Personal trainer Paisley Sowell does the Leg Lift Arm Pulse at Little Rock Racquet Club. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY)
Strength training has historically been an activity measured in reps, sets and by the amount of weight lifted. It's a classic formula that has served exercisers well for decades and provides a good benchmark for measuring relative progress.
One of today's trends includes performing strength training in timed intervals, rather than in sets. It's an interesting method that is well-suited for group workouts, but there are important considerations.
Group training is an awesome way to maximize workout performance. It's fun, it's motivating, and there's an element of competition. Many fitness studios that capitalize on the benefits of group training have learned that timed intervals are the only real way to manage groups of 20 or more people in a small studio space.
While these types of workouts have continued to grow in popularity, they have a few limitations.
First, rest periods are not customized for the individual. Although an individual exerciser can monitor his or her own intensity, group workouts are designed for everyone to work for a fixed period, and everyone to rest for a fixed period. This can present a problem for those who need a little extra time.
Another problem that arises during group training is a lack of adherence to proper technique. As exercisers race to complete as many repetitions as possible during the given interval, they often take shortcuts or aren't as focused on engaging the muscles targeted by the exercise. They are simply going through the motions without really "thinking" about what they're trying to accomplish — outside of moving fast.
It's a tricky situation, because interval training is a fantastic way to train, as long as the exerciser pays close attention to form along the way.
Customizing that rest period and paying attention to form are minor in the grand scheme. Group training brings so many incredible advantages, we certainly don't want to miss the larger point that more people are enjoying group exercise and becoming active. It's an awesome trend that I hope continues.
This week's exercise is a great addition for any group training workout. It's performed in a stationary location; it's easy to manipulate intensity for varied fitness levels; and it requires very light weights. It's a winner!
The Leg Lift Arm Pulse will challenge various fitness levels and is appropriate for almost anyone.
1. Select a pair of very light dumbbells and lie on your back on an exercise mat. Place your arms at your sides and your legs together.
2. Lift your legs 6 inches off the floor with the feet touching each other. The legs should be straight from your inner thigh to the ankles.
3. Hold the legs in this position, then lift your shoulders off the floor and extend one arm overhead and one arm by your side.
4. While holding this "crunch" position, move your arms in a "marching" pattern with one arm overhead and the other by your side, then the other.
5. Keep making this "marching" movement with your arms for 20 repetitions (10 on each side).
6. Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat.
7. Perform 12 repetitions.
Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Style on 12/10/2018
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