From Beginner To Become Your Own Personal Trainer (Part 2)

become your own personal trainer

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read the Part 1 , click here 

Mastering the movement

mastering the movement

If you want to have lasting results, there is no shortcut, you need to learn the basic movements. It’s like at school, learning and progressing.

The best way to start a strength training is to do a bodyweight workout at home (I started like that). If you want to do a barbell movement in your workout, you can use a broom stick or a PVC pipe. If you want to do a dumbbell movement, you can use 2 sections of PVC or 2 bottles of water.

The technique is very important for movement like squat, deadlift, pull ups, bench press. That’s why using light weight will allow you to learn to make the right movements. It’s going to be a bit long but you’re going to avoid having injuries and months of frustration.

Use your smartphone to make videos of your exercices to compare them with tutorial videos that you can find on Youtube or others.

It’s possible that you feel uncomfortable with an exercice even if you have videos to improve. In this case, I advise you to see gyms in your area to hire a coach for 1-2 sessions. It’s only to improve your techniques, it’s not to hire a coach for several months. This coach will teach you what you need to know to train at home safely.

It’s not always obvious to understand tutorial videos on Youtube or others. The reason is that the person who explains how to do the technique knows very well how to make the movement but forgot to explain mistakes he/she made when he/she was a beginner.

If you have difficulties with a part of the movement, don’t get upset or be frustrated. It’s just something you can improve and by tracking your workouts, you’ll see that.

What to take

what to take

Clothes

To start, takes comfortable clothes. Don’t buy special fitness clothes. The gym isn’t a fashion show, forget what people think about you. There is no ego in a gym. I like to wear simple clothes, no known brand because I always tear my clothes by dint of using them. Maybe I dress like a tramp but everyone is silent when they see my performances.

Note : If you go to workout after school/work, take your gym outfits with you to go to the gym directly.

Shoes

For shoes, takes shoes minimizes with a flat and hard sole. For example Classic Chuck Taylor , Vibram or Powerlifter shoes .

I use for my strength training Classic Chuck Taylor and for my cardio Puma.

Drink

Take a bottle of water. It’s handy to have a bottle of water next to you to drink between 2 sets rather than go to the toilettes.

Notebook

Takes a notebook to track your workout during your workout. Often after our workout we don’t remember the workout’s details as having done 1 more rep or 1 more set. If you use a smartphone, you can use Evernote  as a notebook or a fitness app like Jetfit .

Shower gel

We sweat during our workout and it’s always nice to take a shower after an effort. If you’re going to train before going to school/work, shower gel is essential.

Your music

Takes an MP3 player or smartphone with a great playlist to « get in the zone » and make you feel like a superhero. Often music in gyms are special. In my gym often we can hear bachata or it’s nightclub ambiance.

My playlist it’s 50 Cent, G-Unit, 2 Eminem’s song and soundtrack of japanese cartoon « Hajime No Ippo » (boxe) and « Hokuto No Ken » (martial art) and soundtrack of « Rocky ».

I’ve been using my smartphone for a few years to listen to my music and keep track of workout (Jefit) and it’s really cool.

The basic rules

basic rules

There are basic rules for gyms. By following these rules, you’ll be comfortable in any gym :

  • Put weights in the right place when you finished using them.

  • If a person is using a equipment you want to use, it’s OK to kindly ask this person how many sets he/sh has left to do.

  • If another person wants to use the same equipment as you, you can offer him/her to work together. You do a set while the other rest and vice versa. You may not be comfortable with that and you can say no. Say something like « no but I still have 2 sets and after it’s for you ».

  • If a person asks you to spot and you have never done that, tell that person you never did that and ask him/her what you’d like you to do. This person will explain everything to you.

  • If a person offer to spot you on an exercice (bench press), don’t worry. Usually it’s always an experienced person who does this to help you. It’s motivating and it’s a good opportunity to exceed your limits.

  • Cleans the sweat that has on the equipment you want to use. In gyms, there is always a station with liquid cleanser and tissues.

  • With benches, leaves a space between you and the others so that everyone can keep their personal space.

  • Even if you see a person making a move that you have never seen, let it happen. You don’t want someone to come and tell you that what you do is wrong. It’s the same for others.

  • Avoid speaking in your smartphone and call the person after your workout. You’re in a gym to train, only to train.

  • Don’t sit on equipment forever. Do your sets and go to the next exercice. Don’t sit on equipment for 2 hours.

Start your strength training as soon as possible. It’s by doing exercices several times that you’ll improve your technique. Don’t be afraid to do wrong because the majority of people in a gym have no idea what they’re doing. I have been practicing for several years and I’m always improving each one of my exercices, I say each of my exercices.

