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The standard three day per week routine serves as the basic pattern from which most players operate. A schedule of workouts on alternate days (M/W/F or T/Th/Sa) seems to be most practical and successful in our situation.
When following a three day per week program it has been found valuable to designate one day as a Heavy Day. On this day, instead of attempting to increase the repetitions, more weight is added and the repetitions reduced by three or four. Completing three sets in this manner will tend to aid a player in surpassing his current repetition maximum on the other days. A repetition maximum is that amount of weight that can be lifted the indicated number of times (usually 6, 8, 10, or 15 repetitions for us) and no more.
Some players have obtained good results by following a Light/Medium/Heavy Day type of training.
A few of our players have participated in a "during season" program. During the 1958 season of 10 games, three of our players were enrolled in a physical education weight training class taught by the author on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The purpose of this training was to maintain strength developed during the off season. The nature of their workouts was moderate in intensity and took about 30 minutes.
The exercises consisted of squats, bench press, curls, dead lift, rowing, situps, and military press. The repetitions, sets, and weight for a "during season" program should not be excessive, but provide a moderate total workout.
Those players just beginning weight training are cautioned to begin slowly with light, easily handled weight loads for all exercises. As they become adjusted to this type of training and they gain familiarity with the exercises, the weight load gradually increased. At least four workout periods in this manner are suggested before attempting a repetition maximum.
The first task of the player after he has become accustomed to working with weights is to determine his repetition maximum weight load for each exercise set. All repetitions in a set must be executed with good form, and without undue strain or "cheating" to perform. A set should be completed because of a player's strength and power, not on his "nerve" or through improper form or technique.
The repetitions maximum is determined on a trial and error basis and is recorded once ascertained. Weight loads are approximate, and it is not necessary to be exact to the pound in most exercises.
Because most movements in football are of an "explosive nature," the manner in which we perform a set of exercises is slightly different than the standard weight lifting method. Players are asked to execute in a quick, snappy military fashion all effort stages of an exercise. We believe that this technique will aid in training the neuromuscular system for quick, powerful movements so essential in football skills. Our goal is to develop the strength of a player and at the same time attempt to simulate the type of movements he will have to make in football.
Speed of movement combined with strength (force) is what creates a powerful action, and this is exactly what we want to condition our players for during the execution of their exercises.
Many variations in routines are possible and beneficial. The following are the three presented in our manual, and which direct a player's program.
Three sets progressively building up to the repetition maximum. When it is possible to perform the last set for four more reps, enough weight is added on the next workout to bring the reps back down to the original number.
8 R.M. Example:
Set 1 - approximately 1/2 of 8 R.M. weight load
Set 2 - approximately 3/4 of 8 R.M. weight load
Set 3 - Full R.M. weight load attempting to increase repetitions to 12.
Three sets using the same R.M. weight load for each set. When the first set can be performed for four more reps than originally indicated, enough weight is added on the next workout to bring the reps back down to the original number.
All-out effort is required during each set to perform as many more than the indicated repetitions as possible. In general, the reps will decrease as each set is performed.
10 R.M. Example:
Set 1 - 10 reps with 10 R.M. weight load (more reps if possible)
Set 2 - 10 reps with R.M. weight load (more reps if possible)
Set 3 - 10 reps with 10 R.M. weight load (more reps if possible)
Select a heavier weight than the R.M. presently using, and reduce the repetitions by three or four. Execute two or three sets in this manner and then reduce even more repetitions for the remaining sets with an ever heavier weight.
10 R.M. Example:
Set 1 - 10 R.M. weight load +; execute 6-7 repetitions
Set 2 - 10 R.M. weight load +; execute 6-7 repetitions
Set 3 - 10 R.M weight load +; execute 6-7 repetitions
Set 4 - 10 R.M. weight load + +; execute 4-5 repetitions
Set 5 - 10 R.M. weight load + +; execute 4-5 repetitions
This is a good variation or Heavy Day routine especially valuable for getting past a "sticking point" for a particular exercise. A sticking point is that time when after repeated trials at a given exercise that it seems impossible to improve and increase either the repetitions or the weight. In effect, when a plateau has been reached, a definite change in routine or exercise is indicated to get past plateaus in training.
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In accordance with our desires to outline for a player's particular needs, we use the following plan as a guide.
TO GAIN WEIGHT: Routines B and C three days per week, 6-8 repetitions maximums varying from 3 to 5 sets per exercise, and the eight basic exercises plus selected ones for weak areas. We lean toward use of dumbbells for other exercises.
TO MAINTAIN WEIGHT: Routine A two or three days per week, 10 repetition maximums, 3 sets per exercise.
TO LOSE WEIGHT: Routine A and B five and six days per week, 10-15 repetition maximums, weight reduction diet (1000-1500 calories), basic exercises plus large variety of others, and extensive stepped up daily running program.
It is possible for a player to achieve every one of these objectives while at the same time add to his general physical fitness.
The following is a list of the exercises contained in the manual. The eight exercises that we consider as basic for all around development are indicated by an asterisk.
SHOULDERS AND ARMS
Arm Elevation Forward (front raise)
Standing Dumbbell Press
Forearm Wind (roller)
Leaning Lateral Raise (rear lateral)
Wall Weight (variations)
Lying Lateral Raise (flye)
Incline Dumbbell Press
Wall Weight (variations)
UPPER BACK AND NECK
Wall Weight (variations)
THIGHS AND CALVES
*Situps (45-second sets)
Dumbbell Lateral Bend
Wall Weight (lateral bend)
No particular order of exercise is given; however, certain factors are pointed out.
1) The squat is perhaps the most exhaustive of any single exercise (plan accordingly).
2) Order of exercises should be varied from time to time for best efforts.
3) Light weight pullovers are good "spellers" between sets of squats on Heavy Days.
4) Lying lateral raises loosen tight biceps after curls.
5) Occasional substitution of different exercises for the same muscle groups makes for more interesting workouts and can aid in avoiding injury.
It is obvious from this article that we at New Mexico believe very strongly in the contribution of weight training, although we do not expect our players to win an "Mr" contests nor are they training with that in mind.
No claim of originality in routines, exercises or methods is advanced. The purpose of this article is simply to explain and present the implementation and philosophy of the University of New Mexico's weight training program for football players.
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Enjoy Your Lifting!
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