You may have heard your trainer talk about the “eccentric phase” of an exercise – this phase takes place when a muscle is under tension while it is lengthening; for instance, the eccentric phase of a bicep curl occurs when you are lowering the weight down whereas the “concentric phase” takes place when you are lifting the weight up.
Since we are able to produce much greater force eccentrically, we can stress our muscles more to stimulate muscle growth and increase strength gains more efficiently compared to the concentric phase
Mountain climbers are an extremely efficient compound exercise. They are a great way to get some cardio in during (or after) your session as well as targeting the core, hip flexors, legs, arms and the shoulder area. In addition to developing the core, this full-body workout can also reduce belly fat and increase overall cardio endurance.
There are many variations of the mountain climber exercise. You can perform mountain climbers at a fast pace (for fat burn), place a hold on the knee raise (for more of a core focus), or perform them from your elbows instead of hands, at an incline, etc.
The great thing about mountain climbers is that the exercise requires no special equipment and can be done almost anywhere, within reason of course!
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The February issue of our monthly e-newsletter – The Fitness File – came out this week! This issue covers the following:
- the benefits of exercise on our mental health
- fitness tip: push, push, push it up!
- nutrition tip: are you overcooking your veggies?
- club news: studio closure, commit to fit, cardio package and testimonials
- staff spotlight:Michelle Wong (Head Trainer)
- Q&A: what can I do for a stiff neck?
Check it out here.
Starting a fitness program can prove challenging with so many people wanting to jump in right away without fully understanding their fitness level, strengths and limitations. Without properly identifying what you need from your program or how much your body can physically handle, you greatly increase your chance of injury. While this may not concern you, consider how an injury can further delay your progress in achieving your goals – not to mention other costs (financial, physical and emotional) associated with recovery.
If you’re already active but looking to increase your program’s intensity you should prepare for a gradual progression to ensure your chances of success. Increasing intensity too quickly can be counterproductive as you risk overuse injuries like tendonitis, bursitis and fasciitis. Your body needs time to adapt to new demands and requires ample rest and recovery between workouts.
Many experts suggest following the 10% rule, increasing your activity – intensity or time – by no more than 10% per week. For instance, if you are performing 10 squats one week, progress to 11 the following week.
Many people become quite comfortable with their workout routine and are – understandably – quite reluctant to introduce changes; however, it is always a good idea to incorporate new exercises to keep things interesting and help avoid hitting a plateau (a point in which your body is no longer progressing and has hit a standstill).
One simple way to avoid a plateau is by increasing your current exercises’ difficulty/intensity, keeping the same general program but modifying the exercises themselves. One way you can do this is to reduce the weight being used while increasing the reps being performed. Another option is to incorporate stability-challenging equipment, such as stability balls or suspension cables. For instance, push-ups can be performed using either piece of equipment and will force your body – particularly your core – to work much harder given the ‘instability’ of the equipment being used (as shown in the above photo).
In order to use such equipment properly and safely, it is important that you know how to properly activate your core so please speak with your trainer before incorporating stability-challenging equipment into your workout.