Kim Duke

By Kim Duke

NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer

I have had the luxury and good fortune to be a personal trainer for the past 11 years.  During this time span, I have had a lot of time to grow, learn and develop sure-fire ways to burn body fat and build muscle.  I have also had the pleasure of training some remarkable individuals over the years ranging in age from 9 years old to 92 years old.  Each individual requires their own plan and exercises to achieve their goals- but, this rules of thumb stays the same for all of my clients: stick to sound basic principles.

Here are some of the basics I have used over the years that have worked for me and my clients:


Although machines can be useful tools to help individuals to start a strength-training program, most experts agree that you can achieve more if you spend most of your time using free weights.  Free weights will help the participant discover weaknesses and strengths that can go undiscovered with machines.  When using free weights, your body has no assistance from mechanical devices.  Your muscles not only have to lift the weight, they have to ensure that you stay balanced and stable.  This requires considerable effort and muscle coordination.  When your routines are based around barbell and dumbbell exercises, you can expect to see muscle growth happen more quickly.


If you want to build as much muscle as possible, it makes sense to emphasize exercises that work more than one muscle group.  While isolation exercises have their place, of course, remember that if you are working one muscle group, then that is the only muscle group that will grow (i.e. biceps curl).

Compound exercises will multiply the effectiveness and results on your muscles. The following exercises will get you maximum return of the effort invested:

Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts, Barbell/dumbbell bench press, Pull-up, Chin-ups, Military press, Shoulder Press, Rows, Dips, etc.


The eccentric phase of an exercise is the second part where you are lowering the weights, and the muscle in question is lengthening. This is where I tell my clients that “their range of motion” will make all the difference in their results.  Also, slow down during this phase; do not let gravity do all the work.  And remember, control is key to doubling the effectiveness of any phase.  If you are working the muscles in both halves of the exercise, you will find that makes a real difference.


A pet peeve here at CORE PERFORMANCE:  If you allow your self to exercise with poor form, you will get little or no benefit from your workout.  You may even risk an injury.  This is the main reason every trainer/instructor is fully certified and mentored before working with clients /teaching classes.


If you employ all of the above strategies, you can achieve amazing results for sure.  But, you need to be realistic.  You cannot expect to workout hard for a week and see drastic results. It will take time and consistency.  But, if you keep showing up and doing what needs to be done, you will get results.

Simple mathematics and biology tell us that if we keep pushing our muscles, they will continue to grow and stay strong.  Now, it is time to get your head into the equation and make your own magic.

And, if you require extra accountability, sign up for a class or book some personal training at Core Performance or a fitness center of your choice.  For more info on Core Performance contact us at (716) 698-1198 or check out our web site at  You can also like us on Facebook.