You’re hyped. You just PR’d your deadlift and you can’t wait to come back and lift again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. More workouts, more gains, more PRs, right? Full stop. Is it really a good idea to throw down with a barbell every day? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of lifting weights every day. Benefits of lifting weights every day The main benefit of frequent weight training is increased strength. Stronger muscles: On today’s episode of “state the obvious,” we explain that more weightlifting equals more strength. In all seriousness, frequency might just be the variable you need to tweak in order to get stronger. Healthier bones: Weight-bearing exercise is proven to improve bone density, which is a key factor in your ability to stay active as you age. In older people, lifting weights helps reduce the number of falls and fractures. In younger people, lifting weights is a preventative practice against osteoporosis. Improved endurance: Improved muscular endurance, to specify. Lifting weights often in higher rep ranges (10-plus reps per set) improves the aerobic capacity of your muscles. Better body composition: If you don’t currently lift weights every day (or at all), doing so could be the spark that ignites your metabolism. Weightlifting burns a lot of calories per session, induces post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), and builds muscle, all of which can help you achieve a leaner physique. Pitfalls of lifting weights every day You might find it hard to recover from workouts if you lift every day. Inhibited recovery: Perhaps the biggest downfall to daily strength training is that your body doesn’t get a real chance to recover. This can lead to muscle overuse injuries or issues with muscle imbalances if you don’t carefully plan your workouts. Split workout routines can help skirt this problem, but the truth is, other forms of exercise — or a full-out rest day — can do your body a lot of good. Persistent soreness: Lifting without allowing your body to recover in between workouts spells chronic DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness), unless you carefully schedule your workouts and optimize muscle recovery. Diminishing returns: Lifting weights everyday can cause you to hit a plateau like a brick wall. If you aren’t manipulating variables in your workouts, such as load, volume or range of motion, you’ll quickly find yourself battling diminishing returns. Boredom: If you’re reading this, you’re probably not the type to get bored of working out. But, hey, it can happen to even the most dedicated gym junkies, especially when they perform the same type of workout day-in and day-out. Can you lift weights every day? With a plan, you can do strength training every day. If you implement some basic best practices, you can certainly hit the weights every day and see phenomenal strength, mass and overall fitness gains from your efforts. Just keep these few things in mind to avoid the potential perils described above: Change up your routine. If you must lift weights daily, don’t do a full-body lifting workout every day. That’s a recipe for muscular disaster. Instead, follow a split plan. Follow the principle of progressive overload. Frequency isn’t the only factor influencing your workout results. Your body requires a constant challenge to adapt, which means making your workouts harder is key to presenting plateaus. But, don’t go heavy every day. You don’t need to max out your deadlift, squat and bench every week. Allow yourself some lighter lifting days and you’ll be surprised at how strong you feel on heavy days. Prioritize sleep and recovery. All your hard work is for naught if you don’t get enough rest or optimize your nutrition. Talk to a World Gym personal trainer to learn more about creating a safe and effective daily workout plan. Links for More Information/References National Osteoporosis Foundation: What Is Osteoporosis? Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) | ACE Blog Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) Weekly Training Frequency Effects on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis Effect of Resistance Training Frequency on Gains in Muscular Strength: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis How many times per week should a muscle be trained to maximize muscle hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of resistance training frequency Resistance Training Frequencies of 3 and 6 Times Per Week Produce Similar Muscular Adaptations in Resistance-Trained Men Fatigue and underperformance in athletes: the overtraining syndrome Diagnosis and prevention of overtraining syndrome: an opinion on education strategies
After a long road trip, your car engine takes a while to cool off, right? Your body is the same way: After a workout, it doesn’t immediately return to its resting state. It takes a while to cool down and restore homeostasis. During this cool-down period, your body continues to consume extra oxygen and burn calories even after you stop moving. This is called the afterburn effect, and taking advantage of it could help you make the most of your workouts. Understanding the afterburn Just like a car engine, your body needs time to cool off after a lot of work. “Afterburn” is a buzzword for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPOC). This phenomenon earned its buzzy name because “afterburn” accurately describes what happens in your body after an intense workout. The demands of a workout spur your metabolism to increase in order to produce more energy, which requires increased oxygen consumption and chemical reactions, among other