What is Strength Training?
Strength training is a method of improving physical fitness. It involves using resistance to increase muscle mass or improve power, agility, endurance and other qualities. The term “strength” refers not only to muscular size but also to the ability of muscles to produce force when used in contraction. For example, if you were lifting a heavy weight with your arms straight out at shoulder height then you would have good form and be able to lift it easily without strain. If however you were doing so while bending over and holding the weight with one hand, your body would be unable to maintain proper alignment because of the angle of your torso. You wouldn’t be able to lift the weight. Similarly, if you were running at full speed and needed to jump up several feet in order to avoid hitting something, then you’d lack balance.
The term “hypertrophy” refers specifically to increasing muscle size. Muscle growth occurs primarily through an increase in the number of myonuclei (mRNA) present within each cell. Myonuclei are small nuclei found within muscle cells that contain genes that encode proteins. These proteins play a role in regulating how fast the muscle contracts and increases in contractile efficiency.
You may have heard the phrase “muscle memory”, which refers to the fact that people who frequently perform a certain movement are able to do it much faster than someone who has never done it before (e.g. a concert violinist playing a piece as opposed to a beginner). This is because the myonuclei for that activity are already present in the former but not the latter, allowing them to contract their muscles more efficiently and with less effort. By increasing the number of myonuclei, you allow your muscles to grow not only in size but also in power.
Why is Strength Training Good for You?
Strength training is good for you because it reduces your risk of getting sick and improves your sleep quality. It also increases your bone mineral density, which prevents osteoporosis. Furthermore, it decreases your risk of type two diabetes and improves your mood.
Strength training is also an effective weight loss tool. It burns more calories than other types of exercise like running or biking and it has a “after burn” effect that continues to burn fat for up to 48 hours after your workout.
How to Strength Train
If you want to start strength training, the key is to find a good routine and stick with it. A good routine is one that uniquely suits your needs and that you can perform every week without it becoming monotonous. Here are some tips to help you get started and find a routine that works for you.
Decide How Much Weight You Need
One of the most important aspects of a strength routine is figuring out how much weight you should use. A good way to do this is to figure out your one rep max, also known as your “1-rep max”. This refers to the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one repetition. This is more difficult than it sounds and as such you may want to get a partner to help you.
The steps are as follows:
Warm up with light weights. Do 5 repetitions with a light weight. Do 5 repetitions with a slightly heavier weight. Do 4 repetitions with a slightly heavier weight.
Do 3 repetitions with a slightly heavier weight. Do 2 repetitions with a slightly heavier weight. Do 1 repetition with a very heavy weight.
At this point, you’ll know what your approximate one rep max is. If you can lift the weight more than once, then the weight is too light and if you struggle to lift it once, then the weight is too heavy. For example, if you did 20 push-ups (1 rep) in 2 seconds, then the weight is too light, but if it took you 4 seconds to lift the weight once, then the weight is too heavy.
Note that this 1 rep max recommended only if you are training at home. If you have access to professional gym with professional equipment, then ask a trainer to help you find the right weight.
If you are a beginner, then it is recommended that you choose a weight where you reach failure between 12 and 15 repetitions. If you have more experience, then choose a weight where you reach failure between 8 and 10 repetitions. Finally, if you are an expert, then choose a weight where you reach failure between 4 and 6 repetitions.
Always remember to warm up before each session and to cool down after each session to avoid injury.
Choose the Right Exercises
There are a wide range of exercises that you can do. The following is a list of some of the most common exercises:
Upright Rows – Targets: Traps, Shoulders, & Upper Back Exercise: Stand with a barbell at mid-chest height with an overhand grip. Row the barbell to the collarbone while keeping your elbow at the same height. Lower the barbell back to the starting position and repeat.
Chin-Ups – Targets: Back & Biceps Exercise: Grip the pull-up bar with your palms facing you and your arms fully extended. Pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Lower yourself back down and repeat.
Bent-Over Rows – Targets: Lats, Upper Back, & Traps Exercise: Stand with a barbell with an overhand grip. Bend at the hips and knees and row the barbell to your lower abdomen. Lower the weight and repeat.
