Strength Training for Executives

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IFA-certified strength trainer and business executive Bryan Guido Hassin shares guidelines for maximizing the effects of strength training for executives who are pressed for time and energy.

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  • This and the social media presentation are great, Bryan. As a person who is ready to take lifting to the next level and embrace social media more aggressively, I need to heed the information in both.
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Strength Training for Executives

  1. 1. IMD Strength<br />Bryan Guido Hassin<br />IMD MBA 2008<br />IFA-Certified Personal Trainer<br />
  2. 2. Disclaimer<br />This document represents only the author’s opinions and he accepts no liability for any consequences that may come from your having read it<br />In fact, he accepts no liability for anything ever<br />
  3. 3. Strength is a critical component of total fitness<br />Other components includeendurance, flexibility, and body composition<br />Comprehensive, balanced fitness programs address strength, endurance, flexibility, and diet<br />Lean muscle mass (on which strength is based) is highly correlated with numerous health benefits, including<br />Autoimmune response<br />Bone density<br />Metabolism<br />Many others<br />
  4. 4. Unfortunately, most information about strength training is wrong<br />It is founded on mythologies created long ago and perpetuated by:<br />Anecdotal data from coaches/friends/colleagues/etc.<br />Fitness magazines whose goals are to make their advertisers rich, not to make you fit<br />But scientific research DOES exist, and it is the foundation of this document<br />
  5. 5. Strength is gained by stimulating muscle fibers and then resting<br />To determine how best to gain strength, we must first understand how strength is gained<br />The sliding filament model shows that muscles contract in order to do work<br />When they do hard work, the muscle fibers literally break down (referred to as stimulation)<br />Then, during rest, the body builds them back up with protein and overcompensates, building them stronger than before<br />Strength gain is a product of how many muscle fibers are stimulated and how adequately they are subsequently rested<br />A muscle has been maximally stimulated when it can literally no longer do work (all of its fibers have been broken down)<br />A maximally stimulated muscle requires ~1 week of rest to be rebuilt stronger<br />
  6. 6. Conventional approaches to strength training use submaximumstimulation<br />For example, one classic methodology uses 3 sets of 10 repetitions of the same resistance (weight)<br />If you can still do a 3rd set at the same weight, why did you do the 1st and 2nd sets???<br />Your muscles have simply not been very stimulated at all<br />If your muscles have been thoroughly stimulated (Remember, this means that you have broken down muscle fibers so they are no longer able to do work.), a subsequent set will only be possible at lower weight and/or repetitions<br />
  7. 7. Conventional approaches to strength training use inadequate rest<br />For example, one classic methodology works out the same muscle 3x/week—providing much less than the week of rest required<br /> Resting a muscle is just as important as stimulating it<br />Without adequate rest, a muscle will not be built all the way back up before it is once again broken down. Over time this will actually lead to a decrease in muscle, referred to as catabolism<br />If adequate rest is given to a maximally stimulated muscle, the next time the exercise is performed, you will be able to do more repetitions and/or use higher resistance<br />
  8. 8. Conventional approaches take more time and are less effective<br />Strength is built by stimulating muscle and then resting it<br />But conventional approaches to strength training don’t stimulate as much muscle as possible<br />And they don’t allow for adequate rest<br />This makes conventional approaches to strength training “busy-work” activities that suck time and fail to produce results<br />
  9. 9. The special needs of executives require a more efficient approach<br />There are many reasons to spend time at the gym, including social ones<br />However, executives have many other demands on their time and energy<br />Therefore the goal of this document is to propose a maximally efficient method of strength training<br />This means 1. stimulating the maximum amount of muscle in the least amount of time—working smarter, not longer—and 2. resting<br />Executives can then use the time and energy they would have spent on inefficient strength training instead on:<br />Other fitness activities for balance<br />Rest/mental well being<br />Time with family/friends<br />Work!<br />
  10. 10. 1. Maximum stimulation requires maximum intensity in each repetition<br />Maximum intensity requires two elements:<br />The neurological intent for the muscle to do work as hard as it can<br />Adequate resistance such that a repetition, even under such neurological intent, still takes several seconds to perform<br />Further intensity can be gained by holding an exercise at the point of peak contraction (where the sliding filament model tells us that the most amount of muscle fiber is engaged)<br />