things. When you finish working out, your body’s engine is still revving — now that the work is done, the recovery process begins. To recover, your body continues to consume a lot of oxygen. The excess oxygen you’re consuming helps your body restore blood oxygen levels, replenish muscle glycogen stores, begin the muscle repair process, and bring your body temperature back down to a normal level. All of these goings-on require energy, meaning your body must burn calories to facilitate these recovery processes. Certain types of workouts can keep your body in that post-exercise heightened state for a longer period of time, which can contribute to greater calorie burn after your workout. How to keep burning calories after your workout Follow four simple rules to get the best afterburn. Now you know what the afterburn effect is, but the real question is: How do you actually generate EPOC? All workouts have four main components: Intensity: How hard are you working? Duration: How long is your workout? Structure: Are you doing a steady-state workout or intervals with rest periods? Modality: Are you doing cardio, strength training, or something else? Research shows that the greatest afterburn occurs when: You work out at higher intensities — at least 75 percent of your VO2 max, or about an eight on the Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. You exercise for at least 30 minutes. You do short bouts of exercise (intervals) instead of steady-state exercise. You lift heavy weights or perform weighted or explosive cardio circuits (like our World Gym Athletics workouts). Another factor to consider is novelty. The human body adapts and becomes efficient at performing the tasks it’s used to, so it’s important to add new movements to your routine. This forces your body to perform tasks it isn’t used to, thus work harder, and contribute to a greater afterburn effect. Impact of the afterburn effect The afterburn effect is small but cumulative. Work hard and keep burning extra calories after your workout. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, like most things in fitness, the effects of EPOC have been exaggerated and over-glamorized. EPOC exists, sure, but the impact isn’t as great as most people think. For starters, the level of intensity needed to generate an impactful afterburn is high. That level of intensity hurts, and most people don’t care to work out that hard more than once or twice a week (or at all). Even at a high intensity level, most research shows that EPOC burns less than 100 extra calories per workout. Still, 100 extra calories after four or five workouts per week adds up — an extra 400 or 500 calories burned per week can definitely help you lose weight and get leaner. It really comes down to this: How many grueling workouts are you willing to do each week? To learn more about the most effective types of workouts, talk to a personal trainer at your World Gym. References Comparison of energy expenditure elevations after submaximal and supramaximal running Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption Effect of exercise intensity, duration and mode on post-exercise oxygen consumption High- and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption in men with metabolic syndrome Six Weeks of Moderate Functional Resistance Training Increases Basal Metabolic Rate in Sedentary Adult Women Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption Misconceptions about Aerobic and Anaerobic Energy Expenditure Intensity of resistance exercise determines adipokine and resting energy expenditure responses in overweight elderly individuals
You want to get stronger, faster, more skilled. You see lean and athletic people doing all sorts of crazy moves on Instagram, so you think that must be what it takes. You cherry-pick your favorites and do them in random succession. You have good intentions, but you also have shiny object syndrome. The key to fitness isn’t slapping together every exercise in existence. It’s not about mastering the most complex movements you see on Instagram. In actuality, getting fit is really quite simple — it’s all about this one concept called “periodization.” Why everyone should follow a periodized training plan It’s important to strike a balance between fun and intentional. To understand the benefits of periodization, it’s helpful to know the guiding concepts behind periodized training: Purpose and intent: Random exercise yields random results. Unless you truly don’t care about what you get from your efforts in the gym, you shouldn’t be cutting, pasting, and slapping random movements together. That’s a good way to end up frustrated or injured. Periodized training is intentional. Every workout has a purpose. This element is key — without purpose and intent, your goals play keep-away. When you prioritize periodization, you hop on the fast-track to your goals. Progressive overload: The human body adapts. It’s designed to do so because that’s survival physiology. However, adaptation is a double-edged sword when it comes to fitness. Adaptation allows us to get stronger and faster, but it also leads the body to become more efficient. And in fitness, we want to bust through efficiency plateaus. Doing the same thing over and over again leads to efficiency, thus plateaus. The principle of progressive overload stipulates that the body needs constant challenges and changes to continue adapting (AKA, getting fitter). So, why should you follow a periodized training plan? Because that’s the only way you’ll see continual and significant improvements to your fitness. Periodization in World Gym Athletics The new World Gym Athletics programming focuses on functional