Train the Healthy Limb
I’ve always looked forward to my strength training workouts but since March and the onset of the pandemic, I’ve anticipated with excitement and cherished my workouts more than ever. Since mid-November, I’ve performed my two weekly strength workouts rotating between our St. Louis Park location and our new Micro Studio in Edina. Starting in February, I’ll start rotating my workouts through all seven of our studios (I love the variety of training in all of our studios, on slightly different equipment, and with our array of trainers). But from November through February, 95% of my workouts will be in SLP and the Micro Studio (during our last shut-down, I was trained “virtually,” in one of these studios).
Below is a clip of the Micro workout that I did yesterday with David. Our equipment at this studio is a collection of one of my all-time favorite lines of equipment, Nautilus Nitro. This equipment is no longer manufactured but we sourced a full line of this equipment in Connecticut, had it completely rebuilt and refurbished, and it functions and looks like new. The design of the pec fly is one of my all-time favorite machines and I’ve wanted to own and train on one since 2002.
My workout was as follows:
- Horizontal Calf – 12 reps
- Prone Leg Curl – Lift with both legs for 2 seconds and lower with 1 leg for 8 seconds and continue to alternate legs.
- Leg Press – 20 reps (no rest)
- Leg Extension – 20 reps (as so many of you know, this is a brutally tough combination).
- Chest Press – 12 reps (no rest)
- Pec Fly – 12 reps (no rest)
- Dip – Negative Only
- Pullover – 12 reps (no rest)
- Chin-up – Negative Only
- “MSU Upper Body Finisher” – A series of biceps curl, shoulder press, and push-ups.
- Abdominal- 12 reps
- Back Extension- 12 reps
As always, the exact design of the workout is not what made it magical. This workout was awesome for the same reasons why all workouts are awesome: I was coached and instructed by a great trainer; I always record the workout and the looming pressure to match my last workouts performance or improve with perfect form is always looming; and most importantly; the intensity was high.
I realize that the workout is a means to an end, not an end in itself. That being said, my workout is still truly the highlight of my day. I hope you look forward to your next workout as much as I look forward to mine (and I encourage you to try a session at our Micro Studio).
For decades, when a trainee injured a limb, they avoided training the upper body or lower body (depending on whether the injury was an upper or lower body injury). A brand-new study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports provides even more support for an alternative approach: Train the healthy limb and the “injured” limb will receive the benefits.
Known as bilateral transfer or cross education, researchers had subjects immobilize one arm by wearing a cast for four weeks while training the immobilized arm. One group used standard repetitions; one group used negative only reps, in which a trainer lifted the weight and the trainee lowered the weight under control; a third group did no strength training with the healthy limb.
The results? Well, of course, the exercised limb improved in both muscle strength and size. More importantly, the immobilized limb maintained all previous muscle size and strength (and the negative only group performed even better than the standard rep group). In contrast, the control group who did not train the healthy arm lost 22% of their initial strength and 5% of their muscle size.