Hey guys, some of the questions I get in the gym are prompting this post. There are some misconceptions surrounding lifting programs, so below I've listed some principles backed by hard-core science to help you navigate an effective lifting program! Below I've listed 6 general principles of any effective resistance training program. These principles, if understood and incorporated will put you on the speedway to results and the speedway to overcoming plateaus. Some of the wording is a little science-y so I wrote a "take home message" for each principle hopefully helping it make more sense. I'd love to hear your thoughts or experience with any of these principles. If nothing else, it's some good food-for-thought for your exercise regimen. Happy training!
SPECIFICITY OF TRAINING: States that only the muscles trained will adapt and change in response to a given program. For this reason, resistance programs must target all muscles for which a training effect is desired.
Take home message: To become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill. Or, to get stronger shoulders, do shoulder exercises. Also, you won't get stronger biceps by doing lunges.
SPECIFIC ADAPTATIONS TO IMPOSED DEMANDS: This principle states that the adaptation of the muscles will be specific to the demands that the exercise place upon the individual. For example, if a high number of repetitions are used, the muscles will increase their ability to perform a high number of repetitions.
Take home message: Place on your body the demands of your desired result.
PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD: As the body adapts to a given stimulus, an increase in the stimulus is required for further adaptations and improvements. Thus, if the load or volume is not increased over time, progress will be limited.
Take home message: Keep your training sessions challenging (this absolutely essential if you want to gain muscle mass).
VARIATION IN TRAINING: No one program should be used without changing the exercise stimulus over time.
Take home message: Don't keep doing the same thing.
PERIODIZATION: The phasic manipulation of the training variables (volume, intensity, frequency and rest) as a means of optimizing desired outcomes while concurrently reducing the incidence of overtraining.
Take home message: Have a plan that will maximize your gains AND reduce your chance of injury.
PRIORITIZATION OF TRAINING: It is difficult to train for all aspects of muscular fitness at the same time, thus one needs to focus or prioritize the training goals for each training cycle.
Take home message: Prioritize what results are most important to you now and train for that.
Don't let this info overwhelm you. It's very challenging to incorporate all of these principles seamlessly into a lifting program. And they are especially useful when there is a very specific goal or desired outcome in mind and maybe a bit less helpful if you're just looking to maintain or you really don't have specific goals . If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!
I recently had my sister-in-law's neighbor call me and tell me a long story of how her high school aged son wasn't going to get credit for his fitness for life class because of (insert LONG story). She said she had approval for him to make up some work and missed class time as long as it was supervised by some kind of health or fitness professional. She asked if I could help her, to which I said yes.
I came up with this super fun and do-able worksheet to help him track his time and assignments given. I think my favorite part of this worksheet is the cooking part, where he has to help make two meals based around a vegetable he has never tried and two meals based around a whole grain he has never tried.
I love this worksheet so much I think I'll try having my kids do some or all of it this summer!
Please note that this worksheet was created for him as a "make up" project to pass a class- it's not a full exercise and eating program and I mention his skiing activity and doing yoga at my sister-in-laws place which obviously doesn't apply to everyone. Enjoy!
One year ago, as 2015 was coming to a close I wanted to have a different kind of plan for my mat Pilates classes at the club I was teaching for at the time. So after a lot of thought I came up with a 6 month "syllabus" that included all of the 6 Pilates principles- one for each month along with a prop to help us explore each principle. I handed it out at the begining of the year so people knew what to expect when they came to my class. See the original post Here.
2015 eneded up NOT going as planned because my family took an unexpected move for a new job taking us from Nevada to Utah which left me skipping town mid-March! Since the move I spent much of time settling into life in Utah and studying for the American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer exam which I recently passed (finally!). I love this "syllabus" I created and thought since I'm currently not teaching regular group mat classes that I'd share this for your enjoyment for 2017! Happy New Year!
I recently posted a few of my favorite exercises with the Pilates overball on Instagram. It's super fun over there! Check it out!
When I was doing my Pilates Reformer training, there was a funny European gal who I observed several times for my observation hours. She was a great instructor and she called everything "cute". When I showed her a few exercises outside of the traditional she always taught she said that it was "so cute!" When I asked questions it was cute. When we got on the subject of food, even some foods were cute. When I talked about my family it was cute (that one is really cute), but you get the gist.
I did the below workout the other morning on the treadmill and I thought it was quite cute. I came up with this, really just wanting to get some good cardio in and playing around with speed, time and %grade is what I felt like and it felt good and cute! Don't be fooled by the walking intervals, they get paired up with a heavy incline and a brisk speed.
Of course feel free to mix this up tailoring it for your own ability.
Enjoy the sweaty cuteness!
When I tell people I teach Pilates most people know what I'm talking about but will frequently ask questions like, "So tell me, what's the difference between Pilates and yoga?"(A blog post for another day). But when I tell people I teach Pilates on the Reformer 8 out of 10 have no idea what I am talking about. If you don't know what to expect from a Reformer session, then why would a session even appeal to you? I hope this post can shed some light on what you can expect from a db Pilates Reformer session.
If you're trying the Reformer for the first time I will introduce you to the actual machine and how it works, then basic movement sequences will be introduced, many of which will remind you of mat Pilates. I like to tell people to think of the Reformer as their dance partner for the next hour. It is their job to find engagement and fluidity with their new dance parter. The Reformer will demand your attention, so give it, your body and the session the attention it deserves.
I find that the pace and variety of movements will differ greatly from client to client depending on alignment, ability and what the client is looking for in their workout, for example, you may be looking for a sweat or maybe simple rebalancing exercises to reconnect and realign. Having said that, I cannot safely provide a sweaty accelerated-paced class when alignment and form just isn't there. Some people are very out-of-touch with their movement patterns and how they hold their body in space, so with these clients we must move slower, with more emphasis on coaching good alignment and basic Pilates principles.
Although most people find the Reformer work itself challenging but doable, the hardest part of the session for most is paying attention to really how you are moving, not just the movement itself. You see, there is nothing sloppy, mindless or unimportant in Pilates. Every movement is coached to be done with precision and intention, which frankly isn't easy. But connecting to ourselves and others in meaningful ways I believe is one thing we are missing in our modern lifestyle. Connecting with your body and it's abilities can truly help you find freedom of movement and a greater sense of well-being.
You can expect to walk away from your session feeling invigorated and lengthened. You may even catch yourself slumping over your phone and computer over the next few days and have the desire and know-how to sit yourself up straight. As one client said, "Your head will be held higher and you will move with a bit more grace than you did before".
Have you had a good or bad experience on a Pilates Reformer? I would love to hear about it. But seriously. What's not to love?
Also, check out this article: 16 health benefits of Pilates: https://www.jenreviews.com/pilates/
I love movement and habits that promote health and lifetime wellness. I also like stretchy pants, being outside and good-for-you food! Follow me on Instagram @DawnBrownCoaching for more frequent updates.