Concentrating on one area of the body is great for building taut thighs, six-pack abs and a rock-solid chest, but how do you know if you’re overdoing it?
Exercise gurus are always telling you to “feel the burn,” but that burning sensation can swiftly become chronic pain if you don’t exercise properly. Aimed exercise is supposed to target a specific muscle or group of muscles that has given you problems in the past, or that can help you excel at a sport you love. However, concentration is bad for the body.
After all, how much good will you be lying in a bed or lounging on the couch watching Judge Judy? Before you start an aimed exercise program for your legs, buttocks, abs, chest or any other part of your body, consider your starting threshold. How much pressure can you take before you crumple to the floor in pain? The exercise program you devise should never take you to that point, and you shouldn’t feel too stiff to move in the morning when you wake up.
A better idea is to start small, with aimed exercise that doesn’t tax you much at all. You’ll start to get a feel for how much you can handle, at which point you can gradually increase your reps or weight, depending on the exercise. For example, if 25-pound weights feel light as a feather when you’re doing shoulder presses, increase the weight to 35 pounds for two sessions, then go up to 40.
Also, aimed exercise is not meant to be used every single day. You shouldn’t be focusing entirely on your abs seven days a week, for example, because you’ll overdo it and neglect other important muscle groups. Instead, try spreading out your aimed exercise program five days a week, leaving one day for abs, one day for thighs, and so on.
Or, if you prefer, do aimed exercise on that one stubborn muscle group two days a week, then leave another three for cardio and more well-rounded exercise. The goal is to strengthen or tone a particular muscle group, while furthering your health and fitness in other areas as you progress.
If you adopt a healthy exercise routine that doesn’t leave you exhausted and in pain, you’ll be more likely to stick with the program for the rest of your life.