When we were creating our signature class, LIFT+MOVE, we wanted to devise a workout that allowed you to get the perfect dose of resistance training + conditioning.
The market was full of workouts that, to us, were too far at either end of that spectrum.
CrossFit + bodybuilding were too strength focused, placing emphasis on how much you lifted.
Spin classes + bootcamps were too cardio biased, focusing on how fast you could go.
So we stepped into the middle and created our own classification with high intensity tempo training. Allowing you to crank up the RPMs for your conditioning and slowing down your strength movements for improved muscle building.
However, while our workouts give you the best of both worlds - we know that each individual has a specific goal in mind for their body. Some want to emphasize their strength training, while others want to redline their cardio.
So this will be the first entry in a two-part series that will teach you how to place priority in our LIFT+MOVE class on either strength or conditioning.
If you want to get strong, you’ll have to do things that strong people do.
*Warning: Some exercise science mumbo jumbo below.
Making the decision to get strong requires that you stress your muscles enough for them to grow stronger and thus, enable you to use that heavier pair of dumbbells or squeeze out an extra rep on a set of pullups.
The technical term for this is ‘hypertrophy’ and this biological process can only take place when enough stress is placed on your muscular system.
In other words, always choosing the 20lb slam ball that you can perform 15+ reps with is not going to cut it - if your goal is to get stronger.
Here’s how this conversation typically goes between a strength-seeking member and their coach at Urban MVMNT:
“But I’m not strong enough to lift a 30# slam ball!”
“Can you perform 5 reps with it?”
“Yeah, I can probably do that.”
“Great. Then do 3 sets of 5 reps. You’ll get your 15 reps done, at a slower pace, but you’ll get stronger.”
You’ll have to start choosing heavier loads (with proper technique) and place added stress on your muscles in order to tap into hypertrophy.
So next time you’re choosing your weights, challenge yourself to go a little bit heavier than you have previously. Our coaching staff will be there to ensure that your technique stays true and you stay injury free.
Here are a few more tips on biasing strength training in our LIFT+MOVE class:
Commit to the pushup-burpee.
If you haven’t noticed, we do a lot of burpees.
It’s a great bodyweight drill that gets your heart rate soaring. But what if you flipped the script and turned it into a strength exercise?
The pushup is one of the most fundamental movements in strength training, so why not force yourself to get stronger while you’re down on the ground anyway?
Next time burpees come up in the workout, commit to the pushup-burpee and while you won’t be the fastest to complete them, you’ll definitely be getting much stronger in the process.
Turn the damper setting on your erg up to 10.
Three of the ergometers (erg) that we use at Urban MVMNT have a large dial on the side of the machine that have numbers listed from 1 to 10 - the bike, rower and ski.
*there is no damper setting on the runner because it does not utilize flywheel technology
That dial is called a ‘damper’ and it creates additional resistance in each revolution of the flywheel. The higher your damper setting, the more resistance you’ll encounter and consequently, the more powerful + stronger you’ll get over time.
Use the LIFT portion of class to lift heavier.
Two of our three workout styles (BUILD + SPRINT) come equipped with a dedicated LIFT portion in class. This is where we dedicate serious time and reps to getting you stronger.
However, if you’re not striving to add a few more pounds to the bar after each set, you’ll never get stronger.
Also look at this time as the perfect opportunity to practice your lifting technique while your heart rate is still relatively low (compared to the increased BPMs that you’ll experience during the MOVE).
Don’t cheat the tempo.
We created high intensity tempo training specifically to teach you the benefits of lifting weights at a smooth, methodical pace. By slowing down your reps, we’ve forced more time under tension and increased the safety of heavy lifting.
But all the strength benefits go out the window when you cheat the tempo.
If the workout calls for a 5 second hold overhead and you cut it to 3, because you’re tired and it’s hard...you’re clearly missing the point.
Now, if you cut the tempo down because the weight is too heavy - we have a simple fix: decrease the weight.
Remember, this is one of the prime benefits to tempo training. You can lift less weight and still cash in on the strength benefits, as long as you adhere to the tempo.
Our last and most important tip - be patient and enjoy the process.
Working out is meant to be a fun, self-improvement based journey. Please don’t get discouraged because it’s been 2 weeks and you haven’t seen any results yet.
Trust us. Trust the process. And walk into the gym everyday with the mindset that you’ll be stronger today than you were yesterday.
Because no matter how strong you get…
Heavy is always going to be heavy.
*For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, stay tuned to next week's podcast episode!