Love Hate Relationship

Published 12/12 2011 09:58AM

Updated 12/12 2011 10:50AM

Why is it important to do exercises you hate?

Most people have certain exercises they hate to do at the gym 0r during their workouts at home. Some break into a sweat at the thought of doing pull-ups, while others go limp at idea of doing lunges or squats. Push-ups are another exercise that tops the list of most unpopular exercises. Maybe it's because they conjure up images of being in the military where extra push-ups are doled out as punishment. Or maybe it's because they're hard.
What do most people do when they hate doing certain exercises? They avoid them. Instead, they focus on exercises they enjoy whether they be biceps curls, lateral raises or triceps kickbacks. They conveniently avoid tackling the exercises on their "not to do" list. The result? They do the same exercises over and over again so they can stay inside their comfort zone.
Unfortunately, you don't build muscle in the comfort zone. Muscles grow in response to overload and challenge, and doing the same routine week after week is a slow road to muscle mediocrity. Your body adapts over time to doing the same exercises over and over. When it does, it becomes more efficient at doing them, and muscle growth grinds to a halt.
The key to building lean body mass is to progressively overload all of the major muscle groups while challenging them in a variety of ways. To develop stronger triceps, you would do triceps kickbacks, triceps pushdowns, triceps extension, dips and close-grip pushups. Most people do the first three, and avoid doing dips and push-ups. These are the very exercises they need the most to get the development they're looking for.
People sometimes don't do exercises they dislike, because they're the most difficult for them to do. This is precisely why they need to do them since they target an area of weakness. Weight training means pushing a little past the point of comfort to get results without sacrificing form, and it means tackling exercises that don't always feel comfortable. If it feels good, you're not working hard enough. The key to building strength and definition is stepping outside the comfort zone.

How to Tackle Exercises You Hate

So how can you get the motivation up to do exercises you hate? Don't tackle more than one new exercise at a time. Choose one exercise you've been avoiding to focus on every month. Don't try to tackle push-ups and pull-ups at the same time. Choose only one to give you undivided attention for a full 30 days.
When you tackle push-ups for the first time, start out doing them on your knees instead of your toes until you've mastered the movement with perfect form. For pull-ups, start out using an assisted pull-up machine at the gym until you get the feel for the movement. Doing this will build your confidence. Commit to doing three sets every session gradually using less and less assistance until you're ready to tackle them unassisted.
Once you stop avoiding a particular exercise you'll develop more strength and confidence. Not to mention the extra ripples you're going to see when you flex your muscles in a few months. Sometimes it pays to leave the comfort zone.

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