BODY & STRENGTH TRAINING GUIDELINES
1. WARM-UP and STRETCH before you lift.
MACHINES vs. FREE WEIGHTS
Machines - Pro.....If you're low on time, using machines can be an efficient way to get in a workout. Putting a pin into the weight stack is quicker than loading up a barbell, plus the arrangement of machines in a gym facilitates changing exercises efficiently. If you're new to the gym, and without a trainer, machines are a safe way to go. Most machines have diagrams to help you with proper lifting form. If you have injuries, machines will help stabilize your body. With the extra support, you can focus on healthy muscles, and give the injuries time to heal. If you want to lift heavy weights without assistance, machines will help. The security of the machine allows you to lift more, without fear of dropping weights. If you want to train one specific muscle group, machines aid in focus. It is difficult to do certain exercises (like a leg curl) with free weights, and a machine will hone right in on your desired goal.
Machines - Con..... Machines let you cruise through an exercise without bringing in stabilizing muscles. You don't get true strength that relates to the movement in your daily life. Machines don't fit all bodies. If you are very small or very tall, the machines may not fit your size, and the exercise won't be mechanically efficient, leading to frustration or injury. Machines don't give you much variation. Most machines create a forced or guided two-dimensional movement pattern, so you are limited in how your muscles develop.The same old same old: not only do your muscles get bored, so does your brain. Loss of motivation can lead you to dropping out of your fitness program. Machines get filled if the gym is busy. Your time is valuable. Standing around, waiting for someone to get off the machine that you want, is a hassle and a turn-off when you want to get in shape.
Free Weights- Pro.... Free weight equipment Get more bang for your buck with barbells and dumbells. There are so many more exercises that you can do with free weights, at home or at the gym, than with big, expensive machines. You can fit the exercise to your body. Since there are no range of motion inhibitors, almost anyone can use free weights. Motor skills are enhanced. With free weights, more demands are made on your muscles to stabilize and balance your body and the weight, giving you more work completed per exercise, getting you fitter, faster. Keep your interest up. Every workout with free weights can be different. Changing the angle of movement or rotation at a joint will challenge your body and brain. You can exercise anywhere. Once you get accustomed to free weights, you can go into any gym and feel comfortable. Plus, you can design your own home gym easily and inexpensively.
Free Weights- Con.... You'll need to get advice to help you get the right workout program design. Hiring a trainer or researching the best exercises for you must come first. Proper form is paramount. Again, hiring a trainer will get you started out right, before you get into bad habits. Imbalances in the body are heightened. You will have to concentrate to keep your body aligned, and add some balancing work. Greater chance of getting injured. If you don't know what you're doing, free weights can hurt you faster than get you fit. You'll need a lifting partner if you plan on pumping heavy iron. Get a partner or trainer to help check your form: it's easy to get sloppy, even when you know what to do. For example, don't try a heavy weight in the squat or bench press without a "spotter". Make sure that you can control the weight and do the exercise in perfect position. All in all, a combination of machines and free weights in your program is the best. For optimal use of your time, plan your workouts according to what you need. Do you want general strength or sports performance? What is more important to you, better balance or bigger muscles? Get advice from a professional, and stay motivated with a variety of exercises.
TERMS IN RESISTANCE TRAINING : Repetitions, Sets
A repetition is a single completed movement of an exercise from starting position, through the entire movement, then back to the starting position. If a person lifts 300 lb. in the bench press twice, he or she is doing two repetitions with 300 lb.. (Abbreviated as "reps".)
A set is a specific number of reps performed consecutively without resting. A bodybuilder who lifts 250 lb. in the bench press for eight reps, takes a short rest, and then does another eight reps has done two sets of eight reps. (Workout representation: 2 x 8).
Repetition Maximum is the maximum weight (or resistance) you can lift for a specific number of repetitions to exhaustion. In a 6 RM test, a lifter is able to lift 6 reps with a specific resistance. Strength coaches can determine a 1 RM to design a percentage of load for a specific exercise.
Say an athlete has a personal best (1 RM) of 400 lb. His workout
demand is an exercise intensity level of 80% for a predetermined
number of repetitions. The athlete will use 320 lb. for the exercise
(80% of 400 lb. =320 lb.). When your major goal is to increase
the power output of a muscle and not just its ability to lift
maximal loads, increase the intensity of an exercise by increasing
the velocity of movement.