movement and progression. World Gym Athletics, our flagship performance-focused workout program, follows a scientifically-backed periodization structure complete with block periodization and linear periodization. The Plan The all-new World Gym Athletics periodized programming breaks up a one-year macrocycle into three phases of 16 weeks (four months). Each 16-week phase is then broken into smaller chunks to keep the focus tight and the workouts intentional. No matter what your training status is, World Gym Athletics coaches can modify and scale workouts to suit your needs. The same goes for athletes who think this might be too easy — promise, we can make it tough. Every World Gym location will implement this new periodized training, so no matter where life takes you, you can keep trucking along toward your fitness goals. And don’t worry about missing a day: This program is designed so that missing a workout here and there isn’t detrimental to your progress. The Phases Prepare: This is where you’ll ease into your new programming. The focus is on biomechanics and moving through full ranges of motion without pain. In this phase, you’ll master important positions such as the squat, hip hinge, and overhead extension before increasing loads. Progress: This is where you grow and improve. The emphasis lies on building strength, improving skills, and increasing endurance to prepare you for phase three. Perform: This is all about reaching your peak. Phase three readies you to perform things you may have previously only dreamed of. Athletes who complete the full cycle will be able to participate in strenuous activities like obstacle course races, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, endurance events, and more without pain or injury. The Workouts Down to the nitty-gritty: Workouts are the meat of the program and what you’ll focus on day to day. Each workout advances our goal of equipping every athlete with the perfect blend of performance and sustainability. We accomplish this by incorporating elements of high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, endurance, mobility, and functional training across the week. Each workout begins and concludes with a discussion, so all athletes leave feeling informed and confident about the program. Feel like the new-and-improved World Gym Athletics is for you? Talk to a trainer or staff member at your World Gym.
Hamstring exercises are an oft-overlooked but extremely important part of a well-rounded training program. You need strong hamstrings for most lower body exercises, especially pulling movements such as deadlifts. Strong hamstrings also increase your explosive strength in lifts like power cleans and snatches. Plus, mighty hamstrings are good-looking hamstrings, and that’s no bonus to overlook. To help you out on your leg-building endeavor, we created this guide to three of the best exercises for your hamstrings. 1. Barbell Romanian Deadlift (RDL) Variations: Double dumbbell or kettlebell Romanian deadlifts Why this is one of the best exercises for your hamstrings: A classic variation of the traditional deadlift, Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) isolate your hamstrings and glutes more than any other barbell movement. How to do the barbell Romanian deadlift: Set up with a barbell as if you’re going to do traditional deadlifts. Use a grip you’re comfortable with. Deadlift the bar to start your first RDL from the hang position. With a slight bend in your knees, send your hips backward and simultaneously lower the bar. Keep the bar path tight — don’t let it stray too far from your legs. Keep bending until you feel tension (but not pain) in your hamstrings. Make sure to keep a neutral spine. Once you reach that end range of motion, squeeze your hamstrings to return to the starting position. 2. Barbell Good Mornings Variations: Resistance band good mornings Why this is one of the best exercises for your hamstrings: Another hinging movement, good mornings mimic Romanian deadlifts but shift the load to your posterior chain. Placing the barbell on your shoulders increases the tension in the lower portion of your hamstrings rather than the gluteus-hamstring tie-in. How to do the barbell good morning: Place a barbell on your shoulders as if you were doing squats. You can take the bar from a rack or power clean it from the floor and press it overhead. Hinge at the hips. Press your hips back, keeping just a soft bend in the knees. When you feel slight tension in your hamstrings, bend at the hips, pressing your torso downward until you reach your end range of motion. Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to return to the starting position. Make sure to fully extend your hips at the end of each rep. 3. Cross-Body Kettlebell Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift Variations: Dumbbell single-leg RDL Why this is one of the best exercises for your hamstrings: This unilateral movement requires extreme recruitment and control from your hamstrings. The cross-body aspect increases the need for balance and stability. How to do single-leg Romanian deadlifts: Hold the kettlebell in your right hand. Plant your left foot and keep a slight bend in your left knee. Shift your hips back and lower the kettlebell, aiming for the floor in front of your left foot. Lower until you feel tension, but only as long as you can keep a neutral spine. Squeeze your left hamstring muscles to return to the starting position. Complete all reps on your left leg before repeating these steps with your right leg. For more fitness advice, head to our guide on how to maximize your workout results and how to get fit as fast as possible.
