If you haven’t seen the Planet Fitness ad campaign, you’re missing out. There is a great ad with a bodybuilder getting a tour of the gym. The employee asks the man what he does for a living. His response is, “I lift things up and put them down.” It’s his response for everything! Now lifting may seem that easy but there are actually a lot of things going on when you lift weights. Knowing the movements involved in a lift can help you perform the lift better, therefore getting a better and more productive workout. Also, it helps you realize how much thought and planning went into P90X and X2.
There are three types of muscle action: concentric, eccentric, and isometric. In concentric action, the muscle contracts and shortens (think picking up a weight – “I lift things up.”). In eccentric action, the muscle lengthens in a controlled manner (think resisting the lowering of a weight – “I put them down.”) The third action shows very little visible action: isometric. In an isometric action, the muscle neither shortens or lengthens. The muscle is still contracted, just held in a fixed state. It is important to remember that a muscle can only contract. It can only get shorter. That is why your muscles are paired with each other in an opposing fashion. The bicep contracts and pulls your arm in and then your triceps contract and straighten your arm out.
Knowing about these three movements can be powerful in getting the most out of your lifts. Focusing on the concentric action allows you to make sure you are contracting your muscle to lift the weight, as opposed to cheating and using momentum to swing the weight up. In the eccentric part of lifting, concentrate on lowering the weight in a controlled fashion. These movements are especially important with bands. Control the contraction and squeeze the muscle and then slowly release.
Just think about how these movements and actions are incorporated into P90X and X2. Tony is consistent in reinforcing form, pointing out what “cheating” looks like, that little bit of “body English.” He cautions about bands in X2 as well, to not use them as “rubber-bands.” Without getting into the specifics, Tony is reinforcing the focus that is needed on both the concentric and eccentric portion of the band movement. I think the best example of all three movements is in Crazy Eights. There you hold one arm in an isometric action while the other arms gets to work. Or the ultimate isometric fun, WALL SQUATS! The science included in the Beachbody workouts is pretty incredible. You think you are just following along and Tony has you using all three types of muscle action to get the best results possible. Awesome!
So next time you are doing a bicep curl, tricep extension, or push up, think about contracting your muscle fully. Then focus on releasing that muscle in a controlled fashion. Then repeat for a healthy 8 to 12 reps. I know you’ll be telling yourself, “I lift things up and put them down.” But in reality, you are doing so much more for your muscle and strength development than you even realize!
Hey Coach, I love your website! I wanted to get started doing either P90X or Insanity. I know eventually I will be doing a P90X/Insanity hybrid, because I really want to build muscle. But initially for my first round I would really like to get into the sort of shape to play soccer. Would P90X put me into that kind of shape, or should I start with Insanity, then move on to P90X to build muscle later on?
Corey, I always recommend P90X. Building muscle has so many advantages to just cardio and body weight only exercises. Insanity is great and really intense. P90X just has more advantages. See: http://teamripped.com/p90x-vs-insanity
great article.. One of the the techniques I use to think more of this is using bands and weights at the same time. That way you are getting the full benefit of the body weight or weighted exercise at the bottom, the full benefit of the band at the top and the tension of both tensions in the middle ;)
Yeah Dave, a buddy in Misfits turned me to Creapure. It was like 40 bucks but the tub has lasted four months so far and is about half way empty. It'll be worth your budget. Money and calories.
Hey Coach Wayne/TeamRipped! I hope this question isn't too off topic for this article, but I'm kind of piggybacking off of the exchange between Coach Wayne, TrainerDave, and Josh. I focus intently on form for all the exercises, but for whatever reason, my left pec has ALWAYS been a little bigger/fuller than my right. It's really not that noticeable, but I was just curious if anyone else had a similar issue and if there's a correct way to approach making pecs more symmetrical/similarly sized. FYI - My right bicep and tricep are slightly bigger than my left... not sure if that's pertinent, but figured it might be.
Ollie, again these thing even out in time, but it is also the way you were made! My abs are asymmetrical and there is no changing that. Focus, especially on push ups, to keep you chest parallel to the floor. Don't allow your left side to beat your right. Keep it level.
