Four workout principles

Mike Furci has a new column up today on Bullz-Eye with workouts to help you build your back. Check it out the full article for some great back exercises.

I want to highlight one section of the article that focuses on four workout principles. These can apply to all your workouts, and developing habits around these principles will make your workouts more effective and help you avoid injury.

– Do not cheat while performing an exercise. Performing movements without strict form places excessive stress on the connective tissue. When a rep cannot be completed in a smooth fashion, end it. Using other muscle groups, like leaning back to finish a barbell curl, is not stimulating the biceps more. There is absolutely no place for this technique in any program no matter what the level or age of the lifter.

– Avoid using negative-only training. The theory behind using negatives is based on the fact that you can use a great deal more weight during the eccentric (negative) portion of a lift as opposed to the concentric (raising) portion. The theory states that by performing negatives with heavier weight than you can lift with traditional reps, it will elicit a greater adaptive response and further hasten your progress. As anyone who’s performed negative-only training will tell you, it’s extremely demanding and wearing on the body. The inroads to your recovery ability, and the wear and tear made by performing negatives, is very difficult to regulate. The ends do not justify the means.

– No forced reps. A forced rep is performed at the end of a set. As the lifter fails in an attempt to perform the concentric portion of the rep, a spotter helps move it to completion. The lifter then lowers the weight and attempts another rep; when the rep starts to fail, the spotter again helps complete the rep. Forcing a fatigued muscle to do extremely hard work is playing with fire. As with negatives, forced reps — because of the level of wear and tear — is a technique that should be avoided.

– Form over all. I cannot stress this enough. The form you use when performing an exercise is of the utmost importance especially for advanced lifters. This principle coincides with the above, “Do not cheat while performing an exercise.” Once you can no longer move the weight in a smooth controlled manner, end the set.

The first three principles are major don’ts, the last is a major do. All four of the above principles are imperative in keeping from walking that tight rope between training with intensity and injury.

Check out Mike’s columns on Bullz-Eye for great fitness and nutrition tips.