Shoulder Presses – Targets: Shoulders Exercise: Stand with dumbbells in your hands. Push the weights overhead until your arms are extended. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat.
Tricep Presses – Targets: Triceps Exercise: Stand while holding two dumbbells at your sides. Bend your elbows and bring the weights behind your head. Extend your arms back to the starting position and repeat.
Curls – Targets: Biceps Exercise: Stand while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing up. Bend your elbow and bring the weight to touch your shoulder. Extend your arm and repeat.
Lunges – Targets: Quads, Glutes, & Hamstrings Exercise: Stand with your left leg forward and a dumbbell in your right hand. Bend your right knee and lower your body until your right thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Press through your right foot and swing your right leg back behind you as you straighten your torso. Repeat with your other leg and continue alternating for the desired number of reps.
Jumping Jacks – Targets: Whole Body Exercise: Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Simultaneously raise your arms overhead and spread your legs apart. Reverse the motion and repeat.
This is not an extensive list, it merely serves as an example of some of the most common exercises. Select three to five exercises that focus on the muscle groups that you want to exercise. It is important that you select exercises that will work all the major and supporting muscles of the area that you want to train.
How to Train
Now that you have an idea of how much weight to use and what exercises to do, let’s determine how many times you need to do each exercise and how much rest time in-between sets and exercises. The formula for this is:
(Number of Exercises x Number of Sets) + (Rest Time Between Sets) = Total Time
So let’s say I’m doing three exercises and I plan on doing five sets for each exercise. That would be 3 x 5 = 15 sets. I want to rest a full minute in-between sets so 15 x 1 = 15 minutes.
This is a general guideline for those who are fairly fit and healthy. If you’re not quite as fit you may need more rest time than this. If you’re someone who is fairly out of shape or has health issues you may need less rest time than this. It’s always best to consult your physician when starting a new fitness routine.
This may also seem like a lot of time but keep in mind that most of this time is waiting time. When you’re actually exercising you’ll only be spending about 10 – 20 minutes of actual ‘work’ time. This also gives you a good reason to construct a home gym somewhere with TVs or radios so you have something to do while you wait. Some people even take this opportunity to do chores around the house.
After you’ve finished your workout it’s important to do a cool-down. This could be as simple as a slow jog followed by a light stretch. The point is to get your heart-rate back to normal and finish off the last of your energy stores. This will help prevent soreness and cramping later.
Remember to stay hydrated. You have been exercising and losing fluids, you need to replenish them. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, try to drink small amounts of water every fifteen minutes or so after your workout.
After your cool-down it’s time to get some rest which will help your muscles recover for your next workout. See you then!
P90X is a great program to do after you’ve gotten in good shape with the help of this wiki. I did P90X and Meltdown combined (except for Core Synergistics) and it was a pretty fun workout. There are a lot of people that say P90X is better than Insanity, but I would suggest doing both because they’re very different and it’s good to have variety. If you do P90X, you can ignore the abs/core exercises that are called out in the schedule and do the ones here instead.
If you’re looking for some more variety and aren’t concerned about the religious aspect of P90X, you might want to look into Body Beast. It’s a pretty good program and there are also Christians on here who use it with success.
Also, if you live in the US, you can contact me and I can help you find a gym that is 24 Hour instead of just telling you what city to go to.
If you feel like spending money on a couple of resources that I found to be very useful for building muscle, check out the E-Books by Harvey Newton Rubin. They’re cheap and have a lot of useful information.
AIS Sports Nutrition Reference Guide
Harvey Newton Rubin’s Encyclopedia of Muscle Growth
Good luck and stay safe!
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” Bridge the gap between injury and performance by JL Wilson – spokanewellness.com
Bridging the gap between basic and clinical electrophysiology: what can be learned from monophasic action potential recordings? by MR Franz – Journal of cardiovascular electrophysiology, 1994 – Wiley Online Library
Science and development of muscle hypertrophy by B Schoenfeld – 2020 – books.google.com
Interpreting signal amplitudes in surface electromyography studies in sport and rehabilitation sciences by AD Vigotsky, I Halperin, GJ Lehman… – Frontiers in …, 2018 – frontiersin.org