Getting into a fitness program involves a series of trainings and discipline implied in and out of the gymnasium in order to meet the goals initially planned by the instructor for the enrolled individual. At the end of any program, it matters that you feel good both physically and mentally. In this sense, it is not only about looking good, it is more on choosing to do the right thing for yourself – because you know you need it and you want it.
Trainings could be either crucial or beneficial, depending on the approach and knowledge prior to the application. In-line with this, let’s go deeper in tackling one of the most effective methods in the existing modules of the fitness program, the strength training.
Strength training is a physical program known for using resistance to be able to stimulate muscular contraction. At the end of the trainings, the individual is expected to build strength, improve the size of the skeletal muscles and to gain anaerobic endurance. Basically, the exercises included or considered in this training can induce strength for the bone, muscle, ligaments, tendon and joints. As the bone density increases and the joint functions improve, there is a lesser probability of having injuries in the future.
The trainings make use of moderate to high intensity of force in targeting different muscle groups. There are multiple types of weights, equipment and other gym materials used during the routines. Some experts even relate the trainings to anaerobic activity; however, others perceive its strong relevance to circuit trainings and aerobic exercises.
The overall health and well being can be taken care of simultaneously with the help of a strength program. Apart from the physical aspects, the cardiac functions can be monitored and improved effectively, the lipoprotein lipid profiles get better and the metabolic rate fastens.
Strength routines have become popular among the athletes too as its benefits continue to become pertinent. From the American football and basketball, it has been incorporated in the training regimens for hockey, rugby, javelin throw, Highland games, rowing, track and field, bodybuilding and weightlifting.
Just to clarify some of the myths regarding this training, it is a method which can make you lean and not bulky and it can be performed by anyone provided that he or she does not suffer from any types of injuries. Therefore, strength training is perfect for both men and women whether young or old.
Easier Life – Whether you are an aspiring athlete or just an ordinary person, having strength will give you immense advantages in your every day activities. Anyone can make his/her work easily and efficiently with real strength. A real strength means being physically fit and physiologically capable. Daily routines such as carrying children, doing household activities and pushing heavy materials can be much easier when you are strong.
Fat Burner – Strength routines make weight loss possible as it burns fats progressively. Either you are in a hurry to go back on your normal weight or you want it to happen gradually, strength programs can address your concern accordingly. The trainings help you maintain what you have at the moment while making you lose weight, of course with the aid of having a calorie deficit.
Compared to other exercises such as the aerobic ones, the strength trainings provide a much greater level of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Thus, after you finish a routine, your body naturally requires you to replenish and to regain its normal state after spending huge amount of energy. Going through this process can normally boost your metabolism for up to 38 hours as your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) speeds up. The trainings make your body in need of more calories to maintain muscle than it usually does to maintain fats. For instance, the RMR increases 30 to 50 calories for each pound of muscle you get.
Healthier You – As mentioned above, strength trainings makes you healthier in all aspects. Further to this, the trainings help in building stronger heart while improving the flow of blood. It reduces the occurrence of high blood pressure as it balances the rate of blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The muscle loss can also be stopped amid the increasing bone density.
Cardiologists even suggest taking up strength training three weeks after a patient suffered from a heart attack. Most likely, strength trainings would be highly associated with the cardiovascular activities to ensure a healthier heart. With the reduction of unwanted fats and having an improved balance and coordination, you know deep inside your heart that you are healthy, much healthier actually.
Therapeutic Effects – People diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, Down Syndrome, Arthritis, Lymphedema and Osteoporosis are advised to take strength training programs. The trainings have been proven to have therapeutic effects to the patients, helping them to improve and manage their life better than ever. It is also recommended for those who are suffering from spinal cord injuries, clinical depression and for those who have been hit by stroke. There are specific and specialized strength trainings conceptualized for the people with special or extra needs to make sure they don’t go beyond their current state.
Positive Life – Knowing that you are physically fit will make you feel more confident and more optimistic. Studies show that resistance trainings can help a person to reduce stress with an increase cognitive function. A person can usually come up with smarter and sensible decisions while putting aside anxieties and mood swings.
Moreover, sleep apnea and insomnia can be avoided or somehow be cured by having some strength training exercises before bedtime. Some experts disagree with this notion, but releasing stress through the routines can be effective for others.
CAUTION – Strength training can be fun and all, but you must remember to take the precautionary measures. Attend the orientation set by your fitness instructor and let him explain all the details regarding your chosen routine. You must be aware of the benefits as well as the prohibited habits during the training. Above all, never ever forget to consult your doctor before you decide to take a fitness program. Strength training can lessen the chances of having injuries, however, if you are injured you must not do such type of exercise.
