Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.  Don’t you love when the opportunity to work smarter is available, but you overexert your efforts, hyperfocus, and end up working harder? No?  Today we taking a look at how to keep from delaying your success by how to workout smarter.  If you have questions about today’s blog or would like some customized tips for how to make your next workout more efficient, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

Imagine someone new to the whole “gym thing”. They walk into a weight room filled with machines and equipment and they don’t really know what it is all for. They watch the other patrons pumping iron and counting reps and take a mental note. When the machine is free, the newcomer will attempt to mimic the motions and speed they observed. That is super inefficient and will actually cause them to take a huge step backwards in their journey towards their goals.

When you focus solely on speed or weight, you are sacrificing movement quality. Any guesses where most body transformation stems from?  High-quality movements. Focusing on the quality not quantity of your efforts will create a better physical reaction. It will build more muscle tone and also burn more fat. When you work through a movement too quickly or with too heavy of a weight, your body isn’t gaining anything from it except a high risk for injury. You are essentially missing out on achieving your goals since you aren’t efficiently using your muscles or building the body that you envision.

So what does quality movement look like? We’ve talked about ineffective crunches on a previous blog. People who boast they can do 500 crunches without breaking a sweat. Those are the people who have stomachs that barrel out because they are focused more on quantity than form.  This has caused a new problem area for them rather than the sleek physique they were attempting to obtain.  

Similarly, people who have poor quality weighted arm curls. They don’t keep their elbow tight to their side to keep the body stabilized. Instead, these quantity focused people they start to curl from the bicep then get really into it. Before you know what’s happening they are throwing their whole arm towards the sky (hopefully, they don’t accidentally throw the weight ,too — it can get scary).  What they are doing is losing all the work in the bicep because they are moving the weight from the shoulder joint. Once they have moved the weight from the curl, they have already passed the point of gravitational pull so they have lost the resistance of that weight on the intended muscle.

Another example would be with a tricep extension. Quality movement would be having the elbows tight above the head then press straight up. What I see regularly as a personal trainer in Amarillo, is people doing almost like the wave. The movement is coming from the shoulder (not the tricep) and it moves the weight forward, up, back, and down as they try to get in more reps as fast as possible. Excellent muscle structure and support comes from isolating the muscle groups with high quality exercises.   

Another upper body exercise that I have seen go south is the shoulder press. Sometimes we stack on too much weight. Our back will then sway to help push the weight up. Your spine has entered the game and is likely to be injured if you keep that up.  The angle I just demonstrated (at time marker 3:10) should be the same angle that I am pushing out at if I were standing straight. If my back is swayed and my angle of press is off, then I am losing some of the muscles I was hoping to work.

When you begin your workout, regardless if you are new to this whole endeavor or a seasoned sweat chaser, you first want to check that you are loading your exercises with the appropriate amount of weight. You don’t need too much weight before you are ready. More weight does not mean better results.

Make sure you are working smart by focusing on high quality, slower paced movements. When I work with certain clients I like to have them go through their routine at half pace. That means if they are doing a row, where they pull that arm back for a count of two, they are pulling it back while counting to four on those days.  You can apply the half pace to any exercise. The important thing is that you are focusing on which muscles are activated and how you can squeeze them and utilize them correctly.  Half pace days are great for helping you reduce your risk of injury and keep form in the front of your mind to get you to your goals quickly.

Finally, take ego out of the equation.  A lot of people want to go fast or pack on the weight to tell themselves they are capable.  What you are really doing is working backwards. You won’t achieve your vision if you are so focused on what everyone else thinks. You have to train your body in the way it needs to work.  It can’t actually build muscle fibers and lose weight if you are fast forwarding through your workout. Muscles need to be stretched, pushed, and recover.  That is just basic physiology.  Working out from a place of quality form rather than quantity will be effective in getting you those results you want in an efficient time frame.

If you’d like more help, tips or tricks, or more information on how to build the body you’ve been looking for or the health that you’ve always wanted, that’s what our team is here for. We have an entire team of fitness professionals and wellness specialists that are here and ready to help you with your needs. We’d be happy to set up a complimentary consultation to take you through the ropes to see if we are the right fit for you. Give us a call at 806-322-3188 or info@customfitness.biz to set that up. At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. We’ll talk soon!