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Workout Advice: Becoming Sexy Not Stocky

Written by Paul Wolf

If you've avoided weight training because you're afraid of bulking up, never fear the sleek body workout is here.

If you're afraid of weight training because you fear you will bulk up, the solution is easy: Avoid the techniques that bulk you up.

So says Dale Wagner, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at Southern California College. He says there is a good reason bodybuilders perform sets of 10 reps with moderate to high intensity for three, four or more sets. That's the most efficient way to encourage bulking, or hypertrophy.

Typically, some of these sets may be done to "failure," that is, to total exhaustion of the muscle. Recovery for each muscle group may take place over a period of several days or even a week.

Bulking and strength are only partly correlated, says Wagner. Powerlifters may have smaller, yet stronger muscles than bodybuilders, who are strong but more interested in aesthetics.

Here's Wagner's advice for working your muscles without developing the thick-necked football player look:

1. Stick with one set. "You can get tremendous fitness benefits from one good set," says Wagner. Warm up first; then focus on slow and proper execution.

2. Super-size your sets. Lower the amount of weights and increase your reps. Do three sets of 20 reps with a lighter weight, and you'll be able to work on form, endurance and the strength of the muscle.

3. Go light. With light weights you'll steer clear of muscular failure and avoid turning into Franco Columbu's body double.

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