B is for… Balance!
Balance is one aspect of fitness that gets completely overlooked.
We have all seen the guy who skipped leg day, and we all know the person with the six-pack but know back muscles to speak of. Not only does this not an impressive look, but it puts us at an increased risk of injury too.
It’s all about that relationship of muscle length and muscle strength. Hence the importance of flexibility exercises. Ligaments, which attach muscle to muscle, and tendons, which attach muscle to bone, must be flexible enough to withstand both loading and torque on the joints.
Simple dynamic stretching before a workout, or some beginners AM/PM yoga can be a super benefit to the workouts we are already doing. Here are a couple YouTube clips that provide examples:
Dynamic warmup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJydnAMvhck
Yoga for beginners: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNT0Hmu6OYs
There is no “exact ratio” for strength training, but here are a few good rules of thumb:
- For every two abdominal exercises, so one low back exercise.
- When you work the shoulders, work the upper back too.
- Remember to use proper form- if it’s a hamstring exercise but you’re quads are doing all the work, something is wrong.
- If you work biceps, work triceps too.
- Keep an equal ratio of quad to hamstring exercises on leg day (which you’ll never ever skip, right?!).
- A little junk in the trunk is OK, but don’t neglect the booty!
- Calf raises are not for wimps, they’re for people who want strong calves.
- The amount of time you spend lifting should ALWAYS exceed the time you spend checking yourself out in the mirror.