When most people start to exercise, they often begin with the notion that they can select parts of their body and spot reduce or target them for weight loss, which is a myth. Even so, it’s not uncommon to see a novice trainee wasting a great deal of time working their abdominals with the idea that the fat lying over them will somehow melt away. Abdominal exercise is not an efficient or effective place to begin to get the most from your workout.
Another mistake of the novice trainee is to focus on steady state activity — jogging, swimming, bicycling and recreational activities — with the hopes of using exercise to burn fat away.
“There is no exercise or activity that ‘burns fat,’” says Joshua Trentine, president of Overload Fitness.
He says true exercise is done in order to create a biological need to hold on to or increase muscle mass. “If this is done on a weekly basis and the subject maintains a moderate calorie deficit there will be discriminate weight lost — you will lose fat.”
Smart Business spoke with Trentine about getting the most out of your workouts.
What’s important to understand when putting together a workout program?
True exercise stimulates skeletal muscular strengthening, which can lead to improvements in:
• Bone density.
• Vascular and metabolic function.
• Joint stability.
• Muscular strength.
Strength exercise is the only exercise that can change the body’s architecture. The cornerstone of your exercise program should be an emphasis on strengthening the muscles and the movement synergy patterns that give you the most ‘bounce to the ounce.’
What should be an area of focus?
Every comprehensive exercise program should include exercise for the gluteus maximus (the buttocks). This is the biggest, densest, most powerful musculature in the human body and its size gives it the greatest impact on global metabolic rate, more so than any other muscle. Intense work for this muscle will produce the most profound chemical and hormonal impact from exercise and improve your overall functional ability. This musculature also gives the greatest indication of overall fitness and produces the most desirable aesthetic effect when developed.
What exercises affect this musculature the most?
In order to exercise this muscle effectively, it’s important to know its primary function, which is to extend the hip — the action one makes when climbing stairs.
The next step is to find exercises that include hip extension as part of their movement synergy pattern. The best exercise for this purpose resembles a squat pattern or mimics the movement that occurs when a person goes from sit to stand. Historically this movement has been performed with resistance, such as a barbell, placed across the back or held in the hands at arm’s length. Both of these applications present practical and biomechanical limitations.
A good exercise to focus on is the leg press, which will produce the greatest overall exercise effect. It meets the requirements of training the biggest muscles in the human body in a safe and effective manner and has the most profound cardiovascular, muscular and hormonal impact.
How often should these exercises be undertaken?
Exercise this muscle intensely for two to three minutes, to muscular failure, one time per week, to see large-scale jumps in functional ability. The leg press exercise should be done no more than twice per week and performed in a slow and controlled fashion, keeping continuous tension and meaningful load on the muscles for the duration of the exercise. The attempt should be to fatigue the muscles as thoroughly as possible.
Whether you are a professional athlete, just trying to maintain or improve your shape, in need of physical rehabilitation, or simply wanting to maintain or improve overall functional ability, the leg press is a great place to start.
Joshua Trentine is president at Overload Fitness. Reach him at (216) 292-7569 or www.overloadfitness.com.
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