  11. 11. 1. Maximum intensity must be applied to a muscle’s full ROM<br />Maximum intensity must be applied to a muscle’s full range of motion for maximum stimulation<br />Full ROM goes in two directions: when the muscle is doing work and when it is returning to its starting position (the negative portion of the repetition)<br />
  12. 12. 1. No cheating!<br />Using momentum and cheating (even inadvertently) do not stimulate muscle! <br />Remember that the goal is not to lift a certain weight or perform a certain number of repetitions; the goal is to stimulate the most muscle fiber<br />
  13. 13. 2. Rest<br />This does not preclude sports, yoga, or cardiovascular activity<br />This precludes the breakdown of muscle fibers by overloading them with resistance such that they can not be used until they have recovered<br />
  14. 14. These principles result in faster, safer, more effective strength training<br />Faster: the entire body can be maximally stimulated in 30-60 minutes each week<br />Safer: the focus on intensity and no cheating allows for maximum stimulation with lower resistance, which is easier on the joints and reduces the likelihood of injury<br />More effective: stimulation + rest == more effective strength training, not to mention freeing up time for more effectiveness in other areas<br />
  15. 15. A demonstration validates these principles<br />Seeing is believing so I find it instructive to demonstrate the differences between conventional strength training techniques and these<br />I usually use a shoulder exercise such as front dumbbell raises<br />
  16. 16. 1. Establish a baseline<br />Have the participant do one set of 10 repetitions using the weights she would normally use<br />Once the set is complete, ask her how she feels<br />The answer is usually “OK, but I could do more.”<br />
  17. 17. 2. Identify areas for optimization<br />Discuss the areas of inefficiency in the exercise as she performed it:<br />Maximum resistance is only realized when the arms are parallel to the floor<br />The shoulder joint supports much greater ROM<br />Often the participant cheats/uses momentum<br />Often the participant lets gravity carry the weights back to the starting position<br />
  18. 18. 3. Optimize!<br />After time to rest, try the exercise again with some key modifications:<br />Seated to reduce hip swinging/cheating<br />On an incline bench to allow longer ROM<br />To provide constant, maximum resistance throughout the ROM, I place my hand on the participant’s wrist. When the arm is perpendicular to the floor, I provide strong resistance. When the arm is parallel to the floor and working against the full resistance of gravity and the dumbbell, I provide no resistance. I provide enough resistance throughout the ROM for the positive portion of the repetition to take 4 seconds.<br />The participant holds the repetition at peak contraction for 2 seconds<br />The participant makes me push his arm back down to rest position, requiring 4 seconds for the negative<br />
  19. 19. 4. Establish that much greater stimulation has been achieved<br />Usually the participant is unable to continue using the dumbbell after 2-4 repetitions and the need for me to provide manual resistance decreases dramatically with each rep<br />I can use fewer and fewer fingers to apply resistance, sometimes removing my hand completely!<br />Often the participant breaks into a sweat.<br />When asked how she feels, a very different answer is given!<br />
  20. 20. Even in IMD’s substandard gym, full-body stimulation is possible in 30-60m<br />Use 10-second repetitions<br />4 seconds positive (exhale)<br />hold for 2 seconds during peak contraction (exhale)<br />4 seconds negative (inhale)<br />If possible, use a partner to provide variable resistance and spotting<br />Aim for complete muscle failure in 6-9 repetitions for upper body exercises and 10-12 for lower-body exercises<br />If you can perform more then 9 repetitions (as listed above) of an upper body exercise or 12 for a lower-body exercise, increase resistance<br />
  21. 21. Sample Routine<br />
  22. 22. Tips<br />Working out with a partner dramatically increases your rate of workout success<br />There is only one dietary supplement repeatedly proven to be worth a damn in clinical studies: water!<br />The human body is excellent at adaptation so constantly add variety to your routine by mixing up your medium (dumbbells, barbells, and machines) and exercises<br />For safety, follow the right angle rule: your knees should never create an angle < 90°<br />Corollary: your knees should never extend out beyond your toes<br />Remember that there is no “right” way to work out (other than safely!). If a particular routine or methodology works for you, stick with it. If something recommended to you doesn’t work, change it!<br />
  23. 23. Summary<br />Strength is good for you<br />Attain strength by working out smarter not longer<br />Stimulate your muscles with maximum intensity throughout a full ROM and do not cheat<br />This can be accomplished for the entire body in 30-60 minutes<br />Then give your muscles a full week to rest<br />This is faster, safer, and more effective<br />

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