12 Week Personal Training Program – Functional Resistance Training

Moving on to the intermediate level of resistance and the exercises begin to get a little more challenging for your core, proprioception, balance and stability. This is intentional, not only does it fire up your nervous system but it also helps carry over the benefits into our daily lives.

Week 7: Resistance Intermediate (Strength & Stability)

It's time to get functional

We all have goals that we are aiming to achieve when we embark on an exercise program, for most of us it is the losing weight and looking good that is most important. However, very little thought is usually taken over exactly how our exercises will transfer over into daily life. How many times have you attended a gym or health club and been show how to use all the machines, then had a program designed by a, so called, fitness professional that has you moving from one machine to the next. In our daily life, do we sit down and perform these unusual movements? No, we stand and bend and twist as we balance our way through daily life. Our exercise programs must be based on function, not only because the movements are more natural but because they are far more successful at achieving your overall goals in the first place.

Functional exercise is by far the most productive form of exercise prescription whether it be for daily living, sports specific like golf, or for rehabilitation after injury. If you want help or advice on a functional exercise program to suit you then you can contact me directly but for a few basic rules on whether a routine is functional or not you can ask yourself the following questions:

1) Does the movement follow a natural path or is it forced? Most machines have fixed hand positions that do not mimic our natural range of movement and can be bad for our joints.

2) Is it isolated (sacrifice function) or integrated (cause chain reaction through body)? Movements should be compound (Multi-joint). They burn more calories, are more natural and require more stability. If you think about any daily activity it never involves just one muscle, muscles have no functional individuality so why train them this way?

3) Are you challenging your balance and stabilization like you do in daily life? We rarely spend time symmetrically on both feet, whether walking, running, bending, reaching etc. We are always transferring weight from one side of our body to the other.

4) Are you exercising 3-dimensional, are we moving in all 3 planes of movement, Sagittal (forward facing), frontal (to the side), transverse (twisting). We live in a 3D world, so we must train that way.

The following exercises show a good progress from week 3's basic resistance program into functional training. Most of the exercises demonstrate a good functional movement for improving daily life activities. If training for a particular goal or sport like golf or tennis then the introduction of equipment may be necessary eg. Stability balls, medicine balls, bands etc. But for basic function these exercises are a good starting point. Perform each exercise 10-20 times depending on ability and try to improve each workout. Complete this resistance program 3 times a week with a gentle 5 min walk before and afterwards, complete the stretching routine after that. Allow a days rest in between to recover.

A Cautionary Note

No exercise program should be painful, there is a difference between being tired and in pain. If you feel pain at any time then stop and consult a doctor. Pain indications either incorrect technique or a medical problem. If you have any doubts about your current state of health then consult a medical professional before embarking on any fitness program.

Summary

Weeks 1-2 (3 x week)

5 Min Walk Warm up

2 x Complete circuits 10-20 x per exercise

5 Min Walk Cool Down

Stretching routine particularly those tight muscles.

Weeks 3-4 (3 x week)

As above but 3 x complete circuits 10-20 x per exercise

Next week: Nutrition

1 Leg Balance and reach

Great exercise to fire up the nervous system, improve balance, stability, flexibility and the core.

A) Stand tall on one leg arms above and shoulder width apart

B) Reach over to the side keeping your back straight as far as your flexibility will allow, if your balance fails try again but do not reach as far over.

C) Also try reaching forward, overhead and twisting to reach behind.

D) Swap legs, if one is weaker then spend more time on that side.

1 Leg Squat and Reach

This is a natural progression from the regular squat from week 3. It's very functional as we spend time bending and picking things up off the ground. It also challenges balance, core stability and works the quads and glutes intensely.

A) Standing on one leg gently lower yourself down, breathing in deeply and chest high, ensuring you keep your heel in contact with the floor. Try to get your thigh down to horizontal before reaching forwarding to touch the floor in front. Maintain a balanced pelvis throughout.

