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Come with us if you want to lift! The latest installment in the most revolutionary sci-fi franchise of all time – Terminator: Genisys – is barreling into theaters. We’ve looked to the past to prepare for the future, specifically, on how to perform better in the gym. Here are a few lessons we learned from cinema’s most badass cyborgs.
Working out to exhaustion over and over and over can lead to the inability to adequately adapt to your workouts, meaning you won’t make any progress. Plan a recovery week every 3-5 weeks into your cycle, during which you perform your lifts at half-reps, lighter loads, to increase your rebound energy moving forward.
It’s called “warming up” because doing so increases your body temperature, increasing the blood flow to your muscles, and reducing the potential for devastating muscle and connective tissue injuries. Even a 5-10 minute cardio session prior to heavy lifting will put you in a much better position to peak.
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends stretching each of the major muscle groups at least twice per week, for about 60 seconds per exercise. Static stretching before exercise can actually decrease your performance, so keep your limbering up limited to dynamic movements before you dive into your routine.
Commitment to a regular workout regimen will go a long way. Many experts suggest that specific times of day can affect your workout efficiency as well. Morning workouts require a little extra warm up time because you’re just coming from a resting state, while afternoon workouts catch you when your body temperature is increased, your reaction time is quickest, and your heart rate and blood pressure are typically low.
Stats show that people who work out solo achieve their fitness goals less than 50% of the time. However, working out with a partner increases the probability of success to a whopping 95%! The moral of the story? A workout buddy will keep you motivated, accountable, and safer during your fitness journey.
Cardio is for sissies and soccer moms, right? Wrong. See, when you do any sort of cardio training, your body burns energy in the form of carbohydrates first. Then fats. Then proteins. To preserve and build muscle, you want to integrate cardio with your lifting in ways that burn carbs and fat without sacrificing protein.
If you’re clenching your teeth, shrugging your shoulders, or using any other non-essential muscles to help you lift, you’re wasting energy. You’re also more at risk for improper form by using unnecessary muscles which, in turn, puts you at greater risk for injury.
Safety first, of course. Correct spotting involves knowing when to jump in and assist with a lift, while encouraging your partner to push beyond the point at which he or she would normally rack the weight. Experts suggest placing your hands about 6 inches below the bar for lifting exercises, and always be clear how many reps are being attempted.
Gym mirrors are a feedback tool. Not only do they help you correct form and maintain proper movement, they also show you what you really look like. Just be sure to practice proper gym etiquette when mirrors are concerned. Speaking of which…
Dropping weights. Walking in front of people using the mirror. Mixing protein shakes at the water fountain. There are hundreds of ways to be a douche at the gym. And science – specifically a team of scientists in the Netherlands – corroborates the fact that there’s a genuine link between creeps and feelings of anxiety, anger and frustration. You’re better than that, bro.