Muscular Strength & Endurance - Creating a Fun and Effective Program

Building muscle doesn't have to be tedious or boring. All it takes is a little planning and creativity.
 
As fitness professionals (as well as for many enthusiasts) we understand the basics of muscular strength and muscular endurance training. Many trainers create a plan working the larger muscles before the medium sized muscles, and then the smaller muscles. That’s fine. It’s recommended with an Outdoor Fitness program to save core work for the end. That's because working outside, maneuvering over the irregular terrain requires support from the deep stability muscles of the core - at all times. So in general, it's a good idea to save the core exercises towards the end of the workout.
 
Create an Exercise Library
Have a selection of exercises for specific body parts, as well as total body moves. When selecting exercises, inspire the participant by pointing out the purpose of the exercise and how to make it most effective. For example, "The upright row is great for strengthening the upper back and the rhomboids between the shoulder blades. Plus, it is a great exercise for improving posture."  You could add, "Stay with the count. The slower you go, the more muscle fiber you will recruit."
 
Design Your Resistance Training Program

Body Weight and Gravity
Select exercises such as squats, lunges, tree sits and triceps dips.
 
Pushing Exercises
Exercises such as push ups, one-armed chest presses, and the overhead press, use the body’s “pushing muscles.”
 
Pulling Exercises
Choose exercises such as pull-ups, low rows and biceps curls to challenge the body’s pulling muscles.
 
Combination Exercises
Develop exercises for the lower body and an upper body at the same time (with stability coming from the core). For example, combine a full-body lunge.
 
Compound Exercises
Create two exercises out of one repetition such as a row to a triceps kickback.
 
Achieve Balance - Work Opposing Muscle Groups
Achieve muscular balance by working opposing muscle groups. For example:
•    Hamstrings/Quadriceps
•    Erector Spinae/Abdominals
•    Pectoralis/Trapezius
•    Biceps/Triceps
 
Training Techniques
 
Vary the Tempo
Vary the count of an exercise. For example, for a squat, use a 3:1:3 counting sequence:  Three counts down into the squat, hold for one count and continue with three counts on the return trip up. For a walking lunge, try a 3:2:1 combination:  Three counts down, hold for two, and one count up.
 
Resistance Progression
Increase the resistance as the number of repetitions is decreased. Start with a set of 15, add resistance for a set of 12 repetitions, add a bit more weight for 10 repetitions, etc.
 
Holds
Hold a position for a set amount of time such as the “Hover” held for 1 to 3 minutes.
 

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