B) Exhale and push up using your leg.

C) This exercise takes time to perfect and I like to use an object to pick up and put down again for focus.

D) Try touching down in various areas in front to improve functionality.

Isometric prone up and down

This is a functional progress from week 3's position position. It's dynamic and improvements shoulder strength as well as overall core stability.

A) Lie face down on the ground. Place elbows and forearms underneath your chest.

B) Prop yourself up to form a bridge, using your toes and forearms; Make sure your shoulders are directly over your elbows.

C) Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground.

D) Now one hand at a time push up into a press up position, hold for a few seconds and return back to the original position. Photo shows transitional stage from elbows up to hands.

E) If you find this too difficult then try it off your knees.

Multi Directional Lunge

The lunge strengthens the legs, glutes, and improves balance and flexibility and sculpts the lower body. By making the lunge multi directional it mimics our daily movements.

A) Stand with your feet together with hand by your sides.

B) Take a step forward, inhaling on the way, descend slowly by bending at the hips, knee and ankle. Keep your lead foot flat on the floor.

C) Exhale and push back using the lead leg, returning to the start position.

D) Now repeat to the side at various angles and also behind by stepping backwards.

E) Keep torso upright, as ruling forward can cause injury.

Bridge one legged

Stimulates the glutes (bum), tightens up the backs of the legs and strengths the pelvic floor.

A) Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight out inline with the other thigh, heel in contact with the ground. Rest your arms by your side, palms downwards. Take a deep breath.

B) Exhale slowly, lifting your hips off the floor, squeezing your glutes until there's a straight line between shoulders, hips and knees. Do not force hips up further as it causes the back muscles to overwork.

C) Hold at the top of the movement for a second, squeezing the glutes tight, then lower the pelvis back towards the floor, inhaling on the way, not letting your backside touch the ground, then repeat.

D) Keep the one leg extended through the exercise and change legs half way through eg. 5 one leg and change.

Quadruped one arm one leg

Great for coordination, balance and transverse (twisting) core stability.

A) Begin on all fours, in neutral spine, with abdomen drawn in and chin tucked

B) Slowly raise one arm (thumb up) and the opposite leg, toe pointed away (triple extension).

C) Keep both arm and leg straight while lifting to body height.

D) Hold and return both arm and leg slowly to the ground, maintaining optimal alignment and repeat alternating sides

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Properly Executing Strength Training Exercises Part 2

In this section we will cover how to determine the proper number of sets and repetitions to meet your individual goals. For those who want a better understanding of the program you currently follow, or want to design your own workout schedule, these are important variables that can greatly influence the results you see.

First off, let's be clear on what these two terms mean. A set is defined as an entire strength training exercise reflecting from when you begin the move to when you complete it. Using the simple bench press as an example, the set begins when you take the weight off the rack, continues through all the times you lower and raise the bar, and primarily ends when you place the weight back on the rack. Most workout schedules will have you perform exercises for more than one set.

A repetition takes place within each set. They are the individual efforts that you usually repeat more than once before resting again. Using the bench press, one repetition is completed when you completely lower the bar, and then raise it back to the top. Rarely, if ever, you will complete just one repetition in a set.

Varying the number of sets and repetitions can produce drastically different physical changes over time. If you know what you want to accomplish, then you need to know the right amount of sets and reps to match your needs.

Choosing the number of repetitions

As we mentioned in Part 1, it is important that you know how to choose the right weights, regardless of the number of repetitions you perform. We will not get into that again here, but anything we mention here is dependent on picking weights that are not too heavy or too light. Our goal in this section is to give you guidelines on what you can expect to achieve for each repetition range. Strength training can help you build muscle, get a great cardiovascular workout, and of course, make you stronger.

