My good friends running bike and ski shops in the north woods of Wisconsin have a term called the ‘brown zone.’ It’s that dead spot in the seasonal changes where it’s just too cold and wet for a lot of us to enjoy cycling, and there isn’t enough snow on the trails for good skiing. The trees are dormant and the ground is mostly brown.
While die-hards will bunny suit up to get into the saddle, or strap on the outback skis in search of snow-crust skiing, they’re also missing out on the best time of the year to train indoors. And that, my friends, is right now!
It is, in fact, the best time to start working on that summer body! Work begins right now on muscular development becomes apparent when you loose those last few more pounds of body fat with increased Spring and Summer cardio effort.
But pay particular attention to form, because a strict range of motion with your resistance training in March goes a long way towards how you look in July!
In fact, one of the more common mistakes I see in the gyms is incomplete range of motion exercise. People get too hung up on the volume of weights, and end up jerking and throwing the weight through a shortened range of motion. As a result, they do, in fact, develop shorter muscle fibers than the disciplined lifter who exercises good form.
It takes focus and some practice, but if you’re looking for a long, lean and toned muscular look, use smooth controlled muscle contractions, and be sure to keep good overall body posture throughout the exercise.
Trainers use the term Range of Motion, or ROM to describe how fully muscles and bones rotate around a specific joint. And complete ROM is your key to long, well defined muscle tissues. Allow the resistance to fully elongate the muscle fibers around the joint during the eccentric (recovery) part of the exercise. And completely contract the muscle fibers when shortening them (the concentric part). Not only does this tone and build tissue from tendon to tendon, but it also stimulates full fiber development up and down the muscle to avoid ‘bulky’ looking muscles.
And breathe! Exhale when contracting muscle and inhale elongating.
Then, when the weather finally does warm up, and you get get outside for extended periods of additional cardio to pull off a few more pounds, the emerging muscle tissue is beautifully developed and will emerge looking as good as the form you used to build it!
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