This is Your Quick Training Tip , a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.
SPEND ENOUGH TIME in a gym (or reading this publication) and you’re sure to encounter all sorts of training principles, including planes of motion and how it’s important to lift in all three (sagittal, frontal, transverse). They’re right. Whether you’re trying to increase athleticism, boost functional strength, or simply enhance performance in plus out of the gym, you need to be strong, fast, and powerful in every direction.
But the reality is that most exercises take place in one associated with those planes (sagittal), which divides the body into left and right halves in addition to focuses on forward and even backward movement. It’s also important that your workouts emphasize both regarding its primary movements (flexion and extension) if you want in order to build balanced, total-body strength.
Flexion vs. Extension
The difference between flexion together with extension comes down to joint angle. Flexion makes it smaller, bringing two body parts closer together (e. g., biceps curl ), while extension makes it larger, moving two body parts farther away from each other (e. g., triceps extension ).
If you’re thinking it sounds like most exercises include both flexion and additionally extension, you’re not wrong. When you drop down into a squat , for example , you flex your hips and knees, and when you drive out of it, a person extend them. But while most exercises incorporate flexion and expansion, nearly all of them focus on one aspect or the other.
Let’s dial in upon this concept to make it more clear: when you squat, the focus is on driving out of the hole into a standing position. That puts the particular main point of focus extension. The particular biceps snuggle, on typically the other hand, emphasizes bending the elbow to bring this forearm closer to the upper arm, making it an extension-focused movement.
If you are ever unsure, keep this simple maxim in mind: flexion is forward and extension is backward. The exceptions to that rule are exercises that will involve twisting the knee (e. gary the gadget guy., hamstring curl). For those, default to rule number one: if the exercise brings two body parts closer with each other, it’s flexion; if it does the opposite, it is extension.
How to Incorporate Flexion not to mention Extension Into Your Workouts
Flexion and extension are simple concepts, but keeping all of them in mind as you program your coaching plan can have a powerful impact on your results.
Step one: Make sure that an individual include a roughly equal number of flexion and file format moves in your routine. That will help ensure anyone build balanced strength and also muscle whilst minimizing your own risk involving injury. Performing both the biceps curl (flexion) and tris kickback (extension) each week will strengthen each sides connected with your arms, for example. (For of which particular pairing, you’ll furthermore set yourself up to work in the superset structure that allows you to double up without needing to be able to rest. )
But here’s something else for you to consider: You can also use often the principles with flexion as well as extension to help double down on the same muscle group and amplify your gains. The key is to highlight the eccentric (lowering) phase of a handful of exercises each week—by, say, taking as long to lower your dumbbell during a biceps curl. In so doing, you’ll increase each muscle group’s time under tension —a key growth stimulus. The result: more power and power in everything you do.
Trevor Thieme is a new Los Angeles-based writer and strength coach, and a former fitness editor at Men’s Health. When not helping others get in shape, he splits his period between surfing, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and wanting to keep up with his seven year-old daughter.