Strength Balance Benchmarks (part 1)

balanceHow balanced is your strength training program? Do you spend equal time on building power and muscle endurance? Do you work evenly through the entire range of motion for each major muscle group? How about making sure opposing muscles are comparable strong? Have you intentionally developed a particular ratio of strength between primary and assisting muscle groups for major movement patterns? All these issues are important aspects of building muscle capacity that is efficient, synergistic and minimizes risk of injury both in training and everyday use of those muscles.

First we’ll start with power and endurance. These are the two primary muscle capabilities. In short, power forces a door open and endurance cleans out your attic. You need both and can train for both. Here’s how:

1. At least every other week (if not every other workout), assuming there are no orthopedic limitations or other high-intensity training medical restrictions, target individual muscle groups with heavier weight for just a few repetitions. You should use very strict, controlled form, but keep positive (the more difficult) phases of the lift to one second or less.  Release the load at about half that speed. The load you’re using should get you to failure within three to six repetitions. End with a final 10-second release to create an aggressive dynamic stretch and to fully exhaust the muscle.

2. With the same frequency as the method above, do some combined, short, high-intensity work that combines multiple muscle groups like medicine ball, sandbag or squat presses. You can also add reverse lunges to shoulder presses, biceps curls and triceps extensions. Just be sure to use lower weight than you would for a normal 8-12 repetition failure rate for that exercise without the lunge and cut the depth of the lunge if you’re struggling with balance. Keeping the core firm is also critically important to protect the low back.

In the next few posts, I’ll cover the other strength balance benchmarks I listed above.

Learn more about how to get and stay in great shape? Contact Dan at Tri Valley Trainer


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