Strength And Conditioning Workouts For A Lean Strong Body
Strength and conditioning workouts are always in the forefront of a man’s fitness desires. If you enter any gym, you’ll see people lined up near the weight bench trying to push out every last pound they can to show off their strength. Much of this exercise is all about technique, but there are ways to adapt your upper body workout to see massive results.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the gym or a seasoned veteran, knowing the facts about strength and conditioning will allow you to see optimal results – results you never thought you would be able to achieve.
Time Under Tension
Often abbreviated as TUT, time under tension is the actual stimulus put on the muscle during an exercise. This should be something that everyone does to maximize their gains, but the concept is often neglected with the 1 second up and 1 second down rule that people follow.
Let’s take a look at your normal workout routine. If you have an upper body workout plan you’re following, you’re definitely including some form of a bicep curl. When the weight is at your waist level, you will contract your muscle and bring the weight up to your shoulders before lowering the weight back down to complete your repetition.
What’s wrong with this technique? Absolutely nothing, but it’s not optimal for muscle gain.
Instead, adding stimulus to the muscle will allow it to grow faster while only adding a few more seconds to your set. You will do the following instead:
- Count to 2 when contracting
- Count to 2 when lowering the weight
The muscle will be under more tension at this time and will grow faster as a result. It may be difficult to maintain the 4 seconds it takes to complete the exercise, but it will be well worth the effort at this point.
So, you’re set will last 30 – 40 seconds instead of 20 – 25 seconds.
It’s also very important to not lockout your arms at this time. Instead of bringing the weight fully to your chest, you’ll stop an inch before so that your bicep is still fully contracted. You will want to do this with every exercise that you perform.
Maintaining proper form at this time is a necessity, and it will be very important to take your time during each set.
If you’re struggling during your last set and can’t reach your rep limit, perform a drop set. This is dropping the weight down a little so that you will be able to reach your limit without cutting it short.
Conditioning is all about getting your heart pumping. Effectively, when your heart rate rises, you’ll be burning calories at an increased rate and increase your oxygen consumption. Your organs will also be thrown into overdrive and will become stronger as a result. If you take a lot of rest between your sets at the gym, you’ll notice that your heart rate is not high.
Unfortunately, when you rest for too long, your heart rate drops. You’ll still gain muscle, but you won’t be increasing your conditioning or stamina.
How can you adapt your upper body workout routine to be able to include conditioning training?
- Reduce the amount of time you rest as much as possible.
- Add in cardio to your schedule.
If you want to add in cardio, you can’t just leisurely jump on the stair climber. You will want to make it tough so that you’re legs get a massive workout, your heart is pounding and you’re dead tired at the end of the routine. A good example of this would be:
- 3 minutes at level 3
- 3 minutes at level 6
- 3 minutes at level 9
- 3 minutes at level 7
- 3 minutes at level 12
Adding and adjusting the level will really get your heart pounding and allow you to increase your conditioning as a result.
Putting it all Together
Strength and conditioning workouts can either be combined in one day, or you can split them over the week. The days that you’re not hitting the weights, you would be doing some form of cardio even if it is running around the neighborhood.
A program that puts it all together is Max Workouts. The one aspect of this program that I truly like is that the author provides numerous workouts that you’ll need to perform.
Strength and cardio should both be done at least 3 times per week. You will not want to work the same muscle group more than two times in a week directly. This means that if you can incorporate complex movements that work several muscles at one time, you’ll see optimal results and ultimately burn more calories at the same time. However, Max Workouts takes this to another level and adds HIIT to your program in the form of strength training and cardio interval days for a serious calorie burn. Be sure to check it out here.
Remember – to build strength, you also need to up your weight so that you’re putting as much stress as possible on your muscle fibers
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