You know you need to work out to stay healthy and fit. But do you know how hard you should work out? Many people think they need to work out at the highest intensity possible every day, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your weekly workout routine should contain a healthy mix of high-, moderate-, and low-intensity physical activity. Heart rate training is a valuable tool to help you hit all those different workout intensities. In our World Gym Athletics programming, we use heart rate training to ensure every athlete is getting the most out of their workout. Here is how you can start using rate training in your workouts. Why you should try heart rate training During World Gym Athletics workouts, your heart rate monitor allows you to stay within your optimal intensity range for the day. Heart rate training provides real-time feedback about how hard you’re working during exercise. This means you can adjust your workout intensity based on your goals for the given workout. That, in turn, means you can set and achieve specific, data-driven goals for each session. For example, if you want to go for a recovery run, wearing a heart rate monitor can prevent you from running too fast on your easy day. The same concept applies to high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, and other forms of exercise. How to start heart rate training Heart rate training is simple with a monitor like MyZone. Well, first you need a way to measure your heart rate. If you wear an Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, or other type of smartwatch, you already have a way to do so. Chest strap heart rate monitors, like MyZone, use electrocardiogram technology and tend to be more accurate than wrist-worn devices that use optical tracking, so if you want to get serious, go with one of those. Arm straps are another good choice, but they also use optical tracking. Once you have your device of choice, it’s time to put it to use. Heart rate training is all about beats per minute (BPM) and how close your BPM is to your max heart rate during any given workout. Heart rate training utilizes five heart rate zones, all of which correspond to a certain percentage of your max heart rate (MHR). Each zone elicits a different response from your body. The five heart rate zones Use these five zones to achieve a desired outcome from each workout: Very light effort: 50 to 59% MHR Light effort: 60 to 69% MHR Moderate effort: 70 to 79% MHR Hard effort: 80 to 89% MHR Very hard effort: 90 to 99% MHR Calculate your heart rate zones A World Gym Athletics coach can help you calculate your max heart rate. To find your heart rate zones, calculate your max heart rate. For World Gym Athletics, we use the Hunt Method: 211 – (your age x 0.64). For instance, if you’re 25 years old, you would multiply 25 x 0.64 to get 16, then subtract 16 from 211 to get 195. With 195 BPM as your max heart rate, your heart rate zones approximately come out to: Very light effort: 97 to 116 Light effort: 117 to 135 BPM Moderate effort: 136 to 154 BPM Hard effort: 155 BPM to 174 BPM Very hard effort: 175+ BPM As a caveat, the formula isn’t appropriate for everyone. Beginners may need to adjust their estimated MHR down. A World Gym Athletics coach can help you do this. Staying in an optimal heart rate zone during workouts ensures you don’t over-tax your body, but you push it when it’s time to get intense. To learn more, talk to a coach at your World Gym.