Principles in Strength Training
Remember the Big Four – In performing strength training you must remember the four basic exercises namely shoulder press, bench press, deadlift and squat. Of course other strength-building routines can also help, but these four can make a huge difference if you are really into this type of training. In some instances, combining assistance lifts with shoulder and bench press will give you better results as you pull muscles while balancing it with your pressing acts.
- Shoulder Press – Spread outward your lats when the bar is already at shoulder level to let you use more weight.
- Bench Press – For the bench press, just keep your feet steady with head off the bench. Next, pull your body off the bench while holding the bar and then do it forward. Make sure that your body is arched and squeeze your shoulder blades tightly.
- Deadlift – From the typical jumping position, bend to reach the bar but don’t let your back arched. The shoulders must be directly over your knees as well and always keep your hips down.
- Squat – Increase your strength by using weights while doing the squat position. You must try to go lower and lower as your hips are kept bent with bended knees.
Start with the Barbells – Starters are advised to begin with the barbells. There are a lot of equipment available in the four corners of the gymnasium and all of these have their specific purpose and it so happened that the barbells will always be the king. Using barbells induces your body to exert more force, and could be your first move towards your goal. The big four can be performed as well with a barbell- and that’s exactly the starter pack for strength training. After surpassing this stage, you can shift with dumbbells and different bodyweight trainings.
Have Control – Each movement must be controlled and simple. Strength training is not about the speed of the repetitions or using a fast tempo. Other trainers tend to forget this and let their trainees lift weights immediately. It may actually work for professional lifters, but the novice must be taught on how to have control on his pace, weights and reps. Never overdo any routine that you practice, because at the end you might have injuries instead of getting away from it. For instance, three to four lifts per workout is enough, with one main lift and two assistance lifts. The main lift could be one of the big four, while the assistance lifts make muscles stronger.
Normally, you may increase the weight every session for maximum of 10 pounds. You know that you get stronger when you are able to lift weights which are heavier from your previous ones. And this is the progress that anyone must seek during strength trainings.
Sets of Five – With the aid of your fitness instructor, develop sets of five for your daily training. Initially, the target would be for your muscle size and the strength each exercise may provide. As your needs differ, you may try other rep ranges in your workout, but sets of five could lead you the best outcome. Further, you may include triceps pressdown, barbell row, barbell curl and calf raise on your sets of five.
Muscle Stimulation – The muscle growth of the entire body can be stimulated using big lifts, however, before jumping into this plate, you must determine and workout first your weak points. A muscle must be activated in order to grow.
On one hand, deadlifts is a powerful way to activate the muscles on your hamstrings, glutes, forearms, scapular retractors, traps, lats and spinal extensors. On the other hand, deadlifts can’t do all the job, your pecs, delts and biceps might be neglected and might fail in reaching their maximum potential. That’s why you must be keen and smart in choosing the programs integrated in your daily exercises. In case your target is the maximum muscle mass in a specific body part, then choose an exercise that can stimulate the highest muscle activation.
Nutrition and Sleeping Habits – Your effort to be physically fit will turn into dust if you have a bad sleeping habit. Having lack of sleep because of a disorder is understandable, but staying late at night because of unhealthy activities could ruin everything. Strength training calls for a huge amount of energy as well as complete resting period. You need to rest properly to regain strength and prepare your body for the next day. Trainees who fail to have the right amount of sleep, which is basically 7 to 8 hours, also fail to achieve strength and hypertrophy
When it comes to the nutrition sector, anyone must observe a healthier diet with the right amount of calories and appropriate mixture of macronutrients. There are various recipes which can boost muscle growth and fasten the recovery of the body after an intense training. Food supplements and energy drink can help momentarily, but fresh and organic fruits, vegetables and lean meat are much more recommended. Nevertheless, no one is always obedient when it comes to diet. Just don’t consume junks everyday, once is enough. Psychologically, it’s also unhealthy to deprive yourself from eating your “favorites” abruptly. Similar to the trainings, there is a process.
Consistency is the Key – Any trainee must be aware that strength training requires consistency to be effective. Always follow your schedule and keep a note of your progress if possible. Over time, when you practice and train by the book, you will achieve steady gains and strength. This type of training may be demanding of your time, and so it is important that you stay committed. A trainee who hits the gym once in a while with unhealthy habits will be left behind by a dedicated trainee who attends each session deliberately.
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