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Why Not Just Hold Dumbbells or Barbells the Traditional Way?

Tight Grip
For the record, there is nothing wrong with using the traditional approach of simply holding dumbbells or barbells to perform most exercises as usual.  This post is making the assumption that you realize some exercises, like a bench press, REQUIRE the use of a tight grip, verses an exercise like a cable chess press where you can use a lose hand or open grip and still properly control the equipment [Sad that this common sense disclaimer has to be added, but you know them internet professors.]   That said, to explain why not having to hold anything in your hands during training whenever possible is a better option try this simple experiment: Place both of your hands in front of you, ball them into fists, and squeeze them together as tight as possible for at least 30 seconds.

[Try it now, then continue reading]

If you actually squeezed your fists together tightly, you experienced some form of isometric muscle fatigue. Which means you were required to exert ENERGY to simply squeeze your fists together. While this may not seem like a lot of energy, anytime you have to firmly hold something while you’re working out you are diverting energy from the primary exercise–wasting energy that could be going to the actual muscles you’re training. While this may not seem like a lot, it compounds into a lot of wasted energy. 

Over an extended period of time, even that small amount of wasted energy adds up and impedes flow. For example, professional long distance runners are taught to not have their hands too tight (or too lose) while running because it wastes energy, and also restricts the natural flow of movement and energy within their body. Conversely, a really bad example of energy being wasted during an exercise are Hanging (Ab) Grip Crunches. Reason being, the goal of the exercise is to train the abs, however, at least 80% of that energy is expended and wasted on holding onto a bar.  And while not still the best solution, an alternative was to develop sleeves that your arms could slide into to alleviate the problem of struggling to hold the bar while performing the exercise.  As a result, that 80% of once wasted energy can now be better utilized toward the actual purpose of the exercise–training the abs.

PlyoBelt Hip ThrustLeveraging this simple empirical evidence, is exactly why I decided to create  the PlyoBelt™.  Because doing something as simple as a hip thrusts or more directed like walking dumbbell lunges, when you aren’t required to hold anything during your exercise, it’s more energy you can use toward the muscles you’re actually trying to train. These are the types of small, yet advanced techniques that professional trainers and athletes understand, and apply to their routines that add up to big results!

NOTE: Those that know the teachings of Bruce Lee realize that this relates to his concept of Flow Like Water and how he used it to develop the 1-inch punch.

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