Monday, December 3, 2012

Friends Don't Let Friends Skip Leg Day

I've mentioned before my frustration when people tell me that they want to do more of a "bodybuilding"-type program - even more so when I see the glossy magazine articles that focus on leg extensions, dumbbell curls, tricep pressdowns, and so on.  Not because I have a problem with those exercises, per se (though you're never going to see me use them... just don't have time for it) but rather because many people focus on the singular muscle groups at the expense of the bigger picture.  In fact, one of the most common weekly breakdowns that I see is a three day-a-week program, with chest and biceps being on Monday (dudes LOVE this day), back and triceps on Wednesday (the dudes will usually throw in a set of bench press on this day as well) and leg day on Friday.  And frankly, they usually skip Fridays because squats are really hard and they hate working legs and nobody really needs to see them because they can just wear pants anyway.

But to take this away from strictly my opinion, allow me to refer to the godfather of bodybuilding - Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I read his biography a few weeks ago, and being the training geek that I am, focused heavily on learning what sort of training routine he used - particularly because I have so many clients tell me that they really just enjoy bodybuilding.  So you can imagine my joy to learn that actually, Arnold (and all of those guys, actually) utilized some of the staples of strength training - deadlifts, power cleans and squats.  Yes, they did the isolated muscle training - that's what their sport required - but they did that inclusively with the full body training. 

So if you only have 2-3 hours a week that you can get into the gym, use your time wisely - utilize the lifts that are going to give you the greatest bang for your buck (and that are within your capabilities, of course)... squats, deadlifts, pull-ups and standing overhead presses, along with their variations.  Why these?  Because they all require integration of your core, they all require coordination, and they all build full-body strength.

Oh, and skip the crunches entirely.  But that's a whole other blog.


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