I often hear women say, ‘How do I get rid of my bingo wings?’ whilst raising an arm in the air and shaking it. Then there’s, ‘I just want to get rid of this bit’, as one pinches their midriff closely followed by, ‘I would really like to tone up (insert body part)’. We are all guilty of this, looking in the mirror and pointing out parts of ourselves that we’d like to change, improve, work on and tone up. Comparing our self to others, to the famous, the not-so famous and even more so through the development of technology by finding ourselves looking at Instagram pictures and thinking, ‘I wish’.
Strength training enables you to build and sculpt your body in a way that allows to focus on certain areas.
So, is there a magical formula that will help us achieve the changes in our bodies that we sometimes seek? And are there quick fixes? Truth is, there is no magical formula and there is no quick fix. However, it is possible to work on and sculpt body parts that need strengthening.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
So, how do you do this and train to target these areas and shape up in the way you desire and how do you structure your workouts to what you need to target?
Strength training enables you to build and sculpt your body in a way that allows you to focus on certain areas. As I’ve always said you should always try and maintain a well-balanced training programme so you do not neglect other parts.
You can however, prioritise your weaker areas, so for example, if your weakness is your back and you train three times a week you can give that body part extra attention, perhaps by doing more back exercises and even training that body part twice a week, if you only normally train it once.
So what do you need to target? I cannot stress enough how important keeping a balanced training programme is for ultimate results. However, we all from time-to-time have a tendency to favour certain exercises and areas and neglect others. I am guilty for doing that. So back to the question of how do you structure your workouts? And how do you sculpt your body and work on weaknesses as well as developing your strengths?
There are many ways of doing this but through personal experience I’ve found it always works best to start with more complex and demanding exercises on your CNS (central nervous system) and then work down.
So, for example, if your training programme for a day is abs, squats and press-ups (simple I know and used for an example), I would say start with squats (bigger compound movement, requiring more from your CNS in terms of energy) then press-ups and finish on abs.
I don’t plan on giving you a huge nutrition plan to follow but I will say in order to see the results of structuring your training in order to balance your body, that you should try and cut out all processed foods and sugar.
In keeping with the theme of this article I am now going to concentrate on how you can view and structure your training to compliment your goals and balance out your body. Firstly, there are a few notes I’d like to add, ‘yes’ you can train and focus on your weaknesses whilst still developing your overall strength but your nutrition or food choices are just as an important factor.
I don’t plan on giving you a huge nutrition plan to follow but I will say in order to see the results of structuring your training in order to balance your body, that you should try and cut out all processed foods and sugar to allow all that hard work being put in at the gym to show real dividends.
Genetics plays a factor in our body shape and size, but that’s a great thing, it’s what makes us all unique. So, when looking at your weaknesses be honest with yourself and what you want. For example, I love training my legs because they are my strength, however as a result I tend to neglect my upper back and pullups are harder for me to do and require more time and focus (note to me do more pull- ups).
Ways to balance your body
Do push and pull exercises
So, what is a push and pull workout and how would you structure it in terms of balancing and sculpting your upper body, for example?
Focus on the push and pull exercises separately.
Genetics plays a factor in our body shape and size, but that0s a great thing, it’s what makes us all unique.
This approach would mean that you would structure your training working so that one day you do your push exercise (chest and front shoulders) and on a separate day you focus on your pull exercises (back and rear shoulders). This means in order to create a balance you give a priority day to each motion.
Quite simple you could choose 5/6 different exercises for each movement pattern and do these in a training session. A problem with this could be that there are too many exercises and so you need to split the push and pull exercises over two days. If you did do this you could struggle to fit in both days of exercises and you could find yourself prioritising what you like doing and neglect what needs more attention.
However, an example of this would be:
Day 1 : push day
A1. Barbell Bench Press
B1.Dumbell Shoulder Press
C1. Incline Dumbbell Press
E1. Triceps Extensions
Day 2: pull day
A1. Straight leg deadlift
B1. Barbell Bent Over Row
C1. Single Arm Dumbbell Row
E1. Biceps curls
Front to back training/same day
Front to back training would mean working on push and pull on the same day (a personal preference). So with the exercises shown from the previous approach you could do one push exercise, followed by a pull. Or you could look to superset the exercises – meaning combining a push exercise with a pull exercise in a set i.e. performing one straight after the other.
If you choose this approach you could, one day a week start with a push and superset with a pull and then on another day start with a pull exercise and then superset with a push.
Both approaches work well in order to focus on your upper body and the consistency of working these two superset variations together allows you to create a balanced workout plan. However, if there are certain body parts that you’d like to focus more on when looking in the mirror, for example, thinking you’d like a smaller waist, you can use exercises to create illusions.
Sounds odd I know, however, you could look on working push and pull exercises to improve posture, strengthen and build your shoulders – the stronger shoulders and back will bring in your waist. Thus, sculpting your body.
In addition to these two approaches let’s now look at how you can sculpt and create your workout plan for your lower body. As mentioned earlier do the bigger compound exercises first, so your heavier squats and lunges.
However, you can also add in those other exercises in order to focus on those weaknesses you may feel you have. So for example, if you would like stronger glutes, then why not then look to add some exercises that focus and zone in on your bottom?
So, for example this balanced workout would look as follows:
A1. Barbell Squats
B1. Walking Lunges
C1. Glute Bridges
D1. Glute Kickbacks
When using weights and strength training to work on what you see in the mirror and sculpting your body it is very easy to be hyper-critical and zone in on what you don’t like. Remember it’s also important to look at what you do like. Be realistic, choose exercises and structure them in a way that you will find easy to commit to.
Most of all remember there is no miracle that can ‘tone up your butt‘ on the quick (or other body part), it takes time and commitment. However, it’s worth It in the longer term – as you train you will see your body changing and you’ll create long lasting results. I suggest you take pictures every six weeks and keep reminding yourself of where you started, where you are heading and ultimately where you end up.