A Minimalist Guide to Building Muscle
When it comes to exercising there always seems to be a shortage of time and an abundance of excuses. This is true for any age group but especially for those who are reaching midlife. Children have to be taken care of, bills paid, and careers pursued. For this group time is really an issue. Here is an exercise regimen that builds muscle, burns fat and requires less than one hour per week.
First, understand the basic principle. Abandon the belief that to alter your body,and lower your risk of diabetesanddepression through regular exercise you will need to spend hours at the gym. Do multi-joint exercises with heavier loads and you will spend less time working out.
Here is a strengthtrainingtechnique adapted from The 4-Hour Body by TIm Ferris. Using this method I gained ten pounds and added an inch to my biceps in less than four weeks. More importantly I get appreciative stares from women in their twenties.
The secret behind this technique is finding your one rep max, or in layman’s terms how much can you lift just once. To calculate your one rep maximum perform a set of five repetitions with one minute of rest. If you are able to do the exercise easily increase the weight by ten pounds. Continue doing this until the weight is too heavy for your to do five repetitions and then calculate 70% of your last set in which you were able to do 5 reps. This will be the weight that you’ll be working with. As an example, you start out with the leg press and can easily do 75 pounds, rest for a minute and add 10 pounds, if you can do this easily as well add another ten, then press, do not go beyond five reps. If the last full set at five repetitions is at 120 pounds calculate 70% of this, which will be 84 pounds. Put 84 pounds (good luck finding a one pound weight, you’ll have to go to 85 pounds instead) on the leg press machine and do 10 reps. The leg press is the only exercise that requires 10 reps all of the others only require seven.
The Pull-Down – Grab the bar with palms facing you and close together. Pull the bar down slowly. It should take you five second to lower the bar to your sternum and five seconds to raise it. Do seven reps
Machine Shoulder Press - Seven repetitions at the same slow and steady pace as above.
The Bicycle Crunch – Twenty repetitions.
The Kettlebell Swing - Find an instructor to teach you how to do a proper swing. Due to the nature of the swing improper posture or technique can result injury. Do 50 repetitions.
The Leg Press- Do 10 reps instead of seven.
Hammer Curl or Incline Bench Press - Do seven repetitions.
Technique: Do the first three exercises on day one at the gym rest for two days and then do the next three exercises.
Repeat this pattern for the first week and then for the second, third, fourth weeks rest for three days between each workout. So this means in the first week workout on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday. Week Two workout on Tuesday and Saturday. Keep in mind it is not important what days you workout but how many days of rest you have between each workout.
There will be no shortage of people to tell you that you are not working out enough, ignore them. You are lifting 70% of your one rep max slowly, this means that you are not using momentum to keep the weight moving, consequently your muscles are under a serious load. If you find the workout too easy it is most likely because you did not properly estimate your one rep max properly or you are moving the weights too quickly.
Reaching midlife doesn’t mean you have to work harder at the gym, it means that you can work smarter. Try this Minimalist Method and see the results.