Top Five Workout Questions

Top Five Workout Questions

I have had several emails that require short and sweet answers, so I have compiled a list of the top five questions that were most commonly asked. Here are the 5 most commonly asked questions:

1) Are pulls ups and dips considered resistance training? 

Answer - Yes any weight - even your body weight - is considered resistance training. If you are a person who the doctor or trainer recommends adding resistance training into your program, chances are you are probably ONLY doing cardio workouts or a beginner to exercise.

Resistance training is moving various joints of your body through a full range of motion with applied force on them. Some examples: weight training (machines, dumbbells, or barbells), calisthenics (pushups, dips, crunches, pull-ups, squats, and lunges - the resistance is the force of gravity), rubber bands, and even common household chores such as yard work.

The best part of resistance training is that you will burn more calories in the long run and build muscle fibers (which will in turn increase your metabolism more so than cardio alone). You still need your cardio for cardio-respiratory benefits and fat burning, but resistance training will enhance your results significantly.

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2) Which kind of crunch is best for targeting the abs where the navel is?

Answer - I recommend doing a group of exercises that not only target the stomach muscles, but help balance out your torso by focusing on lower back muscles too. In fact, anytime you do abdominal workouts you should always add lower back exercises to the equation. See one of my favorite articles "Resting with Crunches" for more ideas.

But the answer to your question is that you have to treat your stomach muscles as one wall of muscles that are affected by any movement that brings your sternum / pelvis closer together. Therefore, it is difficult to isolate any particular area of the upper, middle, lower abs because that all work together.

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3) I am former military and current a large metro-area police officer. Can you help me with "How to Get in SWAT Shape"? I need to focus on how a patrol officer can get himself in shape to join the SWAT team.

Answer - Funny you should ask that. I just came out with another book titled the SWAT Workout that helps a full range of police officers - from recruits to SWAT Team members.

See The SWAT Workout at amazon.com or purchase it at local major bookstore.

This book has over 25 weeks of workouts in it and focuses on programs for recruits to ace the Police Academy, for active police officers to prepare for SWAT training or other Emergency Response Teams (ERT), as well as a SWAT team maintenance plan.

It was developed from over five years of training law enforcement officers at every level prepare for various PT tests. The best advice is to make time before your police shirt to workout, 7 out of 10 people decide to NOT workout after a long days work even if it was planned to do so. Running, upper body strength and stamina is highly emphasized in any special tactics team. Read some of the articles in the Miltiary.com Article Archive for ideas on how to get started on your own.

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4) I am not quite clear about the 100 pull-up workout you have in one of your articles. You write, "Try this workout - 100 pull-ups in as few sets as possible.  Rest with 100 abs of choice and 50-100 pushups then repeat pull-ups for the next set until you reach 100 pull-ups." Do you do 100 pull-ups first, then do abs and push-ups, and then repeat another 100 pull-ups?  

Answer - No - The goal in this workout is to reach 100 pull-ups in as few sets as possible with active rest in between sets - for instance:

- Do max pull-ups until you fail
- "Rest" with max pushups 1:00
- "Rest" with abs of choice in 1:00
- Optional 1/4 mile run in 90-100 seconds

Repeat above as many times as necessary until you reach 100 pull-ups...then you are finished.

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5) When swimming with fins - what fins do you recommend? Did you have UDT Duck Feet or Rocket fins? 

Answer - If you are training to go to BUDS, PJ, Ranger or another special ops group that requires swimming with fins, you will probably be issued with UDT Duck Feet or US Diver Rocket Fins. Since you will get these for free, buy a nice pair of fins for yourself that are comfortable for open water swims or SCUBA diving. Any dive shop will have some to try, but you have to get the kind of fins that require booties (dive sock) so they have a large foot well. I like Cressi Frog Fins or Mares Power Plana. If money is tight, you can find these on eBay for under 25-30 dollars.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.

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