The 4-1-1 on Training

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The 4-1-1 training method

  • Member of the week

  • Kitchen tool that make life easier

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Training 4-1-1 (And Other Tips and Techniques)

If you want your workouts to deliver results, Arnold will tell you that you must use progressive resistance. Your body adapts and improves by making each workout harder than the last. Too often, people show up and work hard, but they do the same reps and sets on every exercise.

Adding more weight is the most common form of progressive resistance. You can also add sets or reps. But changing up the speed of your reps is a technique that can make a difference, help you build muscle and strength, and reduce the likelihood of injury.

This mindset shift is invaluable for anyone who does bodyweight workouts or just doesn’t feel comfortable increasing weight. If you’re looking for a way challenge your muscles without using your max, here are two techniques that will give you a boost.

Technique #1: The 4-1-1 Method

The old “information number” still delivers value if you apply it to your training. The 4-1-1 refers to lifting tempo. The first number (4) refers to how many seconds you should take to lower a weight (including your own body, if doing bodyweight exercises). The second number (1) tell you how long to pause at the bottom. And the third number (1) indicates how quickly you should return to the starting position.

The 4-1-1 tempo forces you to control the weight through the full range of motion, which gives your body an incredible stretch. The “flex” portion of a lift gets all the glory, but research suggests the lowering portion (also known as the eccentric) helps you add more strength and creates more tension, which is a key part of muscular growth. You’ll likely be shocked by how much harder an exercise becomes when you slow down the tempo.

Plus, when you lower the weight under control, instead of just dropping into the bottom of the lift, you're more likely to protect your joints and reduce the likelihood of injury.

Technique #2: Put your muscles on hold

If you can “own” each segment of the rep, you’ll better target the muscles you’re trying to train. That’s why isometric training can be so effective.

Remember how you just learned about the 4-1-1? That second number, the “pause” at the bottom of a rep, can be manipulated to add a greater challenge. Instead of holding for one second, imagine holding for 3 or 4 seconds. This removes all momentum, and puts your muscles in a position, where — on most exercises — they will be their weakest, and forces you to generate force from a dead stop. This can help activate more muscle fibers.

Try these two techniques the next time you train. You might have to lower weight or do fewer reps, but don’t be surprised if you “wake up” muscles you haven’t felt in a while.

Member of the week: Chris R.

We have many incredible members of this village. All of you have a story. All of them are amazing. But some you don't forget. This is one of those stories.

You’ve gone through some adversity. Tell us about it.

While camping on a mountain, I fell off of a 100-foot cliff in the middle of the night. I landed head first, breaking my neck, back, ribs, and causing a lot of overall damage to my body. I was alone in the dark, so I had to move myself a little over a mile to find help; had I not I would have bled out. The hospital told my wife that I may never walk again. The following months I relearned how to walk. Within a year and a half I ran a full marathon for the first time in my life, and after a little over two years, I had strength training to a point where I joined the 1000 pound club for the first time. This was all about 2.5 years ago.

What kept you going?

First and foremost is my wife. With love, anything is possible. Second are my goals; setting them up and knocking them down, to have something to measure myself against. The first goal was to walk, then to run, then to race, and then to lift 1000 pounds.

What’s your message to our village, especially the people who are facing their own adversity?

The universe delivers suffering unto us all at times, and it is natural to fear that darkness when it surrounds you. But you must say yes; yes to this day, yes to this life, yes to joyful participation in the sorrows, and everything changes.

The Kitchen Tool that Simplifies Cooking

From Daniel: I’ve shared a lot of my quick recipes, from shrimp pasta to steak dinner to my avocado toast and daily salad. I’m not shy about using hacks and cheats to cut down on my active cooking time.

I’ve talked a lot about sous vide. I use a few different tools, but I use this one by far the most. The sous vide is a device that goes into a pot of water, and heats and circulates the water to exactly the temperature you want. By doing this, you can leave your protein in its bath for an hour or two, knowing that it won’t be over-cooked. This means you can work, spend time with your family, or just relax. It's a way to cook great meals without having to pay much attention to your food. Once the temperature is ready, you sear your meat in a pan for a minute, and it’s ready to eat and is perfectly tender.

This works because if you heat a steak in water that is 130 degrees, it won’t go above 130. (If you leave it in too long, it can apparently break down the meat eventually, so while this has never happened to me, don’t be extreme and do it all day.) If I cook chicken breasts at 165, they’ll be perfectly tender and I don’t have to waste any time watching them outside of my quick sear; it's more time for family, work, or training.

I don’t have an endorsement deal with any sous vide companies, as you probably guessed. I’ll just say I got one that costs less than a week of groceries on Amazon, and I use regular zip lock bags and a pot I already had. It paid for itself the first time it saved me an hour of cooking time.

The 4-1-1 on Training

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