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Classic Fitness - Get Really Strong Really Fast CLASSIC FITNESS SERIES
How to Get Really Strong, Really Fast
by Michael Stefano

This is the third article in the classic series. With each installment, I'll break down an exercise or basic aspect of strength training. Today we'll examine the best way to build hard-core strength and endurance, as well as improve overall performance. For specific workouts and personalized exercises customized to your exact needs: click here.

In the world of the super-sized everything, bigger is not always better.

I've worked with hundreds of large, muscular guys - firefighters and civilians that had trouble with even the lightest weight on certain exercises, while some of my 130-pound female clients could pull out five-rep sets of dead lifts at 250 pounds. It turns out that strength and size are not the same attributes.

· How to build real strength and endurance
· Why bodybuilding and firefighting don't mix
· Specific tactics to structure workouts effectively

Like oil and water, bodybuilder-type training and firefighting don't mix. Bodybuilders train to build muscle as their primary goal. Athletes and firefighters train to perform better, accepting the vast improvement in appearance and muscle tone as an unavoidable side effect (please don't feel sorry for them), without the extra baggage of bloated muscles.

When training for performance you need to abandon the gym rat, health club rhetoric of the self-absorbed, wanna-be bodybuilder for the sensible advice of professional strength and performance coaches around the world. When it comes to exercise, you need to GET REAL.

Never again will you strive to isolate this muscle or that, but instead you'll opt for BIG movements that train multiple muscle groups in a very real-life way. Properly performed squats and lunges are a great example of exercises that mimic very common movement patterns that can be used to forge tremendous fitness.

High reps will be a thing of the past on all but a few drills. You'll learn how to utilize low repetitions with more sets to enhance skill and strength development while saving high-rep ballistic type workouts for building the hybrid quality known as strength-endurance. For a custom strength-endurance program, click here.

You'll take a new approach to each and every exercise, keeping totally focused on the work at hand. Full body stability will be emphasized, bringing the true core into play. A rock hard midsection and pure strength are inevitable.

Your workouts, though not overcomplicated, will have a logical progression toward an achievable goal, with periods of varying levels of active-rest-workouts in between. The technique of incorporating active rest (training that takes place at about sixty-percent of your full capacity) is probably the fastest way to improve overall performance while you keep fatigue to a minimum. Excess fatigue can easily counteract or mask all improvement.

Breaking from the pop-fitness culture is never easy, but I urge you to leave the Bally's trainers behind. Take an active interest in your body. Give yourself an education on what it truly takes to make the changes you need. As a start, take a peak at the rest of this website, peruse some of the articles, and take it from there.

I also offer one-on-one training at my fitness studio on Long Island, New York, as well as online personalized fitness plans.

Custom Workouts by Fitness Pro, Mike Stefano MICHAEL STEFANO is the creator and author of the Firefighter's Workout (Harper Collins 2000). Mr. Stefano is a health and fitness writer, contributor to eDiets, eFitness, and Firehouse.Com. Michael's articles have appeared on AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! His workouts have been featured in magazine and newspapers from around the country, as well as in numerous network and cable TV segments. He also offers an online version of his FitFlash custom program, via a comprehensive 22-point fitness profile form.

Mike offers online personalized workouts for firefighters, candidates, and civilians.


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