Weekly column by fitness expert Cashel Hayden for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
SO what is exercise execution, some of you may be asking. If we were to generally define it, we could simply say the carrying out of a plan, order, etc. To get more specific to the topic at hand, however, we might define it as the way in which we perform a certain movement/exercise and the resulting stress that is then imposed on the given muscle(s).
This is something I see being absolutely butchered by people each day when assessing different people’s training and looking back at some of my own training over the years! This is something I think we can all say we’ve failed miserably on at some stage when looking back at the quality of our training over the years.
‘These are all guidelines I use myself and for my clients when helping them to optimise their training’
This is not an attack nor a dig at anyone’s training methods or regimes. This is simply something I hope to spread awareness about to people who are willing to listen. This is a topic I feel is often overlooked by many people who train hard and consistently, I might add, but fail to achieve their desired results.
This is something that has been pointed out to me when training with more experienced individuals than myself and has proven quite invaluable when setting standards for myself each session.
So here is a quick run-down for taking your training to the next level. These are all guidelines I use myself and for my clients when helping them to optimise their training and help them reach their desired results.
Key points to consider when looking to nail execution in your training:
Controlling each rep: Eccentric-lengthening, this is usually the lowering phase of a movement as the muscle is pulled into a lengthened position. Then there is the first pause at the bottom. This is closely followed by what we call the Concentric-shortening phase where we move the weight back up by contracting the muscles required of the given exercise. The last phase of our temp can simply be referred to as our second pause. It is here that our muscles are in their shortest position and what some would refer to as the “squeeze” sensation of the given movement. The tempo is shown as four numbers when written into a program; as seen below.
E.g. can be written as 4-1–1-0
-4 sec eccentric (lowering)
-1 sec pause at bottom
-1 sec concentric (rising)
-0 sec pause at top
How much time we spend in each phase will challenge our muscle(s) in different capacities in a more efficient manner.
So why should we bother implementing tempos into our workouts?
Ensures correct form throughout movement. Scientifically proven to improve strength due to having to control the weight in all ranges. Key factor in stimulating a hypertrophic stimulus – the building of muscle mass.
Range of motion
Our range of motion (rom) basically refers to how far we can move/stretch a joint/muscle. Making sure we complete each movement to the end of its range – whether that be eccentrically or concentrically. Making sure that we are keeping tension on the targeted muscle throughout each rep.
Mind muscle connection
Something that won’t click with everyone straight away. In simple terms – focusing on using the muscle through its shortening/lengthening range to control the weight as you move it from A to B. This will help to eliminate the use of inertia and momentum which will usually hinder progress and can lead to injury down the line when form starts to decline as the weight we lift starts to increase. This awareness of our mind muscle connection will usually take some time to develop but will be a driving factor once nailed.
Taking another look at the factors above can only benefit our training and speed up our progression towards our goals. So leave the ego at the door. Drop the weight. Take your training to new heights.
This week’s quote which I feel will help to get my take home message across where we must sometimes focus on the quality of our training, more so than the quantity.
“It is not the quantity but the quality of knowledge that determines the mind’s dignity” – William Ellery Channing
Hope someone out there found this useful, for any questions in relation to this topic or training, nutrition, etc. or for coaching inquiries simply message me on my business page on instagram @coachedbycashel_ or by email – [email protected]