The Great American Exercise Dream

By Dr. Ben Lerner With all of the diet programs, mega-vitamin and super drug information out there, the role of exercise seems to have been watered down or eliminated altogether. Three ideas in particular have ...

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By Dr. Ben Lerner

With all of the diet programs, mega-vitamin and super drug information out there, the role of exercise seems to have been watered down or eliminated altogether. Three ideas in particular have gotten out of control:

Dieting without exercise.
Taking a vitamin or drug to eat what you want and lose weight.
Exercising only when it's time to lose weight.

The truth is, however, losing weight without increasing muscle only means that you'll fit

in a smaller coffin

. There are a whole lot of skinny people in the cancer and heart disease wards. You do not have a weight problem just because you weigh too much: You do have a weight problem because you have

too much body fat


It is not only how much you weigh that causes you to develop disease; it is how much body fat you have compared to how much muscle you have, which is obviously highly associated with obesity.

One of the many aims of exercise is to increase the amount of real muscle and decrease the amount of loosely packed muscle, or what we call fat.

High body-fat-to-muscle ratios negatively affect organ function, hormone balances, immune control, brain activity and blood chemistry, and that makes you more sensitive to potentially hazardous food elements such as sugar and cholesterol.

Aerobic exercise (exercise "with air") has an impact on burning fat and building some muscle in the areas being used. Yet, to really help your cause you need anaerobics or "exercise without air." For muscles to become stronger, leaner and better developed, you have to apply resistance to them.

While many people put resistance only against their gluteus muscles (the ones they sit on), to create actual muscles you must adapt some sort of force. Remember, God gave you muscles that were supposed to be digging, climbing trees and wrestling with an attacking lion, not simply cracking open a beer.

If you do not regularly put your muscles under some strain, you again work against the intentions of nature and interfere with what it takes to have vital health and real wellness.

With time and pressure, lean-muscle-mass-to-body-fat ratios go up, in addition to creating a stronger, more shapely body, which isn't bad either.

The most effective way to create pressure against the muscles and get predictable results is through a properly applied weight-lifting program using machines, weights, bands or any other form of resistance equipment.

Quick Sets Give You More for Less

Starting an exercise program is not nearly as important as staying on one. While there are hundreds of movement programs available, it is critical you begin them with the end in mind.

When it comes to exercise you must always ask yourself, "Will I keep it up?" Starting and stopping exercise programs or infrequently exercising does you no good. That is why you must consider everything necessary not just to begin, but to continue.

Quick sets, the ultimate way to perform resistance training, allow you to get a workout in for an individual body part in as little as three minutes. These routines can be as simple and as short as you need them to be in order to fit them into your schedule or level of motivation on any given day or week.

This program can also be performed more or fewer times per week, depending on how quickly you desire to make changes to the muscles of your body. This actually creates the possibility of knowing you will not only exercise consistently this week, or for the next 90 days, but forever.

Due to the type of adaptation your body must make while performing quick sets, you are able to create significant changes in the composition (body fat percentage and muscle tone) of a body part within three minutes. Busy moms, overworked professionals and students on a tight time schedule can still be extremely effective in their lives and get in shape, all at the same time.

Using quick set programs on individual body parts for three minutes, many of my patients, clients and friends, as well as me, have been able to maintain busy schedules, a high-quality family life and find plenty of leisure time while still being in the best shape of our lives.

These routines can be used to increase the intensity of your workouts, shorten your workout times and very safely speed up your results. The idea is to increase the intensity without increasing the weight, which makes it safe.

They are designed so anyone can perform them and make great changes to your body on any level. Whether you are a retired grandma or an aspiring Olympian, consider which of the following quick set plans that may suit your needs the best.

Types of Quick Sets

Decline Set

  • Pick one exercise and do it for 8-12 repetitions until failure.

  • Rest 5-6 seconds.

  • Lower the weight 5-20 pounds and do the exercise again for 6-8 repetitions until failure.

  • Rest 5-6 seconds.

  • Lower the weight 5-20 pounds again and do another 6-8 repetitions until failure.

Pause Set

  • Pick one exercise and do it for 8-12 repetitions until failure.

  • Rest 5-6 seconds.

  • Using the same weight, do the exercise again until failure.

  • Rest 5-6 seconds.

  • Repeat this process until you cannot do the exercise for more than 1-2 repetitions.

Monster Set

A monster set is when, after performing an exercise for one body part, instead of resting, you immediately perform an exercise for another body part. The other body part should be one that was not used while exercising the first body part. For example, the chest and biceps, or quadriceps and hamstrings.

Monster sets are combined with decline or pause sets so you can get a tremendously effective workout done in a very short amount of time. For example, after you perform a pause set with the Incline Flye Press for your chest, you can immediately begin performing a decline set with Hammer Curls for your biceps.

Cycle Set (1 Cycle = 3-6 Minutes)

To perform a cycle set, you set up 3-6 exercises for the same or different body parts. As soon as you are done performing one exercise until failure, you immediately go to the next, and then the next. Continue going around the circuit three or four times.

For example, set up separate exercises for your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, then do them one right after another, and repeat this circuit three or four times. You can also set up three exercises for only one body part and go around the circuit that way 2-4 times.

Help Reps

Help reps can be used with any intensity set. A help rep is performed when a helper or "spotter" stands near you during your set, and when you reach failure they help you to perform 1-2 more repetitions.

Dr. Ben Lerner

, along with Dr. Greg Loman, owns Teach The World About Chiropractic, a Chiropractic training company. They have helped build the largest spinal correction clinics in the history of Chiropractic. For more information on quick sets, read Dr. Lerner's book, Body by God: The Owner's Manual For Maximized Living.


Articles of interest from Dr Jay Dooreck D.D.S. P.C. (pictured above) in areas of holistic health reprinted with permission from

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