If i get it it would be bidy fortress creatine from walmart due to my budget. I dnt really like it cause of the high sugar and carbs but i thought it would help draw fluid to my muscles. if u were in my shoes wat would you do and what would you get. Thanks in advance
Dave, Walmart should have plain creatine monohydrate. Look for Creapure (great stuff). They'll probably have ON Micronized Creatine. That will be straight creatine.
Holy Cow!! Crazy Eights = Static Arm Curls = Pain! :) Wall Squats... serioulsy Coach! I don't want to think about legs, after my BodyBeast Leg workout today! Great post and info though, Thanks.
Hey coach I have a quick question. Im thinking about starting creatine for my second and third months and Im wondering how to structure my post workout nutrition around it. Currently after my workouts I drink one scoop of whey in water, with 1 large banana. 30-45 mins later I eat one cup of heart to heart blueberry with one cup of soy milk. If I start the creatine should I cut out the soy with heart to heart? The creatine is high in carbs and sugar so I dont wanna go over my carbs by doing both. Im jus a little confused because since its post workout Im not sure if I continue with the soy and cereal along with the creatine? or not. My main goal right now is reducing body fat. What do you think
Dave, what creatine did you buy? I always go with straight creatine monohydrate. No carbs or sugar. Or Kre Alkalyn. Did you get Celltech by chance? If so, drop the banana and use it as your post workout shake.
Coach - Great article! You're right, we follow the program as is, but after reading your article, I will now be focusing on these movements while working out, great write-up! :)
@josh...Coach is right. Use the lighter wieghts for a couple of weeks. Your left bicep isnt weak at all. Its the left side stabalizers in your back that are the problem. This is not uncommon at all. I had to use the lighter wieght even though I could curl more because I had to strengthen my back stabalizers also. It doesnt take long jus use the lighter weights for a couple of weeks and concentrate on keeping yourself perfectly upright. A lot of peoples back muscles are uneven due to improper posture so since your body will compensate for the improper posture one side of the back may be stronger then the other. But dont worry like I said it only takes a couple of weeks of really paying attention to your posture to correct it. Hope this helps
BTW I was a member at Planet Fitness until they got on to me for dropping a rubber weight on a rubber mat. I was like huh? are you serious? I didnt really like the idea of pizza day anyways. And whats up with all the candy at the counter. I hated that commercial because they called themselve the judgement free zone but the commercial seems to judge this big guy. To me it implied that muscle bound big dudes are dumb. And then they lead him out to the parking lot...judgment free zone...what a joke. I go as a guest sometimes to help friends out and I look more fit then half the peeps in there. P90X BABY!!!
Dave, I've heard of that at Planet Fitness. Flips that judgement back around. If people can get fit their, more power to them. But I'd prefer to did at home with the best programs and trainers around!
Great article coach. As a trainer I try to really emphasize on form because in reality it is the most important part of any type of training. When I develope programs for clients the first 4-6 weeks is called the foundational period. This period is where I really emphasize core training and proper form because you cant build a house on an uneven foundation. People who train without proper form are pretty much garanteed to get injured. The worst part is that they end up injuring a stabalizer muscle which is very painful no matter what position you try to get in in order to relieve the pain. The stabalizers are what you train in the foundational period. They are mostly located deep under the major muscles. So you can imagine how painful it is. Once your stabalizers are properly trained you can then properly utilize the three different contractions during training. This is why ab work and core training are vital. Have you ever strained a rhomboid? It is so painful that it makes it hard to even take a deep breath. Thought this article was great. Keep Bringin It everybody. David Smith LVN,CPT
Hey coach, when i do certain exercises (such as bicep curls), i use a little bit of "kipping" for my left arm because it is weaker. Should i just use a lighter weight and use good form with less burn on my right side or stick with the same weight but just do a couple more reps on my right side (because it is stronger). Thanks in advance. Josh
Josh, I would lighten up a bit. Let your arms even out, it won't take long. Then you can push both harder.
I like that ad. Funny. Too bad the "Judgement Free Zone" really does kick people out for grunting or being to big because it, "makes others uncomfortable". That why I like Beach Body stuff. Do it at home and don't get yelled at for trying too hard. (:0P
Proper form is a constant struggle. And in Body Beast is key. I have seen many people using "momentun" to lift heavier but I think that causes more damage than good.