Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • April 2011
Written by  Dan Davies

Hollywood in Wisconsin Fitness: Progressive resistance is not futile

The first time I heard the phrase "progressive resistance" I was 14 years old. At that time I had no idea what it meant. Although I immediately thought, "Wow, that sounds like the name of a horribly schlocky, 1980s science fiction film about aliens and their desire for human subjugation starring Adrian Zmed and William Shatner." Yeah, I know. I was a strange kid.

I first learned about progressive resistance (weight training, exercise machines, resistance bands, etc.) from my dad. He was a noted athlete in high school and was a bodybuilder in the 1960s. He worked out in Milwaukee with some of the Midwest’s best bodybuilders. His workout partners consisted of a Mr. Wisconsin bodybuilding champ and a former Mr. Western America who won the title one year before "Hercules Unchained" and Mr. Universe Steve Reeves won it.

My dad felt that not only was it the best overall form of exercise but that it was the key to keeping yourself young. He was instrumental in getting me and all of my brothers and sisters on the road to health and wellness. He repeatedly said, almost to the point of ad nauseam, "Guys, weight training keeps you strong and fast. Progressive resistance exercise keeps you... (pause for dramatic effect) "progressively resistant to old age." And then he’d immediately follow this life lesson with, "Shut those damn lights off you beautiful, reprobate kids." Actually, that last part was correct except for the damn. He was actually energy conscious/green before it was fashionable. But I digress.

Now he’s in his 70s. He can still bench around 200 pounds and leg press more than 300 pounds. On top of that, his sweetie is about 30 years his junior, meaning that my step-mom is 6 months younger than I am. Weird, huh?

On that note, who isn’t excited about the prospect of being fit, strong, and youthful. For my last film, "Ed Gein, The Musical" I was chunky, dumpy, frumpy, chubby, plumpy, pudgy, paunchy, tubby and "John Goodmany". But for my next film I have to be sinewy and "muscly". I have to look good without a shirt on...I have to look closely akin to an NFL cornerback...think of me as an older, slower, dumber version of Charles Woodson (6’1 and 200 lbs).

My trainer, Greg Reynolds, is on task for me. First and foremost he believes in compound exercises.

Compound exercises are the opposite of isolated exercises. These are exercises that hit many muscles all at once. When you perform them you are hitting at least two or three muscle groups. A great example is the bench press. When you perform a bench press or machine press you hit at least three muscle groups. You hit your chest (pectorals) your arms (triceps) and your shoulders (deltoids). This is far more effective because it is a time saver, it gives you more time between workout sessions to recover and these compound exercises also increase your testosterone/HGH, which aids in muscle procurement and refinement. Another great compound exercise is the squat. This exercise hits your thighs (quadriceps) your butt (gluteus maximus-kind of sounds like a disgraced Roman Emperor) your lower back (erector spinae) and your lower abs (rectus addominis). On that note here is a rough overview of Greg’s Compound K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple) workout.

Day one - 40-minute run/stretch for 15 minutes

Day two - strength train chest/shoulders/tris/core

Day three - 40-minute run/stretch for 15 minutes

Day four - strength train back/biceps/core

Day five - rest

Repeat cycle...the only difference is strength train legs/core on day two, chest/shoulders/tris/core on day four. If you miss a day unexpectedly, simply start the cycle over again.

Next month I will go into detail with specific exercises, set/rep information and the importance of recovery between workouts. So if you can take anything from this article please remember to add in progressive resistance to be progressively resistant to old age and remember to turn those damn lights off you beautiful reprobates.

Dan Davies is co-owner of DaviesRussell, LLC, a full service TV/film production house. He has won numerous awards for his TV and film work including top honors at the Houston International Film Festival. He is in the process of getting in shape for his next film role. His latest movie "Ed Gein, The Musical," in which he wrote and plays the lead, has been featured in over 1000 articles worldwide, Fox News National, NPR, WGN, XM Satellite, Sirius Radio, Roger Ebert, etc. The film is in the midst of a Midwest theatrical run and may be getting a nationwide run via Cinemark or Cinedigm this spring. Dan is a proud graduate of UW-La Crosse and loves all things Wisconsin! Become a fan of "Ed Gein, The Musical" on Facebook.

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