Men's Fitness

Movement Over Muscles

REWIRE YOUR APPROACH TO STRENGTH TRAINING TO FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIAL MOVEMENT PATTERNS FOR MORE EFFICIENT WORKOUTS, REDUCED RISK OF INJURY AND A BODY BUILT FOR PERFORMANC­E

- TURN TO PAGE 38 FOR YOUR TWO-WEEK MOVEMENT-FOCUSED WORKOUT ROUTINE – BUT CHECK YOUR FORM BEFORE YOU JUMP STRAIGHT IN.

Focus on the way you move for maximum gains

ver since the golden age of bodybuildi­ng, the split routine has been king of the training-programme castle. Chest days, back days, leg days and the like have been the go-to approach for most, regardless of their training goals.

But just because it works for bodybuilde­rs, doesn’t mean it’s right for you – because sports science has repeatedly told us that when it comes to health and performanc­e, frequency, variety and volume trump body-part split routines.

If you’re trying to develop both a solid physique and the athletic capability to improve your sporting performanc­e, there’s very little carry-over from ‘chest day’ to the football or rugby pitch, so new training solutions have to be found.

When informatio­n evolves, actions have to follow…

ESPLIT OPINION

e problem with a split routine is that it’s often biased towards exercises you like, so a lot of guys veer towards the feel-good pump of the bench press and bicep curls over, say, squats and lunges. e knock-on e ect is a poorly balanced training plan, leading to strength imbalances and, ultimately, entirely preventabl­e injuries.

ere’s an e ciency element here as well. If you split your training over body parts, you’re focusing a lot of time and attention on one area, whereas a more e cient way to train would be to include multiple muscle groups in the same session. is increases the frequency of stimulatio­n of each muscle, because you train muscles three to four times per week, rather than just once.

e counter-argument is that with a movement-based approach you don’t train individual muscles as hard, but you can still max out and lift to failure in a whole-body workout. Training movements makes your overall training time decrease, but your volume and intensity increase.

“When it comes to health and performanc­e, frequency, variety and volume trump body-part split routines”

MAKING MOVES

To begin with, your training programme needs to contain each of these movements in order to be truly balanced. That allows you to maintain a training intensity without over-relying on single movements or muscles, which potentiall­y increases injury risk.

Now you have an idea of movements, you can look at manipulati­ng load (weight), volume (sets and reps) and intensity (rest periods) to bring about different results. You can do that in a single week by alternatin­g heavy and lighter days, or periodise it into blocks, such as a strength block where you’d only lift heavy. It’s a training approach designed to be as versatile as possible. By taking an overarchin­g view of physiology and how the body moves, you can put together more efficient and effective training programme templates. Rather than focus on, say, a bicep exercise, you would look at upper-body pulling variations where you train your back, shoulders and biceps in one movement. You can still do accessory work such as curls, but these fit in around the compound movements.

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