Rule Four: Adequate Rest and Recovery
Intense exercise combined with an inadequate amount of rest equals a failed program. Whether you create intensity by doing extra sets or working past muscle fatigue on every movement, intensity mandates plenty of recovery time.
Let's take a look at how to make sure we recover properly from set to set, as well as workout to workout. Every workout should start off with a five minute warm up. This could be a walk, jog, step in place, or any such activity. Immediately after the warm up move right into your first set done to fatigue in your correct rep range. So how long do you rest before doing set number two?
Long rest between sets is compatible with lifting heavy weight at low repetitions. A three-minute rest will allow you to recover completely and be ready for a heavy weight on the next set. Shorter rest between sets will lead to more tone, endurance, and fat-burning effect. A recovery time of one minute or less will keep your heart rate elevated, necessitate the use of a somewhat lower resistance level possibly still more than you used on the first set), and burn a lot more fat.
On a weekly basis, more intensely trained muscles need more rest. If, for whatever reason (illness, age, fitness level), you need to keep intensity at a minimum, repeating two or three full body workouts each week with at least 48 hours between each workout is the way to go.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you're ready, willing, and able to crank up intensity, be sure to rest an adequate amount of time before repeating exercise on the same muscle group (from 48 to up to 96 hours). By splitting your full body routine in half, you can create two separate workouts that train the whole body in two sessions. This would result in four "half" workouts each week.
Rule Five: Utilize Multi-Muscle Movements
Stick to exercises that act upon more than one muscle group. For example, many of us are interested in maintaining lean and well-toned arms. After all, this is the part of your body (man or woman) that gets exposed all summer long, and there's the temptation to do endless bicep curls or tricep presses.
But the biceps and triceps are relatively small muscles that don't need a lot of work. As a matter of act, when bench pressing, the chest, shoulders and arms are all trained at the same time. This translates into a much higher calorie burn and greater overall muscular development. If you want to lose weight when you lift, forget about isolating small muscles.
Do an extra set of exercises like the bench presses for the upper body and squats for the lower body. An easy way to differentiate between exercises that isolate small muscles, and those that work many muscles simultaneously, is to observe how many joints come into play as you go through the full range of motion called for. Multi-muscle movements will work across at least two joints (usually the elbow and shoulder, or the hip and knee). Stick with these "big" exercises that not only work multiple muscles and challenge the body in a more functional capacity, but bring a host of balancing and stabilizing muscles into play as well.
Quick Review of the 5 Rules
Rule 1: Adhere to perfect form, following instructions/illustrations closely
Rule 2: Accelerate progress and overall results by increasing intensity levels
Rule 3: Control weight lifted and reps performed to bring about desired results
Rule 4: Adequate rest and recovery time is essential to continued success
Rule 5: Stick to multi-muscle movements like squats and bench presses
Source: Michael Stefano
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