What keeps you from starting a strength training ?

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

From Beginner To Become Your Own Personal Trainer (Part 1)

become your own pesonal trainer

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

Before to read this article, I advise you to read Find The Gym For Your Goals Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Equipment Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 et Part 2.If you already read it, continue and have fun.

A strong body is a healthy body, you have heard this many times but it’s not easy to do. Starting a new workout can be intimidating. It’s, for this reason, a lot of people fail.

How you will train

gym training

To start, you have to find out what kind of strength training you want to do. It depends on the equipment and your goals. Here are several types of training programs :

Bodyweight

With a bodyweight training, you need little equipment (or not at all) and you can train everywhere (home, hotel, playground, workplace). As long as you have room to move, you can train.

If you like bodyweight training, take a pull-up bar and a set of gymnastics rings. If you’re really a beginner, an exercise band  can assist you in the movement like pull ups and dips.

If is that you can do bodyweight training without equipment, the disadvantage is that you need to constantly change exercises difficult to be sure to progress.

Dumbbells

Dumbbells are excellent for starting a workout with weight for several reasons.

First, gyms always have a good set of dumbbells. If you want to train at home, you can buy a set of adjustable dumbbells (that’s how I started in my bedroom).

The second reason is that dumbbells allow you to add a small amount of weight to do an exercise and exercise with dumbells are less intimidating that exercise with a barbell. For example, if you’re a beginner, starting with a 20kg (45lbs) barbell is a bit too much.

Dumbbells also allow you to work your symmetry and allow you to balance the strength of your right side and left side of your body. It’s ridiculous to have an arm or a leg extremely bigger and stronger as the other.

If you can’t finish a repetition, it’s easy to throw dumbbells on the floor compared to a barbell. For a beginner, it’s excellent for learning movements.

The disadvantage is that to evolve, you need to buy new dumbbells and this can be expensive. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

Barbells

If your goal is to gain only strength, this is the recommended option. Barbell allows you to progress cleanly and quickly by adding a small amount of weight each week.

A barbell is really stable because you use your 2 hands instead of 1 hand for dumbbells so it’s easy to lift heavy (especially for the lower body like squat of deadlift). For exercises like the squat or the press, you can use the rack to load and unload weights safety.

The disadvantage is that to do this at home, you need to have a squat rack, a barbell, a bench and enough weight plates in your house or in your garage. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

What’s the best way to train?

The barbell is optimal for gaining strength. Bodyweight training is good but you have to seriously motivate you to train at home.

Sometimes you have to adapt to the situation to be able to do your training. When I travel a bodyweight training is perfect if I don’t have access to a gym.

But the best workout is when you lift heavy. Nothing can replace squat, deadlift and body weight pull up.

There are also other ways to have a strength training like rock climbing, yoga or parkour.

Choose the program to follow

gym training program

Never go to the gym without having a plan. To get results, it’s necessary to have a plan to track your progress.

For to make a lot of progress, a beginner can have a full body program of 3 times a week with a day off between training days. Be sure that the program you choose matches your goals, A powerlifters will have a different training from a bodybuilder or an endurance athlete.

In my article Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 and Part 2, I talk about numbers of repetitions and their goals :

  • Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength

  • Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength and muscular endurance.

  • Reps in the 12+ range build muscular endurance and size

Many beginner strength training programs say to do 5 sets of 5 repetitions to optimize progress to gain strength.

With a circuit or superset, you do a set of each exercise in an order and you repeat the process.

For example :

  • 20 bodyweight squat

  • 10 push ups

  • 20 walking lunges

  • 10 dumbell rows

  • 15 second plank

  • 30 jumping jacks

  • Repeat all these 5 times to do 5 sets

In traditional strength program, you do a complete set of an exercise, you rest and you do another set of the same exercise and so on.

For example :

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Next exercise

If your goal is to be healthy and lose weight, you don’t need to focus on strength, a circuit (superset) is perfect.

This allows you to spend less time at the gym and to make up your high heart rate longer.

If your goal is to have more strength and have more muscle, choose a traditional strength training.

One important thing, your diet corresponds to 80-90 % of your success or failure. The quality of your diet will help you gain strength and lose fat.

When you choose a workout to develop your strength, be sure to increase the difficulty over time. To become stronger, you need to write a plan. This can be to do one more squat, lift 2kg (5lbs) more or do your circuit (superset) 10 seconds faster.

The main goal is to always be better than the last time, this is what ensures the continuity of being stronger and faster.

