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May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, March 2000 Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Because ideal performance isn't merely a state of mind


Dumbbell Bench Press; Incline Dumbbell Bench Press; Seated Machine Row; Lat Pulldown; V-Bar Lat Pulldown; Dumbbell Shoulder Press (using a bench with a straight-back seat)
LGE teaches its clients to tackle positive changes by "oscillating" between periods of high and low mental intensity; its personal trainers apply the same philosophy to physical endeavor and fitness. "Life is all about highs and lows, and adaptation to stress," says Steve Gray, LGE's fitness director. Since your body releases the same flood of adrenaline on a treadmill as it does in gridlock, Gray says, then raising your threshold for handling one situation will help you cope with the other.

In practical terms, oscillation means adding intervals to your aerobic workout and drop sets—progressively lighter sets, each lifted to failure—to your strength routine, thus integrating high and low intensity into a weekly cycle.

Gray prescribes an aerobic bout followed by a strength session three days a week. (Be sure to leave 24 hours between workouts.) The aerobic component can use an outdoor activity— running,
cycling, or cross-country skiing—or an indoor machine such as a treadmill, stationary bike, or stair stepper. No matter how you elevate your heart rate, warm up with five minutes at a slow pace. Then oscillate your effort—go five minutes at a pace at which you could carry on a conversation, followed by a 20-second sprint. After 15 minutes doing three such oscillations, finish with ten minutes at a steady, medium pace—30 minutes total.

Choose two exercises from each set; no drop sets
A. Single-Dumbbell Pullover (lying on back, lower weight behind head); Lateral Raise (standing, lift dumbbells out to sides); Rear Lateral Raise; Rear Delt Lift (torso angled at 45 degrees on bench, lift dumbbells in arc at midpoint between front and sides); Upright Row (hand on rack or chair, lift dumbbell with other hand in lawnmower-starting motion); Dumbbell Fly
B. Biceps Curl (standing, straight bar); Reverse-Grip Biceps Curl; One-Arm Dumbbell Curl; Triceps Pushdown (standing, straight bar); Rope Triceps Pushdown; Dumbbell Triceps Extension (lying on back, bend elbows to lower weights as far behind head as possible)

Leg Curl; Leg Extension; Calf Raise; Swiss-Ball Squats (wedge ball against wall behind lower back and squat; no drop sets); Lunge (no drop sets)

For your strength workouts, warm up with one light set of 12 repetitions and then do two sets of ten of the drills on these pages, switching to a different group each session. Every other week, do three drop sets instead, pushing yourself almost to failure in each: For the first drop set, choose a weight you can hoist from four to six times. Lift until the brink of failure—you should barely be able to squeeze out one more rep. Then, without pausing to rest, remove 30 percent of the weight and repeat. Follow immediately with one more drop set, again 30 percent lighter, performing these reps slowly—three counts up and three counts down. Rest for two minutes, and then move on to the next exercise in that group. Cap each trip to the gym with two sets of ten back extensions, plus 50 crunches. —P.K.

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