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gym rat 1

…rounding out January for the Newbies with this exceedingly interesting exercise info!

During a recent cycling class, the instructor shouted out, “going into pyramid”. There were some new faces in the class and I wondered if they knew what she meant by pyramid (or what they were in for as our spin instructor, Jill, is wickedly awesome). I can’t remember which pyramid method she used but you can bet your sweet bippy a consistent increase in resistance was involved.

On another recent workout at the gym, a trainer (not Jill) kicked this vegan’s daughter off the Smith Press because she (the trainer) was circuit training a client and needed wanted that machine.
No one should treat other gym members that way. You have to be prepared should a piece of equipment be unavailable for use. It’s important to plan a workout ahead of time with backup exercises and equipment. Knowing different training systems can help should you need to switch gears.
The vegan’s daughter was gracious about it, found another machine to work on and shortly afterwards returned to the Smith Press.

A knowledge of different training systems can be useful when you hit a plateau, to keep boredom at bay, and to help prevent injuries.
For this post, I am referring to weight work only.
Below is a general overview of a few methods that are commonly employed by trainers.

Single set – Consists of one set of 8-12 repetitions working one muscle group. This system is good for beginners, those short on time and for those who use heavy weights and are capable of completing one set to muscle failure.

Ex: biceps curls, one set with 8-12 repetitions
tricep dips, one set with 8-12 repetitions
and so on…

Multiple Set – You will see most gym members utilizing this system. It involves performing three to six sets of 8-12 repetitions of an exercise.

Ex: biceps curls, three sets with 8-12 repetitions for each set
tricep dips, three sets with 8-12 repetitions for each set
and so on…

Super Set – Combination of two different exercises following each other without rest for the same muscle group, opposing muscles or alternating upper and lower body muscle groups. The set can be repeated many times.

Ex: bench press, push up (same muscle group)
front raise, lat pull down (opposing muscle group)
lateral raise, squat (upper & lower body muscle groups)

Pyramids– There are three pyramid systems that you should be aware of:
ascending – With each set, increase weights and decrease repetitions.

pyramid traing

Descending – two types – (1) reverse of the ascending. With each set, decrease weights and increase repetitions. (2) with each set, decrease weights and decrease repetitions.

Complete or triangle program – with each set, start with an ascending order and then reverse to the (2) descending order.

Circuit Training – With this system, you move quickly from one resistance exercise to another. There is very little rest between exercises which often leads to a bit of an aerobic workout as well. Perform 8-20 repetitions per exercise. Repeat the circuit 2, 3 or more times. Used often because this system is time effective, it is not always conducive to a crowded gym. Curves gym is a good example of circuit training.

Split Routine – To allow ample time for muscle recovery, no body part is worked two days in a row. Depending on your schedule, you can perform this routine in a four-day or six-day split.

Ex: four-day split, Monday/Thursday – work lower body (legs, glutes and calves), abdominals and erector spinae(low back); Tuesday/Friday, work upper body (chest, shoulders, upper back and arms)

Ex: six-day split, Monday/Thursday – work lower body (legs, glutes and calves), abdominals and erector spinae; Tuesday/Friday – work upper body(chest and upper back) and triceps; Wednesday/Saturday  – shoulders, latissimus dorsi and biceps

Super Slow Training – In this method, repetitions are performed at a very slow rate – ten seconds to lift the weight, pause, and four – six seconds to lower the weight.

These are just a few of the different types of training systems. Need help with these or want to learn other systems? Please leave a comment…

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