How to perfect your strength training regime

This is a compilation of notes and quotes regarding strength training – in the gym, on foot, cycling – for the purpose of general fitness, weight reduction, and aesthetics.

To begin - have a varied workout:
“Create your own complete workout by including four components every time you train: push (bench press or pushup), pull (chinup or row), knee-dominant (squat or lunge), and core. “If you include each emphasis—regardless of the exercise—you’ll experience balanced improvements.” (

Try Outdoor Circuit Workout for ab-exercises that don’t need equipment:
  • Vertical Leg Crunch
  • Bicycle Exercise
  • Bird Dog Exercise
  • Long Arm Crunch
  • Reverse Crunch
  • Full vertical crunch
  • Plank on Elbows and Toes

Exercise the entire body to lose weight in one area:
“Despite what you think, ab exercises are not the number one thing you need to do for flat abs. In fact, getting flat abs requires hard work, commitment and something else you have no control over: cooperative genes.

The only way to get flat abs is to lose body fat and you already know what that requires:

1. Regular cardio exercise

2. Strength Training for the ENTIRE BODY (treating the abs just like any other muscle in the body)

3. A healthy, low-calorie diet“ (

  • “Doing ab exercises to achieve a six-pack is an impossible goal
  • The only way to see your six-pack is to reduce your body fat
  • The best way to reduce your body fat is with cardio, strength training and a healthy, low-calorie diet” (

“[Do] not devote all of your time to ab training in your quest to get leaner and better looking abs. Instead, to get much better results faster, devote the majority of your time to multi-joint exercises that work a larger quantity of muscle (larger portions of your body and larger muscle groups) than ab-specific training.” (

Running is a good workout; however a few people commenting that the problem is knee injury for overweight people. So the lighter that you are, the safer that it is to go jogging.

The most important thing in cycling is just getting the miles - and reserve one, maximum two days for doing a real hard-core, intense ride (like hill sets). On the weekend, do a long, cruisy ride:
“In the training practices of elite athletes by looking at the distribution of their training intensity. Several studies show extremely large portions of training occurring at fairly low intensity, with just a small percentage of training actually occurring at a high intensity.” ( )

Work on getting rid of body fat, and then you will actually be able to appreciate any work on abs that are otherwise hidden:
“When people ask me how to go about getting six-pack abs, they usually start talking about all of the crunches and other exercises they spend hours every week performing without seeing any tangible results. My first response is that they most likely already have a reasonably developed set of abdominals if they’ve been training for some time. Their abs are just covered by excess body fat. That is really what people are inadvertently asking me when they ask what they need to do to get visible abs; what they really need to focus on is reducing their body fat.” (

To lose weight through gym work, do so slowly, with focus on form, and remember that time spent out of the gym is as important as time spent in – for resistance training continues to pay dividends long after your workout:
“Proper body positioning is essential to maximal development of the abs while protecting your back from injury.

You don’t have to spend a half hour or more every day training abs. You can complete an intense abdominal training session in about 5-10 minutes during your workouts ... I recommend doing your abdominal training at the end of your workouts [2-3 times per week] to assure that you don’t pre-exhaust the abs

Your RMR [resting metabolic rate] accounts for approximately 60-70% of the calories you expend on a daily basis, while your activities account for approximately 20-30%, and the thermic effect of food accounts for approximately 10%.

Generally, it is considered safe and more effective in the long term to lose only 1-2 lbs per week. If you lose the weight slower, you will generally be able to maintain more muscle. = 0.5-1.0kg.

The more muscle you lose through excessive dieting or excessive endurance cardiovascular exercise, the lower your RMR will go.

Your RMR is increased to a greater extent and for a longer period of time by doing the full body workout comprised of multi-joint lifts compared to the cardio and single joint exercise based workout.” ( )

“Machines are far less effective for getting results than good old-fashioned free weights.” ( )

While time on the bike is important, don’t be always going hard. Instead, concentrate one’s effort into quality efforts:
“Our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to consider in your training.” ( )

Having a body that is more attuned to speed than duration can result in a more appealing look:
“Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?” ( )

Having tall peaks, as well as deep troughs, is beneficial for one’s body as well:
“Highly variable intensity training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss).” ( )

Periods of intense exercise are as valuable in running as well as cycling:

“Wind sprints or hill sprints are the ultimate in variable intensity training and will get you ripped and muscular in no time flat. If you’re in good enough shape to sprint, always sprint instead of jogging. Trust me…your body will look much better for it!”

“A 20-minute high intensity interval training session is much more effective than a 40-50 minute boring steady pace cardio session.”

“Most people respond best to training 3-4 days/week.” ( )

Getting ripped requires disproportionate effort to the rest of one’s routine. Generally, men need to get below 10-11% body fat to really start to see the abs - they really pop out at 7-8%:
“That last 20 [pounds] is an unqualified bitch! If you keep lifting it could take another six months because of the muscle mass offset.”

“So, bottom line, if you are warming up, exercising, stretching, and then cooling down in a sensible and controlled manner, at a level appropriate to your fitness, the chances of injuring yourself are very small. People who ignore this are where the horror stories come from.” (

While it is possible to incorporate Strength and Core training into our time on the bike, going to the gym – particularly to use free weights – is a very important. For one thing, it can be a valuable component of long-term weight reduction as it increases our resting metabolism:

“Your RMR remains elevated for up to 1-2 days following a strenuous anaerobic training session (weight training, sprints, and other high intensity exercises).” ( )

Going to the gym also helps one build one’s stamina, and as a means of getting ripped:

“To really get to the next level with your fitness, I’d highly recommend you eventually join a gym, or at the very least, invest in a stability ball, and a set of adjustable powerblock dumbbells.” ( )

When going to the gym, however, apply the 80/20 rule:
“Faleev has summed up his approach as “Nothing extra!” In one sentence, it is about doing only four things: the squat, the bench, the deadlift, and competing regularly. That’s it. The system the Russian had developed for his strength and size breakthrough could have come out of The 4-Hour Workweek. Among Tim Ferriss’ tools for getting the most out of life is Pareto’s law. The essence of the law is that 80% of all results come from 20% of the efforts. Applied to muscle and strength, it means, if most gains will come from the three powerlifts, why waste your time and energy on curls and close-grip benches?” (

Training for competition actually makes our training twice as effective:
“With a powerlifting meet date looming on the calendar, many an athlete have accomplished more in six months than others have in many years.”

“It is the author’s contention that the growth of human muscular tissue is related to the intensity of exercise; increases in strength and muscle-mass are rapidly produced by very brief and infrequent training, if the intensity of exercise is high enough.

It is the author’s second contention that increasing the amount of training is neither necessary nor desirable ... on the contrary, a large amount of high intensity training will actually reduce the production of strength and muscle mass increases.” (

Photo by MANNOVER - André Ramírez