Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘Pull workout’

Muscle Contractions

Posted by terrepruitt on January 19, 2010

Muscles contract.  An isotonic muscle contraction is when the length of the muscle changes.  The isotonic contraction could be a concentric contraction where the muscle shortens or an eccentric contraction where the muscle lengthens.

As an example, your arm is hanging at your side, when you lift your hand to touch your shoulder that is an isotonic contraction.  Your biceps muscles are shortening, pulling your hand up to your shoulder in a concentric contraction, your triceps are lengthening in an eccentric contraction.  Lowering your arm the biceps muscles are lengthening in an eccentric contraction and it is actually your triceps contracting in a concentric contraction that is pulling your arm down.  But since gravity is helping the triceps don’t have to work very hard.

An isometric contraction is when the muscle contracts but the length of it does not change.  For instance, when you sneeze or cough. Your abdominal muscle contracts, but unless you bend into the sneeze/cough the length does not change.

To strengthen the muscles resistance needs to be added to the contraction.  Muscle must be challenged and learn to overcome the challenge in order to become stronger.  Tension/resistance needs to be added to movement/contraction.

There are many forms of resistance; gravity, weights, bands, tubes, immoveable objects (that you try to push or pull), all of it can assist in strengthening the muscles. 

The muscles can gain strength from both the concentric contraction and the eccentric contraction.  So lowering the weight after having lifted a weight toward your shoulder in a biceps curl can contribute to strength.

When the muscles contract in a concentric contraction they are pulling on bone. But that is not be be confused with a push workout or a pull workout.  Even when you are working your “pushing muscles” your muscles are actually contracting and pulling on the bones to complete the exercise.

Muscles contract, it is the added resistance that makes them stronger.

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Push Workout – Sample

Posted by terrepruitt on November 24, 2009

–Push Ups (So many versions, pick one)
–Squats on BOSU (standing on the rounded side)

–Chest press with dumbbells lying on stability ball
–Wall Squats with stability ball

–Flyes lying on stability ball
–Air bench (“sitting” back against wall)

–Triceps Dip
–Side Step Drill using BOSU

–Triceps Kickbacks using bench
–Calf raises on BOSU (standing on the rounded side)

This is just a generic sample of a push workout.  There are so many ways to do push ups you should do them however you safely are able and however best fits your goals. 

Squats on the BOSU can also be done standing on the flat side, which would be more of a challenge.

With the chest press and the flyes on the stability ball you are keeping your upper back supported by the ball, but to get a bit of lower body in there and some stability practice your hips are off the ball and level with the floor.

Wall squats can be done with one leg.

The side step drill can be timed.

This was initially created for the exercises to be done in pairs as listed; one set of push-ups, one set of squats, then back to push ups, then squats, then on to the next pairing. But just like the Pull Workout, the weight used, the reps done, the speed in which do it and how many times you do it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

Try squeezing a workout in between all the Holiday Happenings and New Moon risings, even if you have to do it during the twilight hours.

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Pull Workout – Sample

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2009

–Lat pull down while squatting (on Machine)
–Bicep dumbbell curls with walking lunges

–One arm dumbbell row (on bench alternating sides)
–Hamstring curls using stability ball

–Kettlebell swing
–Stability Ball Hand/Foot Pass Sit-up

–Back extension on stability ball
–Straight leg deadlift with Kettlebell alternating legs

–Wide grip row on Machine
–Single Leg Squat using bench

As you can see the first two exercises prove that the generalization of push muscles being on the front and pull muscles being on the back is not great, but for some it is helpful although not entirely accurate. You use your back muscles and your biceps to pull. With most movements more than one muscle or more than one muscle group is being used, but usually we say the exercise works which ever muscles it works the most. As with the Lat pull down, it is called a Lat pull down because the Latissimus dorsi is responsible for most of the effort, however in most cases your biceps are assisting. There are other muscles in your back that are putting in some effort too and it depends on which kind of lat pull down you are doing. Yes, there are different kind.

Usually when the exercise being done is with free weights there is less muscle isolation. Some machines do a great job of muscle isolation. Sometimes an exercise can be considered both or neither and it is add to a workout to work a “popular muscle”. The sit ups were added because most of the time people want to work the abs. I think of the single leg squat as either a push or a pull because sometimes I really feel it in the glutes and sometimes I swear it is all quads.

This is just a sample of what a “pull workout” could look like. The weight used, the reps done, the speed in which do it and how many times you do it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This can be done different ways. It could be done all in a row as listed or done in sets. Depends on what you want.

The picture is of the Cable Cross Machine at least Freemotion calls it that. I call “the Machine”.  It lives at the gym in San Jose.

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