You determine by trial the exact amount of weight that fills that requirement. In the past, people determined resistance from the maximum amount of weight you could use for one repetition. However that method presents a high risk of injury. Research proves that training at 60% of 1 RM for 10 reps is enough to build muscle strength. If your concern is strength fitness, 10-15 reps with an intensity of 60-70% of 1 RM will give all you need.
Strength training is at the opposite end of the continuum from endurance training. You develop endurance by performing low-intensity exercise for a relatively long time; strength is developed by performing high-intensity exercise for a relatively short time. In athletic strength training the intensity is high and is normally in the range of 4-6 RM and at times as low as 2 RM. RM Load: Repetition Maximum is a range from strength to endurance. Use it as a guide to determine which primary muscle feature you want to develop.
STRENGTH & ENDURANCE
When you use 6 RM or less as a set, you primarily develop STRENGTH. When you use 8-12 RM you define MUSCLE.
Routines: A routine is a combination of exercises to work a specific muscle group. An example of a routine for working the pectorals would consist of several sets of exercises that incorporate bench presses, dips and crossover cable movements.
Positive and Negative: In strength training, when the lifter lowers the bar, he or she is performing negative work, whereas raising the bar is positive work. When you lower a specific weight, you allow muscle to lengthen along with the resistance. This is called eccentric action (not eccentric contraction) or negative resistance. An example of this form of exercise is when you lower the bar weight to your pectorals during a bench press exercise. We don't recommend lifters do negative bench press exercises. Heavy negative training increases your muscle's ability to handle eccentric work, but limits growth in your ability to handle positive loads. Doing a lot of negative training is also associated with delayed muscle soreness that increases recuperation time between each workout. Weight lifters must use positive and negative work in all exercises.
Maximal Muscular Contraction: The most effective way to increase muscular strength seems to be voluntary maximal muscular contractions, often referred to as overloading the muscle. In other words, the muscle must contract against a resistance it normally does not encounter. This process stimulates physiological changes which cause an increase in muscle strength and size. The last repetition in a set to failure is a voluntary maximal muscular contraction even though the force produced is not the maximal force possible during the set. Many resistance training systems use sets to failure and/or RMs to overload the muscle and its associated training effects.
Muscle Action: The activity of muscle: In a concentric action the ends of the muscle are drawn closer together. In an isometric action, the ends of the muscle are prevented from drawing closer together, with no change in length. In an eccentric action, a force external to the muscle overcomes the muscle force and the ends of the muscle are drawn further apart. The strength of a muscle or muscle group is the maximal force generated at a specific or determined speed.
Muscle Tone: refers to the firmness of the muscle. Hypertrophy: an increase in the size of a muscle, organ, or other body part caused by enlargement of the cells that make it up.
THE 6 IMPORTANT R's
1. Range of Motion:
PERSONAL PROGRAM DESIGN: RESISTANCE TRAINING VARIABLES
A. Selection, Choice & Order of Exercises
1. Selection of Exercise
To reduce the risk of injuries and produce balanced muscle development, you must strengthen the major muscle groups. The twelve key groups are your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, pectorals, trapezius, lats, erector spinae, deltoids, triceps, biceps, abdominals and gluteus. Work also on your obliques and adductors/abductors. If you train some muscles and exclude others you may get poorer overall results and perhaps eventually muscle injuries.
2. Choice of Exercise
When designing a resistance program, think about your "choice of exercise". Exercises can be either body part or structural. In a body part exercises you usually isolate a muscle. In structural exercise you use many muscles to produce a movement. Remember that every time you change the order of an exercise you functionally change that exercise. You can also change that exercise as you cycle through the year.
3. Order of Exercises
The classical exercise order is from UPPER BODY to LOWER, and
LARGE muscle group to SMALL. Order your exercise based on your
athletic training level. If you are a beginner, start with a less
severe workout order; use an upper to lower body progression.
Program A: single leg extension 10 10
Program B: bench press 10 10 10
Exercises Per Muscle Group
References: Joy DuMay, Certified Fitness Trainer