Strength Training

Strength training

Strength training is an inclusive term that describes all exercises devoted toward increasing physical strength such as the strength and size of skeletal muscles.There are mainly three type of strength training which include weight training, resistance training and isometric training.

The basic principles of strength training involve different number of repetitions (reps), sets, tempo, exercises and force to cause desired changes in strength, endurance, size or shape by overloading of a group of muscles. The specific combinations of reps, sets, exercises, resistance and force depend on the purpose of the individual performing the exercise.

Weight training

Weight training uses a variety of specialized equipment to target specific muscle groups and types of movement. It uses the force of gravity (in the form of weighted bars, dumbbells or weight stacks) to oppose the force generated by muscle through concentric or eccentric contraction. Weight training is often used as a synonym for strength training, but is actually a specific type within the more inclusive category.

Resistance training

Resistance training is a form in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance (i.e. resistance to being pushed, squeezed, stretched or bent). Exercises are isotonic if a body part is moving against the force. Exercises are isometric if a body part is holding still against the force.

Isometric exercise

Isometric exercise or isometrics are a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction (compared to concentric or eccentric contractions, called dynamic/isotonic movements). Isometrics are done in static positions, rather than being dynamic through a range of movement. The joint and muscle are either worked against an immovable force (overcoming isometric) or are held in a static position while opposed by resistance (yielding isometric).

Concentric contraction

Concentric contraction is a type of muscle activation that increases tension on a muscle as it shortens.

For example, common exercises that cause concentric contractions include the lifting phase of a bicep curl, a squat or a pull up. Running up hill or climbing stairs also causes the quadriceps to contract concentrically. Concentric contractions are common to many sports in which you need to generate a lot of power or explosive force.

Eccentric contraction

Eccentric muscle contraction is a type of muscle activation that increases tension on a muscle as it lengthens. For example, common exercises that cause an eccentric contraction include lowering weights and the downward motion of squats, push ups or pull ups, going down stairs, running downhill. Eccentric contractions are common to many sports in which you need controlled or resisted types of movements.

Eccentric contractions are associated with the onset of delayed muscle soreness. Eccentric muscle contractions also appear to be associated with greater muscle strengthening than when using concentric contractions.

Warm Up

It is recommended that you always warm up before training. It will be helpful in preventing muscle injury. Warming up prepares you not only physically but also mentally and are a crucial part of any training. First you spent approximate 10 minutes on a cardiovascular exercise such as jogging or cycling. After that you warm up before every strengthening exercise by  doing that exercise with a lower weight and more repetition (1 set of 15 repetitions with 70 percent of your maximum weight).

Focus

Focus before every exercise, that way you lower the chances for injuries and will be able to lift heavier weights and do more repetitions.

Breathing

Breathing is essential to all types of training. Often during strength training people make the mistake and hold their breaths during, for example, a lift. Continue breathing through out the entire movement. However there is a preferred way of using your breath during strength training. Breath out during the concentric contraction (i.e muscle actively shortening). Breath in during the eccentric contraction (i.e muscle actively lengthening).

Stabiles your body (i.e. core)

To help prevent injuries during training it is important that you have a stable core (i.e stomach and lower back). Put your feet in line with your shoulders. Slightly bend your knees so they are not completely straight. Push your hips forward and suck in your stomach. This will balance your body, prevent you from injuries and put focus on the muscle you are training. An unstable core will put extra strain on your lower back and will prevent you from putting focus on the specific muscle group you are training. People who sway while lifting weights are cheating in a way because they use other muscle groups and the swinging motion as help.

Choosing Right Weights

Choosing the right weights are essential in weight training. Most often people will use too heavy weights which will increase the chances for injuries. Start with lighter weights and test how strong you are. In the beginning you should focus more on how to do the exercises correctly and stabiles your core.

Remember, before every set do a warm up set with 15 repetitions and 70 percent of your maximum weight.

Train your entire body

A lot of men focus on their upper body and don´t train their lower as much. There are several reasons why you should train your entire body which include legs.

  • The legs are one of the body´s biggest muscle groups. Exercise of the legs increase the production of growth hormone (GH) which will benefit your overall muscle development.
  • The legs help stabilize your upper body and will give you advantages in the upper body exercises.
  • Exercising your leg will increase your metabolism. Muscles needs more energy than fat and the more muscles you have the more calories you will burn.
  • Most people will agree that it is more aesthetically pleasing to have evenly distributed muscles throughout your entire body.

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