General Fitness Workout Plan
It means you can carry several bags of groceries from the store to your car by yourself. Having a good level of general fitness means you're fit enough to walk your dog everyday instead of paying someone else to do it. It means you can walk up several flights of stairs without huffing and puffing like a locomotive.
While serious trainees won't find these measures of fitness exciting, this article isn't for so-called serious trainees but for everyday people who want a high level of general fitness.
A good training program will get you in shape so you have more energy for daily life and a higher threshold for stress. Moreover, a solid training program will help your body release "good-feel" hormones so you'll feel better than ever.
Now that we've got a general idea of what we're talking about, let's get specific, there are five important areas we need to address when addressing general fitness:
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- Lets look at strength first. When it comes to strength in the modern world, we want to focus on improving two important areas: One, getting better at lifting things off the floor, such as heavy boxes, five-gallon water bottles and big bags of pet food.
Second, we want to improve our ability to place things overhead, such as carry-on bags on the plane or putting away stacks of dishes into overhead cupboards. When you're too weak to do basic activities in life, the quality of your life diminishes.
Two great strength exercises to develop both areas, and as measuring tools for progress, are the barbell deadlift and the dumbbell military press.
Deadlifting teaches you how to lift weights off the floor in the most efficient manner. You learn how to load up the legs to take the stress off the lower back, at the same time developing a strong, resilient back.
- Most people have weak backs and frequently complain of back pain, consequently, they avoid back exercises, which is a big mistake. You want to crush your weaknesses, and develop strength, rather than pamper your weaknesses.
The deadlift is the ticket to a strong and functional lower body and back. It teaches you how to work your body as unit and recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibers to get the job done. As an added bonus, the deadlift is a great mid-section exercise and is more effective at developing a strong core than the moronic exercises in vogue today.
You can do deadlifts with dumbbells, kettlebells-or even sandbags-and get great results, but the barbell deadlift is ideal since it addresses both ends of the strength spectrum.
In other words, if you're a beginner, you can simply use the 45 pound bar (or a lighter one) to get started. On the other hand, the barbell can be loaded up to 500 pounds, or more, in increments, which makes it ideal for strength progression.
Next, let's talk about the dumbbell military press. If barbells are so great, how come I'm recommending the dumbbell military press instead of the barbell military press? The barbell military press requires either a squat rack-or stands-so you can pick up the bar at chest level at the starting point of the exercise.
- A high-quality squat rack is pretty expensive and, while a great tool for serious trainees, not a necessity for general fitness practitioners who want to keep things simple.
The other option for getting the barbell in place is doing an exercise called the clean to get the barbell into place. Sure, you can use a reverse curl when the weights are light, but eventually the weights will be too heavy for that and you'll have a difficult time getting the bar in place and risk injury.
For those of you who don't know what a clean is, it's an exercise in which you move the barbell from the floor up to the rack position, at chest level, in one swift motion. It's a great exercise, but requires a good deal of coordination and has a long learning curve.
- Those who disagree are probably using poor technique themselves or trainers teaching poor technique. Sure, serious trainees and elite athletes might learn the clean fast, but most people are neither and getting injured isn't part of a solid general fitness program.
Again, we want to keep things simple for general fitness trainees and dumbbells do just that. One, you can start with the one-arm dumbbell military press and use two hands to get the bell to the starting point at shoulder level. Even a pretty heavy dumbbell won't be a big deal to get into place.
- Further, if you have the strength to press an eighty-pound dumbbell, you certainly have the strength to pick it off the floor with two hands and get it into place.
The one-arm dumbbell press also allows the trainee to work on imbalances since one arm is generally stronger than the other and this will be readily apparent with the one-arm press. Finally, the one-arm press engages the core to keep you stabilized so you get the added benefit of developing a strong mid-section.
I'm sure all the minimalists out there are excited at the idea of having only to do two exercises for strength training but... that won't work, not in the long run. While the press and deadlift are great exercises for developing and measuring strength, they're not the only two exercises you should do.
Just as a baseball player doesn't only play baseball to stay in shape, you need to do other strength exercises for balancing your development and avoiding injuries - which are inherent with imbalanced programs. Fortunately, you don't have to do as many exercises as you might think.
Here Are The Five Areas You Need To Cover:
- Press (example: bench press, military press, push-ups)
- Pull (example: pull-ups, bent-over row, and lat pull-down)
- Quads (example: barbell squat, dumbbell squat, front squat)
- Hamstrings (example: Romanian deadlift, Lying leg curls)
- Abs (example: hanging leg-raise, sit-ups, dumbbell side-bend)
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