The Fit 5: Progressing in the Gym

For all of our followers who shoot us questions on our Twitter and Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we are going to faucet into our pool of editors and specialists to assist with any questions or challenges you might be having along with your health routine. This week, Dan Trink, C.S.C.S, Director of Personal Training Operations at Peak Performance NYC and founding father of TrinkFitness, solutions your questions on making critical progress in the gymnasium.

1) Increase Size and Strength— requested by Alex Ross: I do 3 units of 10 for barbell bench presses, 4 units of 10 for incline dumbbell bench preses and three units of flyes as soon as per week for chest, however will increase in strenth and dimension have stalled. What do you counsel?

“It seems as if you’ve adapated as much as possible to your current training program, so therer is only one thing to do—change it. Try 4 weeks of lower reps in each of the movements as so: 5 sets of 3-5 reps for the bench press, 4 sets of 4-6 reps for the incline DB press and sets of 8-10 reps for the flye. Since you’ll be decreasing the number of reps, you’ll be able to increase the weight you use making you stronger. When you go back to the sets of 10 in a month, you should be able to lift more weight. Keep alternating between these strength workouts and size workouts and you should be able to progress. You may also want to think about changing your movements. Try dumbbell bench press and barbell incline for a while. Try doing your flyes from different angles on the cable cross-over station such as going low to high or high to low. In other words, don’t be afraid to stimulate your muscles by providing some variety. Adding in some military or other standing overhead pressing has been shown to improve bench press strength. Finally, have someone take a look at your form to make sure you are getting the most out of your press.”

2) Do More Pull-Ups — requested by Eric P.: I’ve been attempting to hit 100 pull-ups, so I do conventional pull-ups and chins twice per week, however after 5, 6, or 7 units, I’m caught at 50. How else can I enhance my pull-ups?

“Pull-ups are a great exercise but are tough to complete well once you are fatigued. Strengthening the often neglected smaller muscles of your mid back (such as your mid and lower traps) can make you better at pull-ups as they tend to be the muscles that fatigue most quickly. You can also try adding some eccentric or negative training to your program. Once you hit technical failure (the ability to perform a rep with appropriate form), use a step and ‘jump’ up to the top of pull-up position and lower yourself as slowly as possible. Repeat for 3 or 4 reps. You can also try some harder pull-up variations for fewer reps that will get you stronger once you go back to the traditional pull-up. These include sternum pull ups and lean-away pull-ups. Finally, there is no faster way to improve pull-up performance than lightening the load that you are pulling, so if you’re carrying around extra body fat, try leaning out.”

3) Increased Deadlifts — requested by Julian Scott: How can I enhance my deadlift numbers apart from doing deadlifts every week?

“You can try strengthening the prime movers involved in the deadlift—namely the glutes and hamstrings—with alternate exercises. Pull throughs, hamstring curls, good mornings, hip thrusters and step ups can all improve your pulling power. If you are worried about deadlifting too often because of stress it puts on your body, try doing lower load speed deadlifts by putting a much lighter weight than usual on the bar and lifting it off the ground as quickly/explosively as possible. This is a technique power lifters have incorporated to recruit more high-threshold motor units which ultimately makes them stronger when they go back to near maximum effort lifts.”

4) Shorter Run Time — requested by Josh Abandonato: What sort of exercise construction would you suggest for slicing down my 5K time?

“This is a tough one to answer as I do not know what your current training looks like. However, it has been shown that incorporating sprints into your training program can improve your endurance running times. I would also take on a strength and conditioning program that focused on strengthening the main muscles of your lower body. Those involved in running include your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Finally, I would not ignore soft tissue work, foam rolling and remedial and corrective exercises to aid in recovery, regeneration and injury prevention, as you’ll never run your best time if you’re all banged up.”

5) More Effective Shoulder Workout — requested by Michael Hunt: My shoulders have stayed the identical for years. Is there a very good shoulder exercise you possibly can suggest for development together with days, units and reps?

“Shoulders embody ‘mixed fiber type’ muscle groups which, in easier phrases, means they reply properly to each excessive rep/lighter load and low rep/larger load schemes. So ensure you get each methods into your coaching. Focusing on the medial or center head of the shoulder gives you extra of that capped look in case you are strictly going for dimension, so be sure to are together with some type of lateral elevate in your program. Keep in thoughts that the shoulder is one in all the most intricate and delicate joints in the physique. They get used in a wide range of non-shoulder particular strikes equivalent to bench press, pull ups and dips so that’s one thing to maintain in thoughts when deciding coaching quantity. I wouldn’t hit shoulders on their very own greater than as soon as per week to permit for full restoration. And you’ll want to embody exterior rotation, rotator cuff and entice work in your general coaching scheme as you wish to preserve your whole shoulder girdle wholesome and balanced.”

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