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The Basic Six Strength Training Program


- Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP

Introduction

The following Basic Six Strength Training Program, as I call it, features the basic 6 resistance training exercises that strengthen, tone and define all of the major muscles in the body. I have used this with myself and many patients over the years and it get results. The program only takes about 30 minutes, but must be performed a minimum of twice per week. You can do this routine as often as 3-4 times per week if you wish to achieve accelerated strength gains and muscle size. The important thing is to perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions per set, using a weight that is heavy enough that you can’t do more than 8 repetitions (or it would very difficult to perform another repetition) in a single set. That means that as you get stronger and more toned, you will have to increase the weight you are lifting so that your muscles fatigue out by 8 repetitions. Between sets rest for 60-90 seconds. Once you have done 3 sets of 8 repetitions at one station, then move to the next station and follow the same protocol. I recommend you do the exercises in the order outlined below, working first your upper body, then your lower body. The Basic Six Routine Includes:

  1. Chest Press Station 
  2. Overhead Press 
  3. Lat Pull Downs 
  4. Seated Leg Press 
  5. Knee Extension 
  6. Hamstring Curl

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The Basic Six Strength Training Program

Dr. James Meschino, 

DC, MS, ROHP

Six Strength Training Program

1. Chest Press Station– this station works chest (pectoralis) muscles as well as the triceps and front deltoids (in the front of the shoulder) 

Instructions:

  • Adjust the weight to one that will fatigue your muscles out by 8 repetitions (trial and error at first).
  • Adjust the seat so your shoulders are even with the bars.
  • With your back pressed on the pad, sit with your feet firmly flat on the floor and your abdominal muscles tight.
  • Grab the bars loosely and exhale as you press outward. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and don't lock your elbows.
  • Inhale as you retract your arms back to the starting position and repeat.

2. Overhead Press Station – this station primarily works the shoulder muscles (deltoids and trapezius), and the triceps.

Instructions:

  • Adjust the weight to one that will fatigue your muscles out by 8 repetitions (trial and error at first).
  • Position the seat such that the handles are roughly at shoulder height.
  • Raise the handles above the head in a controlled motion, ensuring that you do not slam the arms upward and stress the elbow joint.
  • Exhale as you push upward.
  • Lower handles in a controlled motion back to starting position as you inhale, and repeat

3. Lat Pull Down – this exercise works the latissimus dorsi muscles (on either side of the middle to upper back) as well as the shoulders and arms to a lesser degree. It helps to create the “V” shape to the upper body.

Instructions –

  • Adjust the weight to one that will fatigue your muscles out by 8 repetitions (trial and error at first).
  • Sit on the seat and adjust the thigh pads so that your thigh muscles above the knees sit comfortably under the support.
  • Grasp the cable bar with a wide overhand grip, and sit on the seat with thighs under the support.
  • You should just be able to reach the bar when you stretch up. If you can't, adjust the seat or bar hanger cable or chain.
  • Pull the bar down in front of your head as you exhale (down to at least chin level and slightly beyond).
  • Slowly release and allow the bar to rise until your elbows are almost (but no quite) extended as you inhale, and repeat

4. Seated Leg Press Machine (Hip Extension) – this exercise works the gluteal muscles (on your butt), the quadriceps (front of thighs) and the hamstrings (back of upper leg).

Instructions:

  • Adjust the weight to one that will fatigue your muscles out by 8 repetitions (trial and error at first).
  • Sit on the machine with your back against the padded support.
  • Place feet on the foot plate about hip width apart, ensuring the heels are flat. The legs should form an angle of about 90 degrees at the knee with a little variation either way as long as the heels sit flat on the plate.
  • Your bottom should not be raised from the seat platform. If it is, and the legs are at too sharp an angle, then you need to adjust the seat back until the correct position is enabled.
  • Grasp the assist handles.
  • Exhale as you push the foot plate away from your body against the resistance.
  • Inhale as you guide the foot plate back to the starting position and repeat.

5. Knee Extension Machine – this exercise isolates the quadriceps muscles on the front of the upper thigh.

Instructions:

  • Adjust the weight to one that will fatigue your muscles out by 8 repetitions (trial and error at first).
  • Sit on the leg extension machine and if possible adjust the level of the resistance pad that rests against your lower shin bone to reside just above your ankle (not too far up your leg or over any part of your foot). Adjust the seat, if possible, to ensure that you are not too far back or too far forward such that your knees sits roughly at the edge of the front of the seat.
  • During the exercise, keep your lower back flush against the back pad.
  • Keep your abdominal muscles tight.
  • Under control, inhale as you curl the resistance pad up while focusing on your legs (your upper body should remain stable through out the exercise). Grip the handrails on the side to stabilize your upper body.
  • Stop just before your knees are fully extended and reverse the motion back down while exhaling and repeat.

6. Hamstring Curl Machine – this exercise isolate the hamstring muscles in the back of the upper leg.

Instructions:

  • Select the weight according to your strength and fitness level (trial and error).
  • Lie face down on the machine comfortably, while hooking the back of your ankles underneath the pad.
  • Raise the weight up toward your buttocks, while inhaling and holding on to the hand grips to stabilize your upper body.
  • Lower the weight back to the starting position while exhaling and repeat.

Note: there is also a seated hamstring curl machine that also works quite well. Ask a fitness professional for advice on how to use it effectively and safely if you have access to one

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The Basic Six Strength Training Program

Dr. James Meschino, 

DC, MS, ROHP

Exercise

Endurance Exercise – endurance exercise should elevate your heart rate into the aerobic training zone and maintain it there for at least 20 minutes, more preferably 30-45 minutes per session. Once in your aerobic training zone the release of adrenaline and nervous system adaptations release fat from your fat cells. In turn, the fat travels through the bloodstream and is extracted by the exercising muscles to be burned as a fuel. Thus, it is an efficient way to reduce body fat. In addition, endurance training within your aerobic training zone provides a multitude of benefits to your heart and vascular system, helping to reduce risk of heart attack. It also released endorphins, which elevates mood and sense of well being.

You can identify the lower end of your aerobic training zone by subtracting your age from 220 and then multiplying by 0.6. This represents the number of heart beats per minute required to cross the threshold into your aerobic training zone. The high end of the zone is estimated by subtracting your age from 220 and then multiplying by .85. Most people are comfortable at a exercising heart rate that is around the middle of the zone, which is approximately 180 minus your age.

Examples of aerobic endurance exercise include:

Power Walking

Jogging

Stationary Cycling

The Elliptical Machine

Stairmaster

Step Mill

Swimming

The following is an example of 5 consecutive days on the Meschino Basic Training Program for cardiovascular fitness and muscle strengthening and contouring: As you can see, it only requires 30 minutes per day, plus a few stretches. 

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Endurance Exercise – 30 minutes

Basic 6 Weight Training Program – 30 minutes

Endurance Exercise – 30 minutes

Basic 6 Weight Training Program – 30 minutes

Endurance Exercise – 30 minutes

If you are unaccustomed to these forms of exercise, always check with your physician before beginning a program of this nature.

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