Grow by stimulating the most muscle fiber possible. Exercises have electromyography (EMG) scores. EMG scores give an indication (through the level of electrical activity) of the degree of muscle activity going on. High levels of EMG are associated with high forces and a greater number of muscle fibers being recruited. An ideal workout would consist of exercises that have high EMG scores. A list of EMG scores for some of the more common exercises is listed at the bottom of this page:
You may notice exercises with higher ratings seem to be the ones that are more difficult to perform. Doesn’t it make sense that exercises that are the most productive are the ones that are the hardest to do?
The other important component to consider when stimulating maximum muscle fiber is the arc of flexion. This consists of three positions (mid-range, stretch, and contracted) that combine to constitute a full range of motion.
Mid-range movements train the bulk of a targeted muscle and typically use heavy weights. They are synergistic, meaning more than one muscle structure works together, with the target muscle as the primary mover. The squat is a mid-range exercise for the quads, and assisting in the movement are the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and calves.
Some of the best mid-range movements for each body part are:
Hamstrings: stiff-legged dead lifts (also a stretch movement)
Lats: wide-grip chins to the front, behind-the-neck pull downs
Delts: dumbbell presses
Chest: bench presses
Biceps: barbell curls or close-grip under grip pull downs
Triceps: lying extensions or close-grip bench presses
Stretch-position movements train targeted muscles at their maximum point of elongation. An example would be incline dumbbell curls for the biceps.
Here’s a list of stretch-position exercises for each muscle group:
Quads: sissy squats
Hamstrings: stiff-legged dead lifts
Calves: donkey calf raises
Abs: cable crunches with low-back support
Chest: dumbbell flyes
Mid-back: close-grip cable rows
Delts: incline one-arm laterals
Biceps: incline dumbbell curls
Triceps: overhead extensions
Contracted-position movements train targeted muscles at the point of complete contraction with resistance. Leg extensions for the quads would be an example.
Here’s a list of contracted-position exercises for each muscle group:
Quads: leg extensions
Hamstrings: leg curls
Calves: standing calf raises
Abs: full-range crunches
Chest: cable flyes or pec deck flyes
Lats: stiff-arm pull downs or pullover machine
Mid-back: bent-arm bent-over rows
Delts: lateral raises
Biceps: concentration curls or double-biceps cable curls
Triceps: one-arm push downs or kickbacks
Use exercises with higher EMG scores, and at least one each of a mid-range, contracted, and stretch movement to stimulate the maximum amount of muscle fiber during a workout. You’ll see the difference next time you step on stage!
Chest Shoulders Back
Incline Barbell Press 95% Barbell Press 90% Barbell Row 92%
Decline Dumbell Press 94% Dumbbell Bent Laterals 85% One Arm Dumbell Row 91%
Incline Dumbbell Press 91% Dumbbell Seated Laterals 83% Chin Ups 91%
Flat Dumbbell Press 87% Cable Bent Laterals 77% T-Bar Row 89%
Flat Barbell Press 85% Incline Dumbbell Laterals 66% Lat Pulldown 86%
Flat Dumbbell Fly 85% Barbell Laterals 63% Seated Rows 83%
Cable Side Laterals 47%
Standing Leg Curl 82% Quads Donkey Calf Raise 80%
Lying Leg Curl 71% Hack Squats 95% Standing 1 Leg Calf Raise 79%
Seated Leg Curl 58% Squats 92% Standing 2 Leg Calf Raise 68%
Stiff-legged Deadlift 56% Leg Press 72% Seated Calf Raise 61%
Barbell Preacher Curls 90% Skullcrushers 92%
Barbell Curls 85% Kickbacks 70%
Having a strong mid-section can alleviate lower back stress that can result from being sedentary.
It’s not necessary to perform thousands — or even hundreds — of repetitions of exercises in order to strengthen the abdominals. Once an activity for the abdominals exceeds about 70 seconds in duration, it becomes a test of endurance rather than strength.
A preferred exercise for the abdominals is the
Are your reps getting
Too busy to go to the gym? The gym comes to you. You can work out on your lunch break, or at any time of day that fits your schedule. No more excuses!
When you work out at home or in your office with an in-home personal trainer, you don’t have to compete with anyone, dress up for anyone, or work out to impress anyone. The focus is solely on you and achieving your goals. No more excuses!
Many people already have equipment at home, and don’t want to join a gym (and shouldn’t have to!) You may own exercise tapes that you don’t watch (or ONLY watch, and don’t actually participate.)
You have probably researched about weight training, and have a basic understanding of what to do, but you’re not doing it correctly or effectively. That’s why having a personal trainer is a great option.
Having an in home personal trainer work with you can teach you how to safely and effectively use the equipment you have, motivate you (when you have the time and resources and just don’t do it anyway) and keep you accountable right in your home to improve your fitness and health.
