Monday, August 20, 2012

Strength / Conditioning / Skill Training I - Home Gym



Song:  The Voice

Artist:  Celtic Woman


As there is much I want to say...
I must break this subject into many articles.

If you have not already read my previous article explaining basic strength training:

Explanation of sets and reps...basic weight lifting schedule

This first article will be on the Home Gym...
the actual equipment necessary to effect the desired changes
in the body...in a safe, efficient, and effective manner...
and to do so with relatively little cost.

I will explain the actual exercises in much greater detail
in subsequent articles.

Alex has not lifted much in the past year because of focus on other
concerns.  He was facing a battery of tests and exams...and so
we concentrated on academics.  Sadly, we had to cut way back on
music and physical training.

Alex is now in the position to train more...
and so...the Home Gym.

I have only the most necessary pieces of equipment...
each of which allows the strengthening and conditioning of the
largest muscles of the body (and their tendons and ligaments).

This is KEY...
the largest muscles of the body.

By stressing these muscles...
you are training true athletic strength.
You are training your body to get power from the ground up...
in a coordinated fashion.  All of the supporting muscles must work in synch...
and there must be as little tension as possible in the other muscles in the body...
especially in the antagonist muscles (opposing muscles).

As there is limited time in the day...
and there is limited energy to give...
I have designed Alex's workout to maximize strength...
while offering conditioning and skill training.

In later articles...
I have taken pictures of Alex using each piece of equipment...
and I will explain their usage.

First...
the Home Gym
(I will be placing this same picture multiple times for quick reference).




First of all...
notice there are free weights...
and basic barbells.

I must stress that strength training is completely different from 
"modern body building".

Strength training uses lower reps for multiple sets...
with the goal of improved athletic performance.

I will explain each piece of equipment and give approximate prices.

As you notice... this portion of garage floor is separated into 6 basic areas
(the grid pattern).

I will start out with rectangle number one...
the near left with the heavy bag...
and work clockwise.

Ok...
the free weights can be bought almost anywhere...
complete with a standard 45 lb. barbell
 (the long straight 7' bar which holds the free weights)...
for about $1.00 a lb.

Not only do you NOT need machines...
free weights are superior for athletic performance.
It is a simple matter of working your body as a unit...
all the supporting muscles in a coordinated fashion.

Machines work the body in parts...
just the opposite what you wish to achieve for athletic performance.

Machines are also expensive.



Next...
the heavy bag.

The ability to strike an object repeatedly not only builds 
skill and stamina...it satisfies a primal urge to vent frustration...
in a very vigorous fashion.

They have free standing bags and hanging types.

If you have the room...
a free hanging one will last far longer...
and costs about the same...even with the stand.

You will need to buy at least a 100 lb. bag so it won't swing out so much.


In the next rectangle...on the far side...
is the Olympic Barbell.

Get only the Olympic style bar (rotating outer bar which is larger in diameter).
The bar will rotate independently from the weights...eliminating torque...
which could be injurious in some instances.

A 350 lb. set with the Olympic bar can be bought for approximately $300.00...
or on sale for $150.00.

The strange trapezoidal bar in the center of the picture is 
a Gerard Trap Bar.  I used to have Alex lift this from a raised position
to build his lower body.  However, I now wish to transition him to standard 
Dead Lifts and Squats (I'll explain them later).  There is a special conditioning 
exercise in which the Gerard Trap Bar is particularly suited (later explained).
The bar costs about $330.00 delivered...and while it is not necessary for basic exercises...
for one particularly valuable one...it is.



You will also notice the large White Board on the wall.
It allows a complete schedule to be written to keep track...
and to motivate.  I shall be writing down Alex's exercise schedule on it soon.


The next rectangle up (upper left)...
on the left is a Roman Chair.

Although it may be used for abdominals...
I use it primarily as a hyperextension chair.

Hyperextensions are actually used as a therapeutic exercise
to strengthen and rehabilitate the lower back.
It is a VERY important exercise for core strength.

One may be had for around a $100.00.


The next piece of equipment is the most valuable piece of equipment
after the basic Barbell and free weights.

It is the Power Rack (about $350.00).
It is a free standing safety cage to protect the lifter from injury
 in case of a missed lift (no need for spotters).

 The side bars are movable and lockable...
as are the Barbell supports.  Another use of the Power Rack is 
the ability to do partial lifts for extra tendon strengthening. 
It also has a pull up bar as part of its design.




The next piece of equipment is inside of the Power Rack.
It is a bench for bench presses.  

One may be had for $100.00.

However...as you never wish to lift outside of the safety of the cage for 
the bench press (or the squat)...
you only need a flat bench...one WITHOUT the bar support arms.

The next piece of equipment is the grey H shaped object (upper right).
It is a Dip Support (under $100.00).
As Alex is still too young to use it...he won't be demonstrating it.

I have a weight belt to hang weights from the body for weighted dips
 and pull ups ($30.00).


The last piece is the adjustable incline abdominal board
(prices vary...$100.00 to $350.00).

I got this because it was the highest quality one I could find...
heavy solid steel with rugged material covering the board.

It shall be used for life...it is that important.

Never mind crunches...or any abdominal machine.
This is the only piece for abdominals you will need.

The greatest boxer in history...
Muhammed Ali...
used to train his abdominals on one of these with a 10 lb. weight...
for multiple sets of a hundred...
enough said.



One very good piece of equipment which could easily take the place of the 
heavy bag...is the curved shield ($30.00 - $60.00)...
however...if it is for yourself...
you will need someone, of at least equal mass, to hold it.


If you have a limited budget...
and limited space...
by just getting a Barbell set...
you may do just one exercise and exercise the largest muscles of the body
in the most dynamic fashion...
the Clean and Jerk.


In my next article...
I will go over Alex's Strength / Skill / Conditioning schedule.

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