How Often Should You Exercise?
The human body is a strong, resilient tool, but it needs consistent training, every day, to maintain the skill level that you give it, and this is why training every day is really important.
It doesn’t matter what type of training you do, whether it’s running, calisthenics, weightlifting or bodybuilding, the premise remains the same: to allow the body to adapt to the stimuli placed upon it.
If you want bigger muscles, then you need to lift weights more often.
If you want to build a base line of strength to just be able to deal with the everyday abilities you need, such as doing housework, walking to the shops, getting into your car, hanging with your kids, then calisthenics should be all you need.
If you want to really excel in your fitness and lift large amounts of weight, then weightlifting could be a good start.
There is no right or wrong with what type of exercise you do, it’s entirely up to you, but you do need to be consistent.
When you perform an exercise, your brain is developing neurological connections with the muscles, developing better communication so that the muscles become stronger, more conditioned and able to perform the exercises easier.
That is the physiological side of training, then there is the physical aspect of training, the feeling of sore muscles and wear and tear, these are the things we need to take care of, the recovery of our muscles, tendons and ligaments, these are important tissues we rely on for movement.
There are a few movement patterns that we need everyday to get around safely and to exercise safely, these are the hip hinge and the squat.
The hip hinge causes movement at the hips, where the femur and the acetabulum move around one another, allowing complete freedom of movement at the hips.
The squat is a simple knee bend exercise, allowing the use of the thigh muscles to lower to the ground and back up again.
There are other movement patterns as well, but it depends on the context.
What we really need to do, as individuals, is perfect these 2 movement patterns before anything else.
Included in these 2 movement patterns is also the ability to brace the abdominals. To brace the abdominals is to bring air into the stomach to contract the surrounding muscles, causing tension in the stomach and basically stabilising the spine. This is done to create a sturdy torso to protect the spine from any damage.
How To Progress
There is a concept within the fitness industry which basically says to add more weight or stress to an exercise to get better at that exercise, this is known as progressive overload.
Let’s take a squat for example, which trains the quadriceps muscles. Your quadriceps will be a certain size, and when you start to squat with a certain amount of weight, they will increase in size.
Say you start with a 20kg barbell and you squat for 3 sets of 15 reps, your legs will grow slightly when they recover from the exercise.
Next time, you squat with 25kg for 3 sets of 15, and your legs grow some more.
This is how progressive overload works, and it can be applied to any exercise.
Developing Toned Muscle Through Progressive Overload
As I said before, progressive overload helps a muscle grow in size, because when we move weight with a muscle, the brain orders more muscle fibers to work, so we end up recruiting more muscle fibers to push more weight.
This means that a whole muscle group is going to get bigger in size and indent the skin, to give a more toned look to that part of the body.