Please let me know what your thoughts are in regards to putting your thoughts into action.
Certified Personal Trainer
Operator/Owner-Zach Dirr Elite Performance LLC
The actual source of energy used by the muscles in running or any other kind of activity is ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate). It can be generated either aerobically or anaerobically (with or without oxygen). All running events use a combination of the two systems. Distance running, which we will define here as any event over 1 mile, primarily uses aerobic metabolism; but it is important to understand the contributions from anaerobic metabolism.
Anaerobic Energy Sources
Anaerobic energy sources are used at the start of exercise and when the intensity of exercise is greater than that which can be supported by the available oxygen supply using aerobic sources. The point where this occurs is called the “anaerobic threshold”. It occurs at a pace near your 2 mile race pace or about 10% faster than your 10 K race pace (0.9 x 10K pace/mile). The anaerobic threshold is not an immediate transition from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism but is more like the point where the anaerobic contribution increases rapidly with intensity.
There are two sources of energy in the anaerobic system, the phosphate system and the lactate system. The phosphate system consists of small stores of high energy ATP and Creatine Phosphate (CP) in the muscle. The phosphate system is the primary system used in events taking 10 to 20 seconds( short sprints). When the store is exhausted, additional energy must be generated to replenish the phosphate pool or keep the muscles working. The stores can be regenerated and used over and over again.
The lactate system utilizes glycogen (sugar) stored locally in the muscles and remotely in the liver and the glucose present in the blood. The higher the energy requirement the more the local stores in the muscle are favored. Anaerobic glycolysis or the breakdown of the glucose quickly for intense exercise results in the formation of lactic acid. Lactic acid is often thought of as a “waste product”. In the presence of oxygen, however, it is easily converted to ATP and becomes a fuel. There is also evidence to suggest that lactic acid can be shuttled back and forth to other muscle groups via the bloodstream. Lactic acid may not accumulate if the intensity of the exercise is low enough for it to be oxidized to make more ATP. When the rate of production exceeds the rate of removal, the lactic acid begins to accumulate, bloodstream pH level, (acidity), rises and the muscles do not function as well and begin to “burn”. An example of the result of lactic acid accumulation is the “tying up” of the 800 meter runner the last 100 yards after starting too fast. Examples most of us have felt are the burning from too many sit ups (lactic acid in the abdominal muscles) or the quadriceps burning felt when bicycling or running up a steep hill.
Aerobic Energy Sources
At exercise intensities below the anaerobic threshold, energy conversion is primarily aerobic. The energy for aerobic metabolism comes from two sources glycogen (muscle and liver glycogen, blood glucose) and fat. Aerobic glycogen conversion is the most readily available source of energy and the primary energy source up to about 30 minutes of exercise. After 30 minutes, fat has been mobilized from fat stores and becomes a major contributor. There is always a combination of glycogen and fat usage with the relative contributions at any time determined by the intensity of exercise. More intense exercise will tend to burn more of the most readily available fuels, first muscle glycogen, then liver and blood glycogen and finally fat. As the intensity of the exercise decreases, a higher ratio of fat is used. At paces more than 30% slower than your 10K race pace (1.3 x 10K pace/mile), you should be utilizing the highest ratio of fat for fuel.
There is a finite storage of glycogen which can be increased somewhat through training. These stores will run out usually after 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours of hard running. On the other hand, there are nearly unlimited supplies of fat making it the fuel of choice for longer events. One pound of fat contains enough energy to run over 50 kilometers (31.2 mi). Fat, however, cannot be easily metabolized without the presence of muscle glycogen. Therefore if muscle glycogen levels are badly depleted, fat is available but cannot be utilized leading to a drastic drop in performance (“hitting the wall”). This is why it is important not to start too fast in long training runs or races and “waste” your muscle glycogen stores.
At lower intensities more glycogen from the liver and bloodstream can be utilized. This spares some of the important muscle glycogen stores so that efficient aerobic metabolism using fat can be maintained for a longer duration. In ultra-marathon events liver glycogen depletion has been observed indicating that ingestion of sugar or sugared drinks may be necessary. There is evidence it will enhance performance in marathons.
In exercise lasting over 4 hours, protein may be broken down, first from muscle enzymes and then from muscle tissue itself, to make the necessary glycogen for fuel. This method of energy conversion is extremely inefficient and the body’s last resort for survival.
The ability to perform work with our muscles is dependent on our muscular composition and our muscular fitness level. There are two major types of skeletal muscles: slow red and fast contracting. Slow red muscle, because it has lots of blood vessels to carry the nutrients, lots of myoglobin to transport oxygen and lots of energy factories known as mitochondria, consumes oxygen well and generates ATP or energy with aerobic metabolism. Because of its aerobic ability and its resistance to fatigue, this is the primary muscle type of the long distance runner. Slow red muscles tend to be long and thin, note the slender legs of most marathoners.
