4 Things You Should Do Before Every Workout
by: Robbie Durand
Your pre-workout tradition is something that will either make or break your next workout. Here are a few things you should do before every workout.
1.) Make Sure Your Nervous System is Ready
“Go Heavy or Go Home.” This is the gym slogan that been used for years in the bodybuilding community for years. The era of Dorian Yates training with few sets and using very heavy weights fueled bodybuilders to train heavy. Power training is associated with explosive lifting with lighter weight. For strength training, most lifters perform weights greater than 85% 1RM, while power sets use 30% 1RM. A classic example of a power exercise would be jump squats with a barbell. If you look at how football players and track athletes lift, they train with power exercises to develop fast, explosive power. The problem gym lifters have is that they train heavy day in and day out and run the risk of overtraining. Overtraining is characterized by a reduction in peak performance, in part, due to altered neuroendocrine function. The key to making consistent progress in the gym is to prevent your nervous system from getting fried and making steady gains. The latest research published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance reported that strength training results in neuromuscular fatigue compared to powerlifting. So incorporating both power and strength exercises seems to be the key to making consistent gains.
Researchers compared athletic performance with either a strength or power workout consisting of 3 exercises. The workouts were as follows:
-Strength workout: 4 sets of 5 reps for the barbell back squat, split-squats and push-press.
-Power workout: 4 sets of 5 reps for speed squats, split-squat jumps, and power-press.
Before, immediately after, and 24-hours after both workouts, the researchers tested the nervous system by testing maximal voluntary contraction, jump height, central activation ratio, and lactate.
The results showed that repetition duration, impulse, and total work were greater during the strength workout than the power workout. Blood lactate levels were increased following strength sessions but not power. EMG or muscle activation showed increases across all sets for both workouts with strength sessions demonstrating greater activation at the end of the final set. Maximal voluntary contraction decreased following the strength session and remained suppressed at 24 hours while it remained unchanged following power training. Perceptual responses were higher for the strength session compared to the power session. Ultimately, this study showed that strength sessions take a higher toll on the body, and are likely to compromise performance 24 hours post-session. A greater neuromuscular and metabolic demand following the strength and not power session is evident in elite athletes, which impaired maximal force production up to 24 hours. This means lifters should incorporate both strength and power training in their workouts to alter the amount of stress placed on the nervous system. Incorporating both heavy and light weight explosive lifting seems to be a good way of preventing overtraining. You can’t train heavy every workout without suffering some major consequences.
2.) Time Your Caffeine the Right Time
You’re headed to the gym, and you pop your pre-workout capsules and arrive at the gym 10 minutes later. You start working out, but guess what? The optimal levels of caffeine are not in your system yet! Caffeine timing is not something that many people are familiar with, but your caffeine timing can be the difference between a great and average workout…
The available guidelines for caffeine use suggest that performance benefits can be seen with moderate amounts (~3 mg·kg of body mass) of caffeine. Some of the more extreme caffeine studies have used high doses ranging from 4-6mg/kg bodyweight. The research recommendations are to start out with smaller doses then gradually build your tolerance for caffeine. Some people are much more tolerant to the effects of caffeine, whereas others can’t handle caffeine. There is a lot of variability in caffeine tolerance that’s related to your genes. A recent study discovered six new genetic variations that play a role in consumption behavior and metabolism of caffeine. Of the six genes identified, four of these regulate caffeine metabolism and response, while the other two genes are involved in glucose and lipid metabolism. The presence, absence, and any combination of these genes can influence how much coffee an individual needs to drink to achieve their desired caffeine effect. These genetic variations can help explain why caffeine has different effects on different people.
People without the genes are more sensitive to caffeine and are likely to get jittery and anxious when they drink it. Those that possess more of these genes have better caffeine tolerance and are more likely to consume it – and more of it – compared to those who have fewer genes. People without the genes are more sensitive to caffeine and are likely to get jittery and anxious when they drink it. This is why some people need one cup a day, some need five, and others avoid caffeine altogether. So let’s examine if you were to start with a moderate dose of caffeine to improve performance. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds then a moderate dose of caffeine for ~3 mg·kg–1 body mass is 273 mg of caffeine pre-workout. To get the conversion, take your bodyweight in pounds and divide it by 2.2 to convert to kg. Then multiply your weight in kg by three to get the dose. The benefits of caffeine are not just for the person going to the gym, but can also increase performance across a range of sports, including endurance events, stop-and-go events (e.g., team and racquet sports), and sports involving sustained high-intensity activity lasting from 1–60 min (e.g., swimming, rowing, and middle and distance running races). The direct effects of caffeine on strength and power, such as weightlifting, throws, and sprints, are much less clear as opposed to endurance exercise.
The direct effects of caffeine on strength and power, such as weightlifting, throws, and sprints, are much less clear as opposed to endurance exercise.
Most people take their pre-workout supplements and head to the gym but depending on how you consume your caffeine will determine when peak concentrations hit your bloodstream. Researchers compared the magnitude and rapidity of peak caffeine levels and subjective effects between coffee and cola.
Thirteen users of both coffee and cola ingested 400 mg caffeine via:
• 12 oz. unsweetened coffee,
• 24 oz. sugar-free cola or
• 2 caffeine capsules
In a random, double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects design. Subjects provided a saliva sample and completed subjective effect scales 15 minutes before and 30, 60, 90, 120, 180 and 240 minutes after ingestion. At the end of the study, mean peak saliva caffeine levels did not differ between coffee and cola and appeared to be greater with these beverages than with the capsule. Saliva caffeine levels peaked at similar times for coffee (average time: 42 minutes) and cola (39 minutes) but later for capsule (67 minutes).
