Exercise Advice: Block Training

18 03 2011

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Since I’ve been eating a large amount of French cheese I put on 4lb in a week, I thought I’d hit the gym to get back into the swing of things. I wanted to mix things up a bit so I opted for 4 blocks of 2 exercises – one upper body, one lower body. I rotated between the two exercises, doing 3 sets of 12 and then moving on the next block.

Block 1 – Cable Row + Barbell lunge

I think it’s important to incorporate some back + lat exercises into your routine as they’re often overlooked in favour of pectoral and arm exercises. This can be counterproductive as it’s important to develop muscles in proportion so that stronger muscles don’t compensate for weaker ones. The barbell lunge is an excellent exercise for athletes as it is concentrated workout on your hamstrings and glutes which if done correctly, will generate extra power and acceleration.

Block 2 – Dumb-bell shrug + Calf raises

In a controlled fashion, roll your shoulders in a forward motion 10 times and then do the same backwards. Snowboarding was an excellent calf workout and since I didn’t want to overwork my thighs, I thought it would add a bit of variety.

Block 3 – Chest fly + Quad extensions

The chest fly is more of a strength building/toning exercise than one which will bulk you up. I’ll alternate this exercise with the bench press to get that combination of definition and bulk. If, like me, you suffer from knee injuries due to field sports, the quad extension will strengthen the supporting muscles around the knee to decrease the risk.

Block 4 – Concentrated bicep curl + Thigh abductor

Of all the bicep exercises, I really think this one is the best. The trick is to avoid compensating with your back and concentrate on pulling up that curl with just that one muscle group. I’ve had great results with this. I threw in the thigh abductor exercise to provide a balanced workout to the legs. I used to do a very limited number of leg exercises, but I think it over-developed one muscle set which caused some discomfort when I ran. Ever since I brought some variety to my leg routines, I have had no trouble!

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