I went to the gym this morning. A bit later than normal but I made it! Today was the beginning of phase 2 of my weight training. I follow a practice called periodization when I put my plans together. Phase 1 was designed to prepare my muscles for phase II. I am coming back from an injury so I wanted to make sure I did several weeks of light lifting to begin with. This let me know where I was physically, identified problem areas and helped me regain range of motion.
Periodization is critical to prevent injuries and maximize results. That’s another blog. Today I began to increase the amount of weight I lift, added another exercise per muscle group and separated upper and lower body routines. This is a much slower paced workout than before when I was doing SuperSets and combining upper and lower body workouts into one session.
The good part of my Phase II plan is that I will be adding lean muscle/bulk to my frame (Ladies, this doesn’t mean you will get huge and dude like so yes this type lifting is for you also). The negative, to me at least, is that there is a lot of “down time” between sets. When you lift heavy weights, you need to allow for your body to replace the ATP in your muscles cells before you begin your next set. This will take between 1 ½ to 3 minutes. That can be a half an hour of sitting on your rear looking at the TV or listening to tunes.
So what can you do with this time?
STRETCH! If you are like me, you neglect this very important aspect of fitness. Lifting weights, running, riding your bike or whatever you do consistently will shorten certain muscles. Sometimes they are the muscles that you are working and other times they are muscles getting ignored. When muscles shorten, they tighten. This can lead to injury and loss of range of motion. Both of which decrease performance and cause pain.
So while I sit and wait for the muscles that I’m working to recover, I stretch other muscles. Sometimes I stretch something that is feeling tight and other times I stretch the muscles that I will work next. I’m not a fan of stretching the muscles I am working at the time. I don’t feel this is the best way to let them recover. I will however lightly stretch a muscle I’m working if I feel a little twinge and I want to see what’s up with it.
By stretching in between sets, I stay moving, save time and get a good 20 minutes of stretching in that I would not have done otherwise! So move while you rest and get more out of your weight sessions.
As always, your comments and questions are encouraged.
TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition