You might not know this but the difference between an exercise that builds strength and one that doesn’t is as stark as being under quarantine or not. And when you learn the difference you’ll know when to focus on strength, and when to avoid strength exercises, like avoiding the Covid cough coming from that guy over on aisle 4.
It’s called “positive failure,” and it’s every bit as inspirational as the moniker suggests. What it means is whenever you’re doing an exercise you should try to perform it to the point where you can’t lift the weight anymore.
For example: You do 10 push-ups and after the 10th one you try for an 11th and fail on the positive (lifting portion of the movement).
If you’re not reaching positive failure on your exercises, you’re still doing great. You’re elevating your heart rate and your lungs are working, which is generally good for your health. You’re just not necessarily stimulating any new strength in your body, as Dr. Wayne Westcott told the New York Times and Truth Not Trends in podcast episode #28.
Then comes the important part: write down the results! For your strength training to be working, you should be measurably stronger each time you workout. So if you failed after your 10th push-up in your last workout, you should be able to get at least 11 the next workout. If you can’t beat your performance from last time, you may need to take more rest between workouts.
Here’s what I recommend starting with:
1) 2x/week workouts with at least 2-3 days’ rest in between. I.e. Mon/Thurs or Tues/Fri.
2) Move slowly while performing your exercises. Think 5 seconds lifting and 5 seconds lowering. Do as many reps as you can until you can’t do any more. Do at least 1 set as hard as you can.
3) Corona Full-Body Strength Program: 1) Wall sit 2) Bulgarian squat 3) Single leg calf raise 4) Push-up 5) Pull-up/row 6) Flutter kick 7) Superwoman
These exercises are designed to be doable at home with no equipment. If you have dumbbells or other equipment around, by all means, add some exercises to the mix!
The row can be tricky to maneuver if you don’t have a pull up bar or any equipment at home so you may need to look for a railing to use (or check out this row video). Modify the push-ups by doing them from your knees or doing negatives to failure (lowering yourself to the ground and using your knees to climb back up).
Have fun (and be safe) with this and remember the wise words of Muhammad Ali who said, “I only start counting when it starts hurting because those are the only ones that count.”
Note: For more great strength training info check out the TNT website and subscribe to the Truth Not Trends podcast on any major podcast platform!
TNT has over 35 years of combined fitness experience, so if you’re looking for a coach who can train you online from anywhere in the world, visit our online training page to book a consultation.
TNT wants you to maximize your strength as safely and efficiently as possible, so if you’re looking for a stand alone workout plan, check out our Blackjack training program.