Fit 4 Life | Putting it all together: Organising your training [Part IV]
After laying out your training game plan and structuring your workouts, there is one more pressing consideration: how do you approach each exercise? What tricks can you use to get the most out of the training time and equipment available?
Here a few techniques to consider for individual moves.
Training quality can be maintained or improved by controlling rest time. Gradually reducing rest times between sets while using the same or higher weight or repetitions as fitness improves will ensure overload is achieved. For example, reducing your rest times from 90 to 75, and then to 60 seconds over a few weeks will have a similar effect to loading up more weights over the same period. This technique is especially convenient for persons who work out at home and who don't want to break the bank for more equipment.
Continuous tension techniques involve avoiding the top portions of some movements, cutting reliance on momentum, and avoiding resting during the set. The idea is to maintain tension on the muscle being trained so that development can be achieved even with light resistance.
Retro-gravity training, or eccentrics, is a technique in which the focus of an exercise is shifted from the lifting phase to the lowering phase. It makes it possible to get more muscle cells to respond because you can lower about 30 to 40 per cent more weight than you can lift.
Retro gravity techniques include tempo training - the simplest of the eccentric training methods. In tempo training, you explode on the lifting phase and draw out the lowering portion of the movement.
A push-up, for example, becomes two moves:
1) Explode up into the top position.
2) Slowly lower yourself, taking a predetermined amount of time - say, three or five seconds - to do so.
COMPENSATORY ACCELERATION TRAINING (CAT)
To maximise tension on the muscles during an exercise, compensatory acceleration may be applied. The idea is to move the weight as quickly as possible while maintaining control. These explosive movements translate to more force being generated by the muscles and are extremely effective for increasing both strength and power.
A bonus benefit is that CAT requires less resistance to maximise force output; another win for those training at home.