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Get a deeper understanding of each exercise


Everybody stands to benefit from this very simple and straightforward tip, beginners, intermediates and advanced athletes alike.

Starting out can of course be a little bit daunting for beginners, all of a sudden you are tasked with thinking about muscles you have taken for granted for years. You walk into a gym and are confronted with a whole myriad of equipment from “free weights” to all manner of different machines. An instructor helpfully attempts to break these down, not only into separate muscle groups, but also different parts of each muscle group before moving onto defining “compound” and “isolating” movements and so on and so forth.

Whichever way you cut it, it can be a case of information overload and I would always recommend an hour or so on YouTube looking at how techniques can truly be perfected and executed to maximise their muscle building benefits. However, in my humble opinion carrying out the “practical” will always offer a more personal and in-depth understanding of what muscles are targeted by a specific exercise/movement and that’s how all beginners stand to benefit from this tip.

For the intermediates and advanced of you out there, though circumstances are clearly different the relevance of this handy tip remains. You see due to the unique way we are created we all have differing distributions of various different muscles fibres and receptor sites. In other words we all have our own genetic gift spots and our genetic weaknesses, it’s the reason why some of us are more adept at sprinting whereas others lend themselves more to long distance etc.

The point I’m making is (because of this uneven distribution) even if we were to all put 100% into each and every muscle group all of the time certain muscle groups would still lag behind others. So, the purpose of this tip for intermediate and more advanced trainers is to improve your proportions whether it be one muscle group to another or bringing up to speed certain lagging parts of a muscle group such as a particular head of the triceps, a weaker upper back, outer biceps or perhaps the thickness of your traps?

How do I accomplish that you may ask. Well, here it is:

When you’re at the gym just select the one exercise you wish to gain a deeper understanding of (for example triceps pull-down with rope) and perform 20 sets of 20 reps – that’s it.

Will this put me in an over-trained state? Perhaps in the immediate short term but not to the point of any great concern. Being in an over-trained condition to the point where the subsequent fatigue is an issue can take weeks of too much overload and bear in mind 20 sets in itself isn’t excessive for a workout.

However, what you will achieve is some very specific muscle soreness in the morning and days to follow. This will serve as excellent “kinaesthetic feedback” and give you the clearest possible understanding of what muscle(s) that specific exercise targets. It’s the kind of lesson you won’t forget either as you’ll be given many sharp reminders throughout the days that follow.

Make sure you’re clear on the required technique beforehand and if you experience any uncomfortable, sharp pains then back off immediately; but chances are you won’t and you’ll be grateful for the experience. Just make sure you designate a separate day for this, focus on 20 sets of 20 reps on any given exercise. Then it’s up to you to apply your new found understanding to improve your overall physique.


Disclaimer: All exercises on this site are intended for healthy individuals without any present medical conditions. If you are currently experiencing any bone, joint, or musculoskeletal pain, we advise you to consult a licensed health care professional prior to commencing any of the exercises suggested within this site. The author, editor, and publisher specifically disclaim all responsibility and liability for any injury arising from the use and application of the information provided within this site.

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