Vertical Training vs. Horizontal Training: Which Do You Need?

Vertical Training vs. Horizontal Training: Which Do You Need?

Whether you’re new to fitness or a seasoned vet, most likely you once experienced the feeling of walking into a gym and not knowing where to begin. With all the various cardio and weight equipment, how do you know where to start? Is it with cardio? How many days a week should you weight train? What type of training is right for your body? A lot of questions tend to flood the mind and can oftentimes scare people away from returning to the gym. Let’s break things down a bit, starting with: what is vertical training vs. horizontal training?

Vertical training can be viewed as anything that involves ascension (i.e. rising/climbing), whether actual or simulated. Examples of vertical training could be climbing on the Stairmaster, an inclined walk or run on the treadmill, or mountain climbing.

Horizontal training, on the other hand, refers to exercises that would keep your form parallel to the ground. Some typical exercises include using the rowing machine, running (without incline), or working out on a stationary bike.

Now that you know the differences– which form of training is best?

If you guessed both, you are correct. Neither is necessarily “better” for you than the other. It’s up to personal preference and which part of the body you are looking to train. Some machines may better benefit those recovering from an injury, while others training  specific skills or for a competition may want to use others. The best thing to do before questioning what type of training is right for you or getting overwhelmed by all of your options is this: come up with a clear and defined list of goals.

Knowing your goals may seem pretty obvious, but it’s a lot more than simply knowing you want to lose weight, or you want to get stronger. Break down your overall goal into smaller ones. If you want to lose weight, ask yourself where you want to lose the weight. Is it from the stomach area? Maybe you want to tone your arms? Knowing the muscles you would like to strengthen will help you narrow down which machines to use and what type of exercise you should be engaging in.

If you have your “baby goals” written down, but you’re still unsure where to begin, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for help. More often than not, people enjoy helping others who are looking to better themselves. Making your health a priority is an admirable goal, and many share that goal. Everyone starts somewhere, so ask a friend or fellow gym-goer how to use a machine you’re unsure of. Better yet, ask an employee to help you out. If extra assistance is needed, consider signing up for personal training to get a deeper, more personalized plan for you.

Once the “scariness” of the gym goes away, you will be surprised how much easier going seems to be. Don’t be afraid to try new machines, attempt a new class or make a new friend. As author Jack Canfield once put it, “everything you want is on the other side of fear.” So, where will you begin? Is vertical training better than horizontal? In the battle between the two, both win. Train the way that best fits you, and watch all you can accomplish!


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Question:

When I exercise, I feel tired. What do I need to take during day? I work in construction but I’m not doing any hard job.

– Raumir

Answer:

Right off the bat, you shouldn’t need to “take” anything. Look at your sleep, energy intake, and hydration. Chances are you are depleted in one of those areas accounting for your tiredness. Exercising too heavily or intensely may prevent adequate oxygen utilization and cause you to burn out early.

Solution:

  • Fully allow your body to rest and repair, enabling you to maximize your physical and mental performance. Be sure you are getting at least 6 hours of uninterrupted quality (deep) sleep.
  • Eat a proper diet of sufficient calories, assisting you to complete a full workout. Constant movement can burn up to 5000 calories per day, even if you never lift more than 30 pounds or use great force!
  • Drink adequate fluids to support physiological processes responsible for energy production and muscle movement. Consume at least one ounce per kilogram of body weight. That’s about 1 cup of fluid per 15 pounds.
  • Work out at a moderate intensity such that you can still carry on a light conversation.

If you’re already practicing the above and still have problems with sleepiness or lack of endurance, be sure to check with your physician to rule out any other underlying cause, such as anemia.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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As a female looking to build lean muscle, would you recommend pre workout, BCAA’s or neither? If you do what products do you like?

– Brittany H.

Answer:

The basic nutrition approach to gaining lean mass for a female is quite similar to that for a man – increase fuel and building blocks to support the increase in anaerobic work. How can I gain weight in muscle, not fat? 

Suitable easily digestible protein and carb-balanced snacks are discussed in previous articles Is an actual breakfast or a pre-workout drink formula best before a morning workout? and What are the Best Foods to Eat Before & After a Workout? | Q+A to name a couple. 

It seems you’d like to know specifically about supplements to give you an edge. Creatine is known to improve weight-training results and is generally safe. Branched chain amino acids “BCAAs” (though I prefer longer peptides) can be part of a pre-workout formula which also has medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and some carbohydrates to give enough energy to support a workout. See Do I need a pre workout drink? answered. I am a big fan of real food, so don’t promote any products by brand. In looking for a pre-workout powder, avoid more than 200mg caffeine, vasodilators like nitrous oxide (NO) and combinations of more than 3 stimulants. 4 Myths and Facts You Need to Know about Dietary Supplements

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

LA Fitness Living Healthy subscribe button

Want more? SUBSCRIBE to receive the latest Living Healthy articles right in your inbox!

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.


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