For beginners/novices who want to develop strength. especially in the upper body. I like to focus on slow and controlled movements especially on the eccentric (the lowering portion of the exercise). This can be very effective when it comes to developing strength and being able to perform the exercise with competency.

Using a 3-5 second tempo on the lowering of the exercise helps teach control as well as increase your connective tissue strength(ligaments and tendons). The eccentric is where your muscle fibers break down and then  rebuild and get stronger with proper nutrition, recovery and rest etc.

Take an exercise like the push up which is a great upper body pushing exercise. That for me indicates a good level of strength when one can perform 1 or a few successfully. If the individual can’t perform one on the floor. I would start with hands in a elevated position on a bench or with a barbell placed just above the knee height in a squat rack or smith machine sometimes even higher if it is too challenging for the individual. From there we would perform the push-up using a 3-5 sec lowering and then push there self back up a little faster. If they can’t push there self up I would just get them to just focus on the lowering portion. You lower yourself down controlled drop your knees to a mat. Get back up reset and do the same again. While in this position create as much tension as possible throughout the body. Keeping your abdominal glute muscles nice and tight. When the individual can go down and push there self back up. I would then progress from there and lower the position of the hands and the bar. Gradually you will transition to the floor. By then you will feel a lot stronger at just even holding up your own body weight. In the video my client Diane had started push ups from a elevated position. We have worked consistently at this, as one of her goals was increasing strength especially in the upper body. The second part of the video is our most current training where she is now on the floor performing the lowering portion as it is still a bit of a struggle for her to perform the full push up. I have know doubts that she will achieve this very soon. Due to arthritic wrists I try to keep her wrists in a more neutral position by holding dumbbells or push up handles as they are more comfortable for her.
Any other exercises like dumbbell pressing or rowing variations I would perform in a similar fashion.  The same would apply for some traditional lower body exercises like squats or split squat variations , romanian deadlifts.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This