My training clients hear this all the time – or if you have ever taken a class with me, chances are you have heard me say this – “quality over quantity”. I am here to tell you that more isn’t always better, quicker isn’t always better. This can apply to lifting weights or even doing cardio vascular exercise in general.
It is important to understand with any training program that odds are quality trumps quantity for just about anything. What does quality versus quantity mean? Let’s take a bicep curl for example. You can do 15 biceps curls and rep them out as fast as possible, that is quantity. Quality would be taking those same bicep curls, maybe only doing 12 repetitions, and doing them slow and controlled (slow up AND slow down on the curl). Most, if not all, lifts have two parts to them – concentric and eccentric contraction. It is important that you move with control through both parts of that lifts. A lot of ladies tend to go slow through the concentric phase and then rush the eccentric phase. The concentric phase usually is termed as the workload phase. So in our same example of a bicep curl, this would be when you are lifting that weight from the extended position up to the chest, in other words the upward motion of the curl. The eccentric phase would be when you are lowering the weight back to starting position. It is also important to go slow and controlled through this eccentric phase as well. When you slow your lift down, this causes an increase in time under tension. An increase in time under tension can have a positive effect on muscle growth, as well as maintenance of muscle.
The same concept applies to cardiovascular exercise. You do not have to spend hours or even too many minutes doing cardio vascular exercise if you are doing it correctly. It is important to get your heartrate in the rights zone for the appropriate amount of time. All too often as trainers, we see members at the gym and clients spending 30-60 minutes doing cardio almost daily, sometimes more. This is not necessary if you are getting your heart rate in the correct zones for the appropriate amount of time.
This is not something that everyone is expected to understand. If you are unsure how to go about focusing on quality versus quantity in your works, Evolve has many great personal trainers that can assist you through our personal and group training programs.
Keri Talcott, Certified Personal Trainer