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How to plan exercise workouts?

Q: Dear Sir, I have been regularly exercising in the gym for the last three months without missing a single day. My chest & arms are growing and my waist has also reduced by 1 inch. In the gym we are advised to do exercises of chest one day and of the arms and shoulders the next day. For the stomach we do around 150 sit ups daily. Now my trainer has advised me to exercise thrice a week as he says muscles require 72 hours to rest and develop and, since I have been exercising for three months, daily exercise is not required. He has also advised me to take steam baths to make the muscles more bulky. Please let me know if what my trainer has said is true. How does steam bath benefit, how can I reduce my stomach and how should I plan my workouts?

A:Your instructor is right in saying that different muscle groups should be worked on different days. You would basically require workouts with heavy weight. Always follow a low volume high intensity workout. This is best done under supervision. You may combine this with aerobic exercises where you train at roughly 60%-80% of your heart rate. Weight training has three components: intensity (weight), frequency (how often) and duration (how long). These three have an inverse relationship with each other. If one component is decreased, increasing one or both the others can compensate. For example, if you exercise less often, that is decrease the frequency, you can increase the duration and intensity. To devise a proper program for yourself, you should keep the following three principles in mind: 1. Overload Principle: This means that the strength and size of the muscle will increase only when the muscle performs at its maximal strength i.e. when the muscle is brought to a state of fatigue. 2. Progressive increase in resistance: This increase is continued until desired strength is achieved. 3. Breakdown and repair principle: Excess resistance creates a micro-injury in the muscle fibrils. After stopping the exercises and giving it rest, there is a phase of repair in which the muscle undergoes increase in size and strength with incorporation of protein substances in the muscles. The order in which the muscle groups should be exercised is as follows: First upper legs and hips, second chest and upper arms, third back and the posterior aspect of legs, fourth shoulders and posterior arms, fifth lower legs and arms, sixth abdomen, seventh anterior aspect of arms. Three times a week is ideal. As a rule of thumb, 48 hours should elapse between sessions. It is always better to vary the weights. To maximize the muscle mass low volume, high intensity exercises are best. Use different weights for different muscle groups depending on how comfortable you are with the weight. For example, you might be able to do a dumbbell curl with 2 kg. weight, but you might find it impossible to do lateral raises with the same weight. Do not push yourself. For burning one kilo of waist fat, the abdominal muscles would have to create an output of 7000 cals and for that you would have to perform 10 thousand sit ups. Yes, showers will have a loosening and relaxing effect on your muscles.

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