Strength Training for Fitness
Muscular Balance and Exercise Selection
Muscle Balance and Exercise Selection
The main goal of a weight training regimen is to produce a gain in overall strength
It is extremely important to consider muscle balance when designing your workouts. Building strength in the triceps should be balanced by strengthening the biceps,
and strengthening the quadriceps should be balanced by strengthening the hamstrings.
Without proper balancing of opposing muscle groups, you become vulnerable to injury.
Types of Exercises
Many exercises can be incorporated into your strength training program. Outlined below is a list of exercises by specific body parts.
This translates into a complete body workout from the calves to the neck.
Standing Calf Raises
Curl Grip Lat Pulldown
One Arm Dumbbell Row
Reverse Barbell Row
Bent Over Barbell Rows
Bench Press Incline
Flat Bench Press
Maximum Repetitions and Strength Training
The most important aspect of strength training is being able to accurately track your progress and development.
This will enable you to discover whether or not a program is working for you, if you need to increase your protein intake in your diet or make any other changes that are necessary.
Determining the maximum number of repetitions that you can complete of certain exercises can be a common cause of injuries in weights rooms. People can often attempt to lift a weight that is too heavy for them and injuries.
To stay safe while trying to determine a one or five rep max, it is important to have completed a warm up and to use a spotter.
How To Determine Your Five Rep Max
Select a weight you know is light enough for 10 repetitions. Perform 10 - 15 repetitions with that weight. Rest for two minutes.
Increase weight 2% - 10%, depending on difficulty of previous set. Perform 6 - 8 repetitions. Rest for two minutes.
Increase weight 2% - 10%, depending on difficulty of previous set. Rest for three minutes. Perform 5 repetitions - this should be close to your 5RM.
Determining Your One Rep Max
Table 3.1 provides an example of how you might determine your 5RM for the
bench press, starting with a weight of 110 lbs. Typically, your 5RM is 87% of your 1RM, and your 10RM is 75% of your 1RM. Thus, if your 5RM is 160, your 1RM would be
approximately 184 lbs, and your 10 RM would be about 138 lbs.
After determining your 5RM, it will be easy to establish your 1RM and loads for workouts.
Rest Between Intervals
Periodization of training is a technique that involves altering training variables to achieve well-defined gains and overall performance.
For example, if you were working towards an athletic competition, you would want to peak at that moment and not earlier. Your training schedule would be adapted to achieve that goal.
There are several phases to periodization and weight training in general. The first phase is one of activation, or getting the body ready for a new activity. It would typically last four weeks. The second phase is for strength development, and it would last about 4 to 7 weeks, depending on how long you have been weight training.
The next phase is the muscular endurance phase, and lasts 8 to 12 weeks, depending on your schedule. Effective use of periodization allows your body to be in optimum shape for the right time.
Weight Lifting Techniques
Correct lifting techniques are critical for achieving maximum benefits and preventing injury.
The lift should be performed as a controlled movement with proper form. Do not compromise your form as it will not help but rather increase your chance of injury.The appropriate speed of lifting needs to be applied to all exercise movements. When performing exercises, such as the bench press, squat, biceps curl, lat pull-down, etc., the weight should be moved at a rate of 1-2 seconds in each direction. This will ensure your safety and optimize strength training.
Proper breathing techniques must be used during weight training. Exhale during
positive weight movement (moving the weight against gravity). This helps prevent the
valsalva maneuver (an increase in internal pressure caused by holding your breath during lifting exercises) which can result in damage to the cardiovascular system. Never hold your breath while performing any exercise task.
It is imperative to warm-up prior to a strength training workout. An active and
dynamic warm-up will elevate the body temperature so that the muscles respond better to the training. An increase in circulation to the joints and tissues allow more elasticity and may decrease the risk of injury.
The warm-up should last long enough to break a sweat then stretching should be initiated. Thus, the major component of a warm-up session for weight training is a cardiovascular workout, or a general warm-up designed to increase your circulation and direct blood flow to the muscles for the upcoming workout. This should be low intensity exercise for 10 to 20 minutes – jogging on the treadmill is an ideal warm up.
Cooling Down and Stretching
Upon the completion of a training routine, cooling down and stretching should not
be overlooked. The cool-down should be gradual to normalize body temperature, prevent pooling of blood in the muscles and return metabolic rates to pre-exercise levels. It also speeds the removal of waste products which tend to increase muscle soreness and prolong recovery. Stretching after weight training maintains joint and muscle flexibility while minimizing muscle spasms and weight training injuries.
In brief, the components of a cool down include:
Low intensity cycling or walking.
Complete body stretching.
You need to listen to your body and be able to recognize the signs of problematic
conditions associated with weight training. In order to allow the body to heal, the improper routine and/or techniques must be altered. Proper technique, progression, variation, rest and recovery will minimize training related injuries.
Injuries - Lack of warm-up and improper lifting techniques (form) can cause muscle damage.
Overuse Syndrome - Occurs when you engage in frequent repetitive exercises to a specific area or use an improper technique during an exercise. The knee, elbow, and shoulder are most susceptible to these injuries.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) - Potentially severe pain experienced 24 to 48 hours after the activity.
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