtraining and how can it be avoided? Is there even a danger of undertraining in an attempt stay away from this problem?

avoid overtraining

What is Overtraining?

Simply put, overtraining is chronic systemic fatigue from too much stress, principally from training. This seems fairly obvious. Too much training is bad for the body. However, drawing the line between too much and not enough can be somewhat delicate. Knowing the difference between a lack of motivation or laziness and a real overtraining situation is the key to continued progress.

Perhaps the most important element when considering tolerance to work, is that the body doesn't always differentiate between stress from training and that resulting from life. Doing a program when a single 20-year old with no job or financial worries is a far different proposition from doing the same routine at 35 with young children, relationship issues and a job that involves long hours. It is essential to take into account these external factors when designing a training program. That said, here are some of the signs of overtraining.
  • fatigue
  • mood swings
  • sleeping badly
  • decreased appetite
  • fat gain
  • lack of desire to train
  • depression
  • frequent injuries and minor illnesses
Of course, having one or more of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that a person is overtrained. However, they are warning signs that something might not be quite right.

Overtraining as an Excuse

Although a very real problem, overtraining is unfortunately used as an excuse not to train hard by many. Productive training should be hard work. Feeling tired after a hard squat session is not a symptom of overtraining. Overtraining is a chronic condition. This means that it is the result of cumulative bouts of exercise. For most people, it is simply a question of building tolerance to exercise.

It is highly unlikely that somebody doing three to five hours a week of exercise is overtrained. Jumping straight into this amount of work might be a problem, but working up to five, six, eight or even 10 hours of work a week is well within the grasp of most people, as long as it is part of an intelligently planned program. Before claiming overtraining, it is worth considering that work capacity might simply be too low.

How to Prevent Overtraining

The ideal situation then, is to train hard without ever crossing into the territory of overtraining. There are several ways to ensure that this is the case. The fist thing any trainer needs to learn to do, is to know himself. If he or she feels run down, it isn't necessarily problematic. Energy levels vary considerably over the course of a week or even on a daily basis. However, a continued downward trend is a warning signal. Likewise, a training diary is a useful self-assessment tool.

For an intermediate or advanced trainee, it is impossible to break a record every session. However, tracking performance over time will show whether the trend is globally up or down and if there has been a sudden downturn for example. Decreasing performance over four to five consecutive workouts is definitely a sign of problems.

When these symptoms are noticed, it is essential to back off both in the gym and out of it. Obviously, taking a week or two off training is fairly straightforward. However, it is out of the gym that the biggest difference can be made. Is diet up to par? Eating quality food regularly is essential. Is sleep sufficient? It has been said that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after, and sticking to this will certainly improve recovery.

Deloading to Prevent Overtraining

Perhaps the easiest way to stay on the right side of overtraining is by cycling intensity. A common method here is to use a deloading week. The frequency of this deload is personal, but every 4-8 weeks is about right for most people. A 4 week training block might look like this for example.
  1. Week 1: 90 percent
  2. Week 2: 97.5 percent
  3. Week 3: 102.5 percent (new personal bests)
  4. Week 4: 60 percent (delaod week)
Obviously, the exact percentages are only a guideline. It is also perfectly possible to increase volume over four to six weeks and then cut it in half for a deload week before starting again. Using any sensible periodisation model should allow a trainer to push his limits and improve regularly without overtraining.

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Ultimate 30's Workout

Increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone your body produces by working multiple muscle groups and keeping rest periods short. For cardio, your lactate threshold can still be increased throughout your thirties, so intervals are king to counter any loss of lung power.

Ultimate 40's Workout

Short, sharp shocks are the way to fire up your body in your middle years - which means you can forget long-winded weights workouts. Vary exercises, intensity and timings to keep your muscles guessing.

Ultimate 50's Workout

You may not be able to lift the heaviest weight, but that's okay. Instead, stretching and yoga should be part of your training, and body-weight moves can replace heavy workouts. Do three sets of 10 reps of the following exercises to protect your joints and maintain muscle mass and testosterone.