Thursday, March 1, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 11: Plyometrics

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 11

Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Shoulders, Forearms, Pull-ups, Walking, Stretching.

How do you build muscle mass by only doing body-weight exercises?  Plyometrics.  As I said in a previous article, if you want to build mass, you want to make your muscles 'give out' between about 8 and 12 reps.  With body-weight-only exercises, you may be doing 30 push-ups right now; this is giving you endurance, and it is improving your muscles' fitness, but it's not building much mass.  Instead of doing 2 sets of 30, do as many sets of 10 as you can; during these shorter sets, push as hard as you can!  For example, doing push-ups, pretend you are trying to push yourself into a standing position.

The harder you push, the more tension you are putting on your muscles.  This is simulating heavier weights.  Not only will this make you stronger (i.e. more force; much more than doing high reps, ex. 30 push-ups in a set), but it will also give you POWER (i.e. force exerted quickly).  It's analogous to amps vs. volts (if that helps any!...).

Did you know?  If you want toned muscles but no mass, it's a myth that you should do high reps!  In reality, you want to build muscle tension; this is what gives muscles their firmness.  To do this, you should keep your reps to around 5-6 per set at full force, and maybe only do 3 sets or so.

In a previous link, it mentioned HIT training (High Intensity-Interval Training).  There are different takes on this, but essentially the component of HIT that makes it work is the full-force plyometrics you're doing.  It can build any/all of strength, power, and muscle mass.  It's often practiced in full-body exercises which help to coordinate and train your body for real-life strength (stay away from isolation exercises unless you're trying to sculpt a particular look for aesthetic purposes only).

As a last note: if you haven't tried the Ab-wheel (and stuck with it for a few weeks), I highly recommend it.  After only 6 ab sessions I'm seeing/feeling my abs turn to stone, and I'm not even half-way to where I used to be in college.

Ok, get moving!  Comment below to let us know how it's going.

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