Ok so philosophy might be a little bit over the top… but I promised awhile back to write about my views on certain exercises- why I do some and why I don’t do others.
So I am adding in really embarassing posing photos to prove my point… but It needs to be said I feel like such an idiot posting photos of me flexing!
So my fitness background is this:
I have always been concious of the need to exercise and be fit and healthy. I started way back when with home videos of Billy Blanks and Taebo and I used to go with my parents to the gym in the morning before school! I didn’t really know what I was doing and kinda messed around. Then when I finished school I went to live on a horse farm to study horsemastership and didn’t work out AT ALL… unless you count cleaning 5 stables every morning, riding 4 horses every day and all the stable chores that came along with it all.
Basically my real fitness journey started when I was 20. I joined Les Mills ( of bodypump fame) and got really into the group fitness classes. Bodypump, body attack and RPM were my favourites and I was there 6 days a week. One of the body pump instructors had the MOST AMAZING figure… I was like- I want a body like her’s! I went up to ask her if she did personal training and she did.. and thats how I got into bodybuilding. She was a figure competitor and thats how she trained me and if there is one thing I thank her for this day its my weight training technique. She taught me amazing form. She also said to me one day… how do you think you;re going to build the muscle you want with all the cardio you are doing? ( Cardio EVERY DAY) I never listened… I carried on doing cardio for YEARS ( and would live to regret it and understand what she meant a few years later…) a little longer down the road I started running half marathons ( and although I had managed to build a little muscle before, I proceeded to lose it all and just become skinny). After about a year with my personal trainer I moved gyms, finished university and studied to become a personal trainer myself. I still trained bodybuilding style and carried on that way until I moved to Israel in 2009. I actually moved here with an injured knee and couldnt workout AT ALL for about 6 months. Then, because I had no gym- I started doing bodyweight circuits and running stairs for cardio – I didn;t want to push my knee by running distance anymore and thought stairs might be good. I got a whole group of girls to come with me while we were living in an immigration centre and that was our morning ritual for awhile.
‘ thought running stairs might be good’
WHAT A FREAKING UNDERSTATEMENT
Suddenly I noticed that with NO GYM and NO cardio except for running stairs… my figure started coming back ( coz I had put on about 10 kgs – you can read this story here , and of course had lost my muscle from all the stupid running), and not just coming back.. coming back A MILLION TIMES BETTER.
Why??? because I was doing FULL BODY COMPOUND MOVES ( think pushups, body rows, lunges, step ups, squats and dips) and HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING.
So here are some dumb posing photos: not the greatest photos and bad lighting but you’ll get the idea..
Triceps: How i got them? certainly NOT by doing tricep kickbacks, pushdowns or any other RIDICULOUS isolation exercise.
How to get TRICEPS:
pushups. and all the wonderful variations. I could actually stop there. But there are also great things like dips, bench press, tricep pushups.
I do NO Bicep curls. NONE.
I DO chinups, rows ( and all the millions of variations), clean and jerk, snatch, pullups
Shoulders: I do:
Shoulder press, clean and press/ jerk/ snatch/ pushups, pull ups, chin ups, rows, bench press… news flash!! Compound upper body moves WORK YOUR SHOULDERS!!! you don’t need to isolate them!
And just to prove I don;t look like Arlene Schwartzenegger when I’m not flexing….
I have been doing a more bodybuilding style training for the last couple of months ( generally I like to work the body as a whole.. but I also like to change up my training style), with NO CARDIO AT ALL… those pictures are a reflection of what WEIGHT TRAINING and WEIGHT TRAINING ONLY can do.
My splits go like this:
Legs- Heavy which DO NOT include ANY leg extensions or hamstring curls OR calf raises. I think those exercises are STUPID.
1. they are not functional… maybe calf raises are if you are short like me and you go to London on holiday and have to stand on your tippy toes to see the changing of the guards, But other then that- if you do PLYOMETRIC work- you don’t need to do calf raises.
2. Leg extensions in my humble opinion are dangerous. I know physios prescribe them.. but really- think about it. having a weight at the VERY end of your leg with only your delicate knee joint to move it…no thanks.
3. and what is that move ANYWAY?? I know I said it already… but honestly.. what is that move??? who does that in real life?? NOBODY. Its dumb. If you do squats and lunges and squat jumps and cool things like that- you don’t need leg extensions.
4. Hamstring curls… er… again. WHAT IS THAT??? Who does that move in real life??? and hands up if you have realllyyy flexible hamstrings? er whats that.. none of you do? yes- 95% of people ( totally made that statistic up) have TIGHT hammies so why on earth would you want to make the problem WORSE with a stupid move like hamstring curls?? do DEADLIFTS people!!!!
J-Lo brought the big butt back… thank goodness! Check out this AMAZING WORKOUT for the booty…
wow. that turned into a bit of a rant. moving swiftly along…back to the exercises!
Legs- plyo and a lighter weight
– lots of jumping about- GREAT for your calves – no need to do calf raises. Think burpees, weighted burpees, jump lunges, squat jumps… the list can go on for ever.
Back and biceps:
I do big compound moves like i mentioned earlier… pullups, chin ups, rows, and all their weird and wonderful variations. If you are doing those moves… your biceps are getting a workout! You don;’t need to stand and do curls. Unless you want to look all cool and badass.. actually if you want to look badass do some pull ups.
Chest and triceps:
Again.. the big compound moves that give you more bang for your buck… bench press, dumbell press, tricep dips, pushups, and all their weird and wonderful variations.
And what I have been adding in lately is actually a shoulder day ….more for fun really, and i stick to compound moves… over head press, rows ( shoulder height), things like that.
Plus.. for extra fun I do some olympic lifting.
Having said all that… if you WANT to waste your time doing bicep curls and tricep kickbacks… go for it. If you like leg extensions…I’m sorry you really should break up. Its not a healthy relationship. Get out now while your knees are still alive.
Anyways… If you LIKE isolation exercses then go for it. I’m just saying you dont need it. I like doing flyes… I know its not going to get the greatest results.. the results come from the pushups and dips and presses. But I like flyes so I do them. Do whatever exercise you like- but be aware and TRAIN SMART!!!!
I do my training in cycles, I really love bodybuilding but I think overall.. the most sensible way to train is my doing full body workouts. The golden rule will always be CHANGE. I change my training style every couple of months, bodybuilding/ circuits/ full body/ crossfit/ sprints/ no cardio etc… and each workout is always different- even if its a difference of one exercise. I NEVER do the same routine.
You are most welcome to disagree with me…. I’d love to hear your opinion! Each to their own and whatever works is great. These are my conclusions after 8 years of training.
Happy training 🙂