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Combine exercises for major muscle

A woman training in a gym.

I get asked regularly how to make measurable progress on the gym floor as efficiently as possible (or, to put another way, how to add muscle or lose weight as quickly as possible). My advice at such times is in principle always the same; follow a training programme that suits the goals of the individual in question, train in a structured way and follow a healthy and sustaining diet.

As part of this, and specifically where weight training is concerned, my advice is also to intelligently combine exercises into groups that work the major muscle sets in a complimentary way. This enables energy to be expended as efficiently as possible and for the body to develop in a fashion that is balanced and delivers measurable results.

For example, when proceeding by combo’, two exercises can be undertaken one after the other or in a rotation of alternate repetitions, with a focus on the back and shoulders, or biceps, triceps and chest muscle groups. Both of these major sets of muscle groups are close physically and work together in the course of a typical active day, so exercising them together is both a logical thing to do and plays to the natural engagement of the mind to the body during a typical 12 hour period.

When exercising in this structured way, my advice is also to not do so in a repetitious way until exhausted (this is not Cross Fit training, for example), but to select exercises that are complementary but different, and to work to a measured outcome.

When exercising arms and chest, for example, combining bicep curls with tricep extensions, together with a chest press and pec’ deck fly exercise works well - as these offer different exercises which target complementary parts of the major muscle groups.

Similar complementary combination routines can be created around the shoulders and back, as well as the legs and glutes’, enabling the whole body to be thoroughly exercised in a structured and mentally engaging fashion, whilst also delivering those all-important and measurable results.

Which is, at the end of the day, the name of the training game, is it not?


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