Fast contracting muscle may be either white which uses the anaerobic phosphate or lactate energy systems or red which has the same characteristics as the slow red, but can use either anaerobic or aerobic metabolism to work. Note that fast white muscles usually are those that can hypertrophy or get big and are the primary muscles of body builders, sprinters and jumpers. People with a high percentage of fast white muscle fibers do not perform well in endurance events.
With a couple of exceptions which are mentioned below, we are born with a muscle make up consisting of a fixed ratio of both kinds of fibers and cannot change it. The most notable exception is that fast red muscle may be converted to use either aerobic or anaerobic metabolism through appropriate training. Some studies have shown that ultra-distance runners who have broken down huge amounts of muscle tissue during strenuous events rebuild with slow red fibers. This would be considered a rather extreme way to alter muscle makeup, however.
Training Requirements for Events
Aerobic endurance training makes major changes in muscles. It increases size and the number of mitochondria, (ATP factories), as well as the amount of enzymes they produce. It also increases the amount of myoglobin and the number of blood vessels, which enhance the ability to get remote fuels to the muscles. These changes occur in red muscles not in white; they, therefore, generally increase aerobic metabolism and may actually decrease the ability for anaerobic metabolism. Remember that we always use a combination of both, but you must look at your major energy needs to see what kind of training is best for you.
Training programs for any event should utilize a base building period, during which stamina is increased before any rigorous specific training is done. The specific training is only half of the training regimen; the other half being easy recovery days during which actual adaptation takes place. Here are some specific training requirements for the energy systems for various events.
This subject has been written about 1,435 times. As often as it has been written about, the basics haven’t changed.
I thought this was a good topic to write about because during my last few group runs their were people sucking wind like we were trying to out sprint some great runner for $1,000, first prize. Hello? Isn’t it called ‘base training’ for a reason? Base, meaning bottom, similar to foundation. Isn’t a foundation something to build off? At least I thought so.
Aerobic training early in the season should be done at an easy effort. There are basically 4 training zones for the heart. The first is your aerobic zone (60-75% of your max HR). The second zone is the endurance zone (75-85% of your max HR). The third is called the anaerobic zone (85-95%of max HR). The fourth zone is the red line zone which is 95% of max HR, and where most of us need to never go. We are after all, endurance athletes. Red line zones are for sprinters and the like. So that leaves us with the three zones for us to train in.
The second zone is what I call the NBZ, or No Benefit Zone. If your time is constrained like most multi-sport athletes with a mortgage to pay, a spouse, 2.3 kids and a 70-hour workweek, then this zone is not for you. If you are an elite athlete with all day to train while everyone is working his or her 70-hour week then it can be beneficial. But for the average fitness enthusiast who is trying to get their workout done between walking the dog, washing the car and keeping their better half happy, then you don’t belong here. There is this famous Gold Medallist marathoner who once said, “On my fast days I run fast, on my slow days I run slow.” Where does he mention running in between speed? He doesn’t and heck, if it’s good enough for an Olympic Medallist, it’s good enough for me. So that leaves us with two zones: Aerobic and anaerobic.
In order to go faster later in the year you need to build that aerobic base up accordingly. Anaerobic workouts are done after we have built our aerobic base for a period of 12-16 weeks. As high-end fitness enthusiast, we tend to be the over compulsive type-A personalities who have about zero patience. I know my first few training runs of the year I am chomping at the bit to get back into shape as fast as possible. I try to remember this little tid bit while my training partners are hammering each other off the front: No races are won in January and February, but plenty can be lost. In other words get the base down, become more efficient and get faster this year.
So how are we going to do this? I usually advise high-end fitness enthusiast to add 10% to their long run each week for three weeks and then run about 80% of your week three long run on the fourth week. For example if you start out running 90 minutes in week one, 100 minutes (+/- 10%) week two, that would mean 110 minutes in week three. This would leave us with running 85 minutes in week four (110 x 80% +/-).
Use these same guidelines for cycling training too. I add about 15 to 30 minutes to my long ride each week. Try to keep your heart rate steady for these workouts, making your body more efficient and faster in the long run. You can allow yourself one day a week of higher end aerobic training but still not in the 75-85% effort range.
The No Benefit Zone shouldn’t have any place in your life. On top of that nobody remembers how you did on that training run in January but they’ll remember how you kicked butt all summer long.
