According to Tyrone Bell, BPI Sports Training Expert and Legion Training founder, you need to maximize the effectiveness of every minute you spend in the gym. It’s what Coach Tyrone calls Optimal Training and it produces the maximum amount of stimulus for change, in the most economical amount of time possible.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing critical pointers and tips from Coach Tyrone on a number of classic exercises. He will show you how to turn average exercise stimulus into results-producing stimulus, helping you get the maximum effect from every single rep. Let’s start with back training:
LAT PULL DOWN EXERCISES:
Where your elbows travel, the load goes: When it comes to a lat pulldown, your elbows have to travel straight down by your sides to put your targeted muscle fibers under stress.
What you move first, takes the stimulus: To ensure you put the largest percentage of the weight that you’re lifting through the targeted muscles, you have to initiate the movement with those particular back fibers first. If you wait for other muscle groups to kick in, the load will be shared with other muscle groups. When performing a lat pull down, make sure you contract your scapula fully before anything else moves.
Fight the bar: During a lat pull down, try to pull the bar apart throughout the movement as you pull down. Doing so will engage the muscle fibers, it will help pull your chin up and lengthen the spine for an effective full contraction.
CLOSE-GRIP CABLE DOWN EXERCISES:
Where your elbows travel, the load goes: When performing a close-grip cable down exercise, your elbows should travel straight back to hit the targeted muscles. Make sure to sit with a straight back and not lean back so that you engage the correct muscle fibers.
What you move first takes the stimulus: When starting a close-grip cable down, you need to retract the shoulder blades fully before the secondary assisting muscle groups kick in and finish the movement.
Fight the bar: Visualization for this exercise is key. Simply row the close-grip handle back into you, as if the bar is at either side of you. This visualization will help you push your chest out throughout the close-grip handle bar exercise.
STRAIGHT-ARM PULL DOWN EXERCISES:
Where your elbows travel, the load goes: In this case, where the load goes is all dictated by body angle and the angle of the cable in relation to the elbows because the flexion at the elbow joint is not existent. How far you stand from the cable tower will place the load through different fibers in the lats. The different angles to your body will vary where the hardest tension points are throughout the movement. For the most part, you want to make sure the hardest tension points of when your elbows travel through are at a 45-degree angle mark from your body. Make sure to engage the scapula first to ensure muscle fibers in your lats are taking the biggest load.
Fight the bar: Don’t forget to visualize pulling the bar apart to help engage the target lat muscle fibers more from the very beginning of the exercise. Keep the tension through the movement, especially when traveling the 45-degree angle mark.
We hope this helps you optimize your next gym session! Stay tuned for Coach Tyrone’s Critical Training Tips: Chest, coming soon!
Tyrone Bell is a member of Team BPI Sports.