If you’re taking a pre-workout drink, such as Infinite Labs Juggernaut HP, you would need to consume it roughly 35-40 minutes before exercise. So it seems that if you’re taking caffeine in the form of capsules, either from a fat burner or a pre-workout capsule such as Infinite Labs Final Cutz, you’re going to have to take it 60 minutes before exercising for maximal effectiveness. If you’re taking a pre-workout drink, such as Infinite Labs Juggernaut HP, you would need to consume it roughly 35-40 minutes before exercise.
3.) Take 8 Grams of Citrulline for Insane Pumps
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that in addition to supplements like creatine, beta alanine, and whey protein, L-Citrulline can increase performance in the gym. L-Citrulline is present in large quantities in watermelon but is not abundant in other fruits, vegetables, meat, or fish because it is a free amino acid. It ‘s hard to obtain L-citrulline from a conventional diet in sufficient amounts to enhance sports performance. Therefore, it may be beneficial to take L-citrulline before exercise as an ergogenic aid. There is no recommended dose for L-citrulline intake to improve sports performance, but a dose of 6 or 8 g of L-citrulline malate has been used in other studies. If your look for other article written about L-Citrulline, check out the corresponding links:
New Study: 8 Grams of Citrulline Increases Women’s Gym Performance
8 Grams of Citrulline Increases Gym Performance
Citrulline: Better Muscle Pumps and Improved Protein Synthesis
L-Citrulline Beats L-Arginine for High-Intensity Performance
Super Pumped!! Citrulline and Glutathione Increases Nitric Oxide
L-Citrulline: Ultimate Muscle Pumps
L-Citrulline supplementation has various beneficial effects, such as reducing arterial stiffness, improving erectile function, memory, O2 uptake in muscle, improved repetitions to failure, and high-intensity exercise performance through upregulation of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. NO has been found to enhance blood flow, muscle energy metabolism, and mitochondrial respiration during exercise. It seems that consecutive use of citrulline for several days increases performance compared to just using a single dose. For example, one study reported six days of L-citrulline supplementation improved exercise tolerance. Interestingly, a clinical trial has shown that oral intake of L-citrulline dose-dependently and more efficiently increases plasma L-arginine levels than does L-arginine supplementation in healthy human volunteers.
Researchers from Japan examined the effect of citrulline in response to high-intensity cycling. Twenty-two trained males consumed 2.4 g/day of L-citrulline or placebo orally for seven days. On Day 8 they took 2.4 g of L-citrulline or placebo one h before a 4-km cycling time trial. The other group was given a placebo. Time-to-exhaustion tests are primarily measures of “exercise capacity.” At the end of the study, oral supplementation with L-citrulline at 2.4 g/day for seven days significantly increased plasma L-arginine levels. Moreover, intake of L-citrulline for seven days and I h before the time trial significantly increased plasma L-citrulline and L-arginine levels and enhanced cycling time trial performance. Also, subjective feelings of muscle fatigue and concentration, right after exercise were significantly improved with L-citrulline. Similar to previous studies, the researchers found that oral intake of L-citrulline increased not only L-citrulline levels but also L-arginine levels. It has been reported that oral supplementation with L-citrulline increases plasma L-arginine levels more effectively than does L-arginine supplementation in healthy subjects. The data suggests that L-citrulline has the potential to relieve muscle fatigue during intense exercise. If you are looking to improve performance and get better pumps, you may want to try adding 6-8 grams of citrulline to your pre-workout drink.
4.) Warm Up Like a Gladiator
If you examine the way, people warm-up in the gym today, most people go to the gym and either walk on the treadmill for a few minutes, stretch to get their muscles warmed up before exercise, or perform workout specific warm-ups such as squatting the bar before gradually increasing the weight. Warm-ups are crucial because they get your muscles ready for activity. One of the more important aims of warm up is to increase performance through increasing muscle temperature, or increasing the speed of nerve transmission.
With the many different types of warm-ups, is there any warm up that is more conducive to increasing strength in the gym?
According to a new study published in the Biology of Sport, explosive warm up can boost your strength. Researchers compared the acute effects of general, specific, and combined warm-up on explosive performance. Healthy male subjects participated in six warm-up protocols in a crossover randomized study design.
-Passive rest (15 min of passive rest),
-Running (5 min of running at 70% of maximum heart rate),
-Stretching (5 min of static stretching exercise),
-Jumping (5 min of jumping exercises – 3×8 countermovement jumps (CMJ) and
-3×8 Drop jumps from 60 cm, and
-combined (protocols running+ stretching+ Jump combined).
Immediately before and after each warm-up, subjects were assessed for explosive power by measuring the concentric-only squat jump as a measure of muscle performance. At the end of the study, squat jump performance was significantly improved from only the jumping warm-up protocols while passive rest resulted in a significant decrease in performance. Drop jump performance tests were significantly improved only following jumping and combined warm-ups. Therefore, when you’re looking to increase explosive power in the gym, it would be helpful to include exercise specific warm ups. For example, if you’re looking to warm up before a squat, try adding a jumping squat or a related training exercise to improve maximal power. If you’re doing bench press, try doing some traditional push-ups before benching or speed benching with a bar:
The fascinating aspect of the study is that walking on a treadmill, which most people do for their warm up, really has no impact on increasing maximal power, so before you begin your training, make sure to include warm-up specific exercises for a greater increase in power. We can learn from the gladiators warming up before going into battle and use exercise specific exercise to increase explosive power.
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