June 04, 2008
Sneaky Tip for Strength Training
So our fit friend Jen got me reading the magazine Experience Life, and they had an interesting strength training tip that I thought I'd steal. It's called "Pausing for Power."
(Hey, it's Recipe Day, so I figured I could get away with something short and of special interest. Those of you who do not Strength Train can go make pasta!)
Anyway, when you are doing a set of yucky strength training exercises, you know how at the end you just physically can not do one more repetition? You tell your muscles "please, just one more!" and your muscles say "ha, ha, ha, sorry, no f*cking way?" This is generally how you know you've finished the set.
At this point, traditionally, you do one of two things. The first option: wait for your muscles to recover enough to do another set. (This can be a boring awkward waste of time unless you're good at multitasking). The second option, if you are lazy like me, is to say "that's over, thank God!" and move onto the next exercise.
Well, it turns out there's a sneaky Third Option:
You just pause and rest at the end of the set for few more seconds (5-10, usually, but up to 30 if necessary) until you can crank out just one more repetition. Then wait a few more seconds, and repeat again-- until you really can't do anymore.
This trick will allow you to either squeeze out more repetitions or use higher weights, and is apparently a good way to increase power and break through plateaus.
(There is supposedly some science behind this, but the source is a guy with a self-published book. He's probably very smart and all, but let's just say it's a "tip," not an authoritative study. The only way to know if it's any good is to see if it works for you.)
The technique works better for certain exercises than for others, and there are some general hints you'll want to find out about. So if you do want to try it, check out the article first.
Here's what I liked about this tip:
It's perfect for slackers like me who generally do only one set but occasionally feel the odd urge for a little bit of extra progress. This way, you're sort of skipping right to the "hard" repetitions at the end of another set, without having to do the whole other set.
It's a little early to tell if it's working for me--I think it is. And it does take a bit of experimentation to figure out how long to wait and which exercises you want to use it for. (Probably not best to use it all the time). But I'm having fun messing around with it. And at the very least, it's a good way to mix things up a bit.
So do any of you read stuff on blogs or in magazines and run out and try them? Any other good tips for strength training you've discovered that either make it more efficient or less loathsome?