Very high repetitions, like 15 or more per set, works very well as a cardio workout to help burn calories and strengthen your heart. You will need to take very little rest between sets, and should be careful here not to go too heavy, but for this specific goal a 15+ repetition range is very effective. Do not expect to get significantly stronger or muscular, though. If you are really hardcore and do 50-100 + repetitions on each set, though, you will help to strengthen the tendons and ligaments that hold your joints together.

Choosing a 10-15 repetition range starts to work toward gaining some strength and muscle, but not too much. Personally I think it is a good range for beginner athletes to work with, because the weights will not be overwhelming and they get a lot of practice perfecting their technique. This is also about the range anyone under the age of 15 should use when they are dealing with free weights, although they should not be spending a lot of time with them at that age.

The 6-10 repetition range is a good transition zone for 15-16 year olds, and for those who want a little more strength and / or muscle development than they'd get from the 10+ range. Most athletic-based programs use repetitions in this range, but I would suggest that it is not the best choice. It is a certain safe choice in that you will not go too heavy, but you will see some strength gains. In my opinion, there is a better choice.

I believe that anyone really interested in building strength, power, or muscle mass should be primarily working in the 4-5 repetition zone. If you are over 16, follow the guidelines given in Part 1, and have good technique, training this heavy is as safe as anything else you'll do in a workout program. It allows you to consistently train with heavier weights, which in turn will build your strength and maximize your power potential. And, depending on the number of sets you elect to perform, it can quickly build muscle, as well.

Anything done for 3 repetitions or less works pretty close to your limits, and should be done sparingly. It will build strength and power, but will not do much for gaining muscle unless you do a very high number of sets. Elite power lifters may work in this range fairly regularly, but for 99% of us you can make great progress with the 4-5 rep plan.

No matter which range you feel is best for you, proper technique is always your first priority. And for those choosing weights of 10 repetitions or less, it is always a good idea to have a spotter watching you in case you misjudged what weight you should have used.

Choosing the number of sets

Regardless of the number of repetitions you perform per set, you can choose to do one, two, or any number of sets for a particular exercise. The amount of sets you complete has to do with one critical variable: volume. Volume involves the total amount of weight you lift within a workout. If you multiply the weight used times the number of repetitions per set, and multiply that by the number of sets, it will give you the total volume of weight you lifted.

Why is this so critical? Because the higher your volume, the greater your chance of building muscle. The lower the volume, the less chance you have of adding bulk.

Some athletes need extra mass to perform better for their sport, but others would have been adversely affected. Luckily, this critical factor can easily be controlled.

If you want to gain muscle, do more sets of each exercise. Three to five sets is usually about right, but occasionally you can go even higher. Anything more than 6 sets of a heavy weight exercise (using the 4-5 rep range we recommend) and you may not be able to sustain that volume for long without getting hurt. Tendonitis is the most likely problem you will face.

Unfortunately, there is a definite downside to performing more sets, especially when using heavier weights. The added volume can be incredibly taxing on your body over the long term, and will make it difficult to work on other aspects of your training. I would recommend setting aside a specific time of year to focus almost solely on mass training, if it is even necessary for you, and save other goals for another time.

If you need to get stronger and more powerful, but want to avoid getting bigger or need your energy for other goals, then go with one or two sets per exercise. Two schedules that work well here are to do one set per exercise five days per week, or two sets per exercise three days a week. Both keep the volume relatively low, but the heavy weights will help you adapt to what you need. Keeping the number of sets down will allow you to put more of your energy towards other goals, allowing you to build two or more skills at the same time.

That is our general guide for how to determine the correct number of sets and repetitions you need to meet your goals. This is obviously a more detailed topic than we covered here, but hopefully it is a good starting point for you. In our final article in this series we will cover how to determine the right rest times in between sets, and give you some important reasons why you should always use proper technique in your training.

Intelligent Ways Of Investing

Let's say you've got your hands on a pretty large sum of money. The first thing you bought to do is handle any withstanding debt that you may have; Then, you should establish a sum of money that you need for immediate expenses and small extravaganzas. As for the amount you have left, it's best to invest it in order to start producing revenue for the years to come.

One of the best investment opportunities in the world is gold. This precious metal has a consistently high value and is considered to be an actual hedge against inflation and other similar processes, so it's rather safe to buy even in these times of financial uncertainty. You can purchase it in whatever shape suits you best, whether it's bullion, stocks or derivatives. However, keep in mind that the first two are longer long-term oriented, while the last one can bring you quick profits, but is pretty risky at the same time. Just make sure you have the appropriate storage means, so that you will not be exposed to the risk of being robbed.

Another good idea would be to acquire stocks or shares in a company. If the firm obtains profits, your investment will increase in value; Contradarily, if it goes bankrupt, your shares will also plummet to the ground. This is why it's very important that you first take some time and analyze the current situation of the company in which you're about to invest. Make sure you take a look at its policies towards investors, as well as any other matters that may be of interest to you. This way, there will not be any unpleasant surprises for you down the way.

If gold and stocks are not exactly your thing, there's always the alternative of buying real estate. This kind of purchase can be quite expensive, so it's not something to do on a whim. Still, some people say it worth the trouble, since it can bring you a much larger amount of income in the following years, especially if you decide to rent it or re-sell the property when prices have gone up.

Finally, be aware that most experts agree it's best to create a diversified portfolio of investments. Use part of your money for larger purchases, such as real estate, another part for stocks and shares, and the rest for commodities. This way, you will be "covered" no matter what happens to a particular market or to the economy itself.

How To Save Money With Shopping Bots, Assistants, Add-Ons

Do you frequently shop online? If yes, you might be aware about how overwhelming it can be to select your favourite product at the lowest price. Most of the times it is almost impossible to keep up through diverse online deals, coupons, and promotions available all over the Web. What adds up to the difficulty is the price comparison among the numerous online retailers out there! Well, in today’s busy schedule doing this hectic research is truly time-consuming. So, how about purchasing products in a smart and an intelligent way?

Shopping tools like the shopping bots, the online associate or Add-ons do all of the work for you.

India’s online trading market, according to rough estimates, is 60-70 million strong, and is expected to go up to 100 million in the next few years. Around 10 million people use price comparison websites each year because they’re quick, convenient and save us a lot of time buying products around.

What Are Actually These Bots & Add-Ons?

Shopping bots, short for “shopping robots,” is an online price comparison software tool that searches for relevant goods from a variety of stores online. It automatically locates the most affordable rates for customers. Generally, these add-ons rank items by price. They let buyers link directly to the website of an online merchant site to actually buy the product.

They also help to find the most excellent online deals for a product, including films, household items, smartphones, books, video games, etc. Using shopping bots, a purchaser can instantly get quotes from multiple retailers for the same merchandise without spending hours on particular shopping site. You may simply call these add-ons as your “online shopping assistants”.

Benefits of Online Assistants and Shopping Bots!

The popularity of price comparison websites/ shopping bots/add-ons isn’t just a trend. It’s now fast becoming a way of life for people to shop. Comparison websites helps the buyers to procure huge benefits whenever they make purchases online. They aid in viewing the latest prices offered by various e-retailers along with discounts or money-saving deals. In addition to price comparison, customers can easily access online coupons, discounts across all the e-retailers that offer the product they wish to buy.

In a nut shell, price comparison add-ons are just like pieces of good fortune for shopaholics. These add-ons works like an online shopping assistant by offering hassle free shopping. They simply fetching all the discounts and offers from top e-commerce sites under a single page! Users can evaluate prices online & get the modest price on the go right from the comfort of their browser. So, isn’t that easy. You save money and time without any annoyance!

Conclusion

Whether you’re using Amazon, eBay, Flipkart or any other site – shopping bots make sure you never spend more than you have to. These add-ons will help you shop smarter and help to purchase products when they are at their absolute lowest prices. So, why not take assistance from these bots or install your favourite add-on & Shop like Never Before!!