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Fitness Tips

This is a cheat sheet of high-leverage and up-to-date fitness advice. 

Some of these tips are basic and may be familiar.  Others might be new and need to be learned.  Talk to us at your next session about any that you would like support implementing.

Revisit these tips often.  You will gain something new each time your goals and needs change.

Be Injury Proof (mostly)

  • Warm up gradually.
    • General warm up:  Increase body temperature, circulation, and respiration until you are flushed and starting to sweat. 
    • Specific warm up:  Use dynamic stretches for any joints that will be stressed during your workout.
  • Avoid overtraining.  Know its symptoms.
  • Perform static stretches after your workout.
  • Engage in flexibility and stability training.
  • Use flawless form.
  • Only do workouts appropriate for your current fitness level.  Progress at an appropriate rate.

The Right Training Methods for the Results You Need

Maximize Strength

  • Advanced only; do not attempt until you have mastered the exercise at lower intesities
  • Up to 6 reps, in control with no momentum, until you cannot do more with perfect form
  • 3 or more sets
  • At least 3 minutes rest between sets
  • At least 48 hours rest between sessions using same muscle group

Maximize Hypertrophy (muscle mass) & Gain Strength With Less Risk

  • 8-12 reps, in control with no momentum, until you cannot do more with perfect form
  • Advanced: Use pyramid technique, only after mastering the exercise at lower intesities
  • 3 sets
  • 1 minute rest between sets
  • At least 48 hours rest between sessions using same muscle group

Maximize Muscular Endurance & Gain Strength With Minimum Risk

  • At least 15 reps until you cannot do more with perfect form
  • Advanced: Stack exercises that use the same muscle groups
  • Up to 1 minute rest between sets
  • At least 24 hours rest between sessions at which you approach failure

Maximize Power

  • Advanced only; do not attempt until you have gained adequate strength and mastered the exercise at lower intesities
  • Usually 1-5 reps 
  • 3 or more sets
  • At least 3 minutes rest between sets
  • At least 48 hours rest between sessions using same muscle group

Maximize Cardiovascular Endurance

  • Include one “long” session per week that stretches your endurance limits
  • Include 1-2 short tempo training sessions on nonconsecutive days
  • Include 1-2 short to medium training sessions with resistance on nonconsecutive days
  • Include cross training
  • At least 1 rest day per week
  • Improve muscular endurance in relevant muscle groups

Maximize Speed – Non-endurance Activities

  • Perform the movement as fast as you can for an amount of time similar to what is required in competitions
  • Perform the movement with resistance as fast as you can
  • At least 1 minute rest between sets
  • Several sets
  • At least 1day rest between sessions during which you approach failure

Maximize Speed – Endurance Sports

  • Include interval training 1-3 days per week
  • Include tempo training 1-3 days per week
  • Perform the activity with resistance 1-2 days per week
  • At least one rest day per week
  • Alternate training methods daily and include light days to avoid overtraining

Maximize Flexibility

  • Stretch as deeply as you can while keeping the stretched muscle(s) completely relaxed
  • Perform static stretches for each musle group, 20-30 seconds per stretch, immediately after warming up or completing other forms of training
  • Train fully at least 3 days per week and stretch after all other workouts
  • No rest day needed
  • Advanced:  Partner training with resistance – 10 seconds static and completely relaxed, 10 seconds resist your partner, 10 second static and relaxed, release
    • Communicate with partner to avoid being stretched to the point that your muscles reflexively tense

Other Training Goals

  • Law of Specificity:  To master an activity, you have to perform that activity often.  Training for competitions should be as close as possible to the movements and conditions of the competition.
  • Ask us how we can help you reach goals related to stability training, agility training, training for specific sports, or any other training goal not listed above.

Correct Form For Basic Exercises

  • Almost all cardio, calisthenic, and resistance training exercises:
    • Engage your core.  Do not completely tighten it.  You should still be able to take belly breaths.
    • When performing reps, exhale with the phase that requires the most effort.
  • Lifting in a standing position
    • Back straight
    • Core engaged
    • Slight bend in knees
    • Hips slightly forward
    • Feet hip width apart for upper body exercises
  • Squat
    • Back straight
    • Chest lifted
    • Core engaged
    • Feet at least shoulder width apart
    • Bring butt back and down until thighs are parallel to the floor or lower
    • Knees do not pass toes.  
      • You should be able to touch your elbows to the front of your kneecaps and wiggle your toes at the bottom.
    • Squeeze glutes as you return to standing
  • Excercises in a plank position
    • Soft bend in the elbows
    • Head in line with spine
    • Core engaged
    • Body forms a straight line.  Back is not arched; hips are not flexed.
    • Feet hip width apart, unless exercise specifically requires a different placement
    • Wrists or elbows under shoulders, unless exercise specifically requires a different placement

Be confident as a beginner in a class or open floor.

  • Browse the Internet for videos depicting exercises or classes similar to what you will be doing.
  • Schedule a few personal training sessions to learn about the exercises and equipment beforehand.
  • For open floor:
    • Look at the illustrations on posters and machines.  Pay attention to instructions for proper form.
    • Look online or ask a trainer about proper form.  Do not assume the fit-looking people around you are doing exercises correctly.
    • Plan your workout before you go.
  • For classes:
    • Arrive 15 minutes early.  Introduce yourself to the instructor, state that you are a beginner, and ask what basics you need to know before you begin.
    • Ask in advance which classes are best for your fitness level.
    • Tell the instructor you welcome corrections if you are doing anything incorrectly.
    • Stay where the instructor can easily see you.  

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