Five Fitness Hacks to get more from your muscles

Five Fitness Hacks to get more from your muscles

Tricking your muscles into helping you perform better might sound a bit cheeky, but with these 5 fitness hacks, you can get better workout results by manipulating certain muscles beforehand.

  1. When you want to work on a particular muscle group, before you start, stretch the opposite group of muscles – this in turn gives more electrical activity to the group you want to work on. An example of this would be to stretch your hip flexors between sets of deadlifts to help put more bulk on your glutes. If you want to develop your lateral muscles more, then stretch the pecs and anterior shoulder between your pull-up sets.
  2. Static stretching before a workout can cause a temporary numbness in that muscle. This can actually be pretty useful if you’re prone to cramping. Simply stretch that muscle out and it can remain in this “numb” state for around 20 minutes, helping you to work other muscles without being impeded.
  3. Low level activation is a good way to get great results. With low intensity workouts the muscles don’t get fatigued, but your workout performance can be improved by as much as 10 percent.
  4. Muscle Activation Technique is a great hack which uses pressure to increase nervous system responses to certain muscles. If you apply pressure to a certain muscle for ten seconds or so that muscle will then work better when you exercise it.
  5. A technique known as irradiation helps increase strength through using a neurological chain. Basically the more tension you put in your muscles, the more they engage and can help you to lift weights. If you pinch your fingers together, you’ll notice how the muscles in your forearms engage; if you squeeze your hands into a fist as hard as you can then you’ll notice how the tension runs up into your shoulders. Try and lift weights by holding them loosely and you’ll find it far harder than if you squeeze them really hard. Use that tension for your own benefit.

 


The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura loves running, Pilates and Yoga, and is forever trying to find the time to fit these activities into her life around a busy family. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.

Comments

craig t.
18 November 2015

craig t.

Some very technical stuff I'd never heard of here. Interesting, Not sure if I could be bothered to include any of it in my workouts though!

Phillip H.
16 October 2015

Phillip H.

interesting indeed - I thought we were only supposed to stretch after a workout. Has the advice changed or is it a different kind of stretch?

Mike D.
15 October 2015

Mike D.

I think it would be hard for me to remember to do all these. And the differences are so negligible that it probably isn't worth the bother unless you're a top athlete! Interesting stuff though.

craig t.
13 October 2015

craig t.

When I used to play for a football team we were taught not to do too much static stretching but to do dynamic stretching instead. Maybe that 'numbness' is part of the reason they don't encourage static stretching - in case it prevents you from feeling pain you should be aware of.

Joseph M.
12 October 2015

Joseph M.

Great technical advice here - it's good to hear about the inner workings of the body sometimes as it makes things seem so much clearer - I hadn't heard of irradiation but the techniques mentioned sound like a great idea. Thanks.

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