Zach Dirr Elite Performance LLC
Antioxidants: Vitamins C & E
Benefits of Vitamin C
1. Reduces generation of free radicals following exercise (preventing muscle and immune-system damage).
2. Works synergistically with Vitamin E (enhanced effects).
3. Recommended dosage: 250-2,500 mg/day
Benefits of Vitamin E
1. Improves circulation.
2. Relaxes leg cramps.
3. Promotes tissue repair.
4. Inhibits oxidation of free radicals.
5. Enhances oxygen utilization and protects other vitamins from destruction by O2.
6. Improves the body’s response to injury.
1. Source of energy for white blood cells and other immune cells.
2. Plays a vital role in maintaining the gastrointestinal system.
3. Body levels become lowered after endurance exercise.
4. May lessen the effects of overtraining.
5. Strong anti-catabolic effect (preserves muscle mass) because it stimulates the entry of other amino acids in the cell.
6. Recommended dosage is 8-20 grams daily.
Benefits of WHEY PROTEIN
1. Is a by-product of cheese production.
2. Enhances glutathione production (natural anti-oxidant).
3. Shown to boost immune system (highest level of branched-chain amino acids).
4. Exits the stomach faster and thus is absorbed more quickly.
5. Dissolves easily in water!
Benefits of SOY PROTEIN
1. High in branched chain amino acids and glutamine
2. Exert an estrogenic effect (may be counter productive for male athletes, though beneficial for women).
Being actively involved in the fitness, as many of you may be, I am typically surrounded by beautiful, healthy individuals who exude strength and vitality, so the visit to the nursing home was quite a shock. It reminded me of how crucial our quality of life is, and more importantly, that we are in a position to obtain that quality unlike any generation before us.
Many of us are passionate about our fitness, but we should all take time to realize the most important goal of all: overall health. It is easy to overlook in today’s society, which seems to place little emphasis on healthy lifestyles. Instead we as a society take part in living the fast life, consisting of eating fast foods that have no nutritional value to our bodies. We have the ability to control one of the absolute most important aspects of our lives, and we should use it.
There are three areas of health, which I find most important when talking about overall healthy lifestyles. The first is nutrition. We take for granted the information that is out there regarding benefits of low fat diets, but it has not always been common knowledge. Minimizing saturated fats and increasing dietary fibers from natural foods can reduce the risk of many cancers and heart disease. Our bodies can only rebuild with what is given to them to work with, so make is quality! Remember, what your body looks like in twenty, thirty, or fifty years is determined by what you feed it today.
The second area of focus is exercise. Many of us enjoy the weight room but ignore the treadmill of any other cardiovascular equipment, which is a huge mistake. We need a good compatibility with all equipment because by using what is available we can focus in on the five components of health. We must pay attention to the heart and the muscular system for complete wellness.
The third aspect of your healthy triangle should be abstinence from drugs and other chemicals that can negatively impact your longevity. The single greatest factor is smoking. If you smoke, you will die. It is that simple. You are depriving yourself from living a healthy lifestyle, and that’s the truth. After smoking the most commonly abused drug is alcohol. Not only is it hell on your system, but the factors accompanying it are bad too.
What are you without your health? Pay attention to the foods you eat and the methods you use to work out, and avoid unnecessary risks. Take some time to sit down and work on your goal setting, what would your long-term versus short-term be? As a part of the fitness community, it is our responsibility to be an example of good health practices.
Zach Dirr Elite Performance
According to an article in On Fitness Magazine’s volume 10 number 6 2010 issue, alcohol raises estrogen and lowers testosterone levels in the body. Yes, men do naturally have estrogen in their body, but not nearly the same amount as do women. Drink alcohol and you’ll risk an estrogen increase that can interfere with muscle growth.
Alcohol inhibits protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is necessary for muscle development.
Too much alcohol depletes the body of vitamins and minerals. Adequate supplies of minerals and vitamins are needed to nurture muscle development and maintain those developed muscles. Also, alcohol promotes dehydration.
Alcohol interferes with fat loss efforts. Alcohol has seven calories per gram, and will fight your efforts to get six-pack abs. Some people’s idea of “moderation” is a six-pack of beer every day. Instead, drink occasionally, and only a little bit at a time.
So do you want a six pack of abs or a six pack of beer?
Zach Dirr Elite Performance
1. Start right.
-Immediately after getting out of bed, consume a 40 gram whey protein shake. This will help stop your muscles from cannibalizing themselves for energy.
2. End right.
-Casein protein can help you maximize muscle repair and growth while you sleep. This slow digesting protein provides you with a steady intake of amino acids to your screaming muscles for hours after you hit the pillow. Try anywhere between 30 to 40 grams before calling it a night.
3. Prioritize protein.
-Considering the intense muscle breakdown you’ll endure on any program, you will need to make sure that your protein intake is a hit higher than normal to ensure proper repair of that specific tissue. Goal here is to consume 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight per day.
4. Water, water, water!!
-This is an easy one to skip for most people, but remember that nearly every process that occurs in the body is regulated by water intake. As someone who is in the gym working hard, you need more than most to keep your muscles functioning at full capacity and getting your vitamins, minerals, and other proper supplements where they need to go.
Zach Dirr Elite Performance