On our social media and in our private groups for members we are now shining the spotlight on a particular topic each week and are trying to provide as much useful information as possible. Or recent topic was strength training.
Here are the highlights of what we discussed
Strength Training 101
Each block of strength training you do should have an overriding purpose. The three general outcomes you should be looking to achieve are in any given block are:
- Increase muscular endurance – This allows you to perform tasks for longer. (Very handy in day to day life 😀)
- Increase power – This is the ability to move an object (or your body) at speed. Heads up to anyone in the 50+ age range; power is what declines the fastest as we get older. This is why you see older deconditioned people having to use the arms of their chair to stand up. They lack the power in their lower body
- Build muscle mass – Building and preserving muscle mass should be a cornerstone for any good exercise program
To work muscular endurance you work in the 15-20 reps range
To work muscular strength you work in the 8-12 reps range
To work muscular power you work in the 15-20 reps range
Train Movements, Not Muscles
This is a mantra we use a lot when training our clients. If you cover these movements in your program you will be pretty much be set up to take on anything:
- Squat – Any variations; Front, back, goblet, split, jumps
- Hinge – Any variations: deadlifts, swings, kneeling hinge, bridge
- Press – Overhead, horizontal, or dips
- Pull – Pull ups, pull downs, rows
- Carry or Move a load – Farmers walks, waiters carries, lunges, step ups
- Rotation – Dynamic rotations/static rotations
Then around these we place accessory exercises and that would be pretty much anything that does not sit somewhere in the list above.
Cardiovascular Benefits Of Strength Training
An often overlooked benefit of strength training is that it will yield cardiovascular benefits as well as strength benefits. When we check in on our clients heart rates during a strength workout it is often in the zones you would expect for an aerobic workout.
There is plenty of research out there also to back up what we are seeing:
- Lifting weights for less than an hour a week can reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40% to 70 percent, according to a new Iowa State University study.
- Less than an hour of weekly resistance exercise (compared with no resistance exercise) was associated with a 29 percent lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which increases risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The risk of hypercholesterolemia was 32% lower. The results for both studies also were independent of aerobic exercise.
Fat Loss & Strength Training
Strength training with diet and cardio burns fat more than cardio and diet alone. A larger engine burns more fuel. The same way as a heavier person burns more calories than a lighter person, someone with larger muscles burns more calories than a less muscular person. Also the after burn of calories is higher after strength training than in a cardio sessions.
Strength Training Most Common Mistakes To Avoid
- Lifting too heavy – Technique will inevitably be compromised if you lift too heavy, which can increase the likelihood of you getting injured. Lifting too heavy will also yield poor results when it comes to muscle gain as the time under tension is likely to be too low.
- Lifting too light – The main reason for strength training is to cause the body to have to adapt and change to the stimulus you have given it. If you are lifting below the threshold there will be no adaptation needed.
- Working on muscles and not movements – Unless you are a bodybuilder trying to compete on stage there is no need for you to split the body up and doing specific muscles in specific workouts. Research shows that 2- 3 full body workouts per week is optimal for muscle growth and strength gain in the general population.
- Doing the same workout for too long – The same principle as lifting too light kind of applies here. If you are still doing the same workout after 6-8 sessions without changing something about it (reps, sets, exercises, exercise order) the stimulus effect will be very low
- Thinking strength training is not for you! – This is the one that upsets me the most. People are not trying strength training because they think it is not for them. This can be because they are scared of getting ‘too big’ (from 20 years in fitness this almost never happens), or they may think they are too old (you couldn’t be more wrong, you need it now more than ever), they think it is dangerous (done properly strength training is safer than the majority of exercise out there).
Next up we will be looking at mobility, so keep you eyes on our social media for this info coming out (but don’t worry if you are not on social media, we will pop it all in a blog for you).
PS if you have any input on the strength training info we have provided or have any questions you would like us to answer get in touch.
And finally if there is any particular topic you would like us to discuss let us know.
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