You can write your own training program or fortunately, there is a lot of excellent beginner program.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

How To Do Deadlift

deadlift anatomy

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Podcast:

Standing in front of the barbell that is on the floor with your legs slightly apart. Your back is motionless and slightly arched :

  • Bend your legs so that your thighs are about horizontal. This position may be slightly different depending on the morphology and the flexibility of your ankles. For example, a person who has short arms and short femurs will have the thighs to the horizontal. A person who has long arms and long femurs will have the thighs a little higher than the horizontal.

  • Take the barbell with your arms outstretched and with a pronated grip. Your hands are spread to a little bit more than your shoulder’s width. You can also have a hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip to prevent the barbell from rolling and lifting extremely heavy weights.

  • Inhale, block your breath and squeeze your abs and your lumbar region. Lift the barbell by straightening your legs and lift the barbell in front of your shins.

  • When the barbell comes to your knees level, you straighten your torso completely to finish your legs extended. Exhale at the end of the effort.

  • Keep your body’s extension (all your body is straight) for 2 seconds. Then go down with the barbell while you squeezing your abs and lumbar region to control the movement.

deadlift anatomy

It’s very important not to round your back during the movement to avoid injury.

deadlift anatomy

This exercise works all the body’s muscles, especially the glutes and quadriceps. This exercise builds solid hip, lower back, and trapezius.

deadlift anatomy

Deadlift is part of the exercises carried out during powerlifting’s competitions with squat and bench press.

Note

When you’re doing an exercise with a very heavy weight, it’s important that you do a « blocking » :

  1. You fill your lungs like a balloon by taking a deep breath and blocking your breathing. This allows you to avoid your torso leaning forward and this stiffens your rib cage.

  2. You squeeze your abs to stiffen your stomach and increase your intra-abdominal pressure. This prevents your torso from sagging forward.

  3. You arch your lower back with a squeeze of your lumbar muscles and extend the bottom of the spine.

« Blocking » is these 3 actions. When you do these 3 actions simultaneously, this allows you to avoid rounding your back. Lift heavy weights with a rounded back cause the famous injury called slipped disk.

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-Steph

Incline Dumbbell Press

incline dumbbell press

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Sitting on an inclined bench (no more than 60° because you don’t want to work only your deltoids) with your elbows bent. You have a dumbbell in each hand with a pronated grip.

  • Inhale and extend your arms vertically by bringing the dumbbells closer together

  • Exhale at the end of the movement.

This exercise mainly works the upper part of pectoralis major (upper chest) and a little bit anterior deltoid, seratus anterior and pectoralis minor. Seratus anterior and pectoralis minor stabilize the scapulae, allowing the arm to work with the torso. Triceps work less intensely that with barbell.

This exercise is between incline barbell press and dumbbell flys. It’s a movement which works the upper part of the pectoralis major and it also stretches the muscle because of the amplitude of the movement.

Variant

You can have a starting position with a pronated grip and when you extend your arms, you rotate so that your palms of your hands are face to face (neutral position).

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Dumbbell Bench Press

dumbbell bench press

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Lying on a horizontal bench with your feet on the ground to stabilize you. Hold the dumbbells with arms outstretched and your hands are face to face.

  • Inhale and lower the dumbbells to your chest’s level. Bend your elbows and rotate your forearms to have your hands in pronated grip.

  • Press the dumbells back up and do an isometric contraction to isolate the stress on the upper chest. Exhale at the end of the movement.

This exercise works the pectoralis major and a little bit triceps and anterior deltoids.

The difference of this exercise with the barbell bench press is that there is a greater movement’s amplitude, which favors the stretching of the pectoralis major.

Variant

You can do this exercise without forearm’s rotation.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Leverage Bench Press

leverage bench press

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Lying on a horizonzal bench with your butt glued to the bench and your feet on the ground :

  • Inhale and press

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

This guided exercise works the pectoralis major, mainly the sternal parts at the end of the movement. This guided exercise also work a little bit the triceps and anterior deltoids.

Variant : By pulling out your chest and arching your back, you work more the lower part of your pectoralis major (chest). But beware, this technique is harmful for people with back problems.

Share this articles if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Decline Bench Press

decline bench press

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

By lying on a bench with you head down and fix your feet so as not to slip. The bench is declined between 20° and 40° Take the barbell with a pronated grip and a hand gap equal to or wider than your shoulders.

  • Inhale and by controlling the movement, lower the barbell on the bottom of your chest.

  • Press and exhale at the end of the movement

This exercise works the pectoralis major (particularly the lower part), triceps and anterior deltoids.

You can also to this exercise with a light weight and down the barbell at the neck. This allows you to stretch your pectoralis major (chest) in an excellent way.

You can also to the decline press with the Smith machine.

Share this article if you think if can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph