Strenght training: basics for starting up
Strength training is an important component of a balanced fitness program, providing great benefits as: increasing strength of bones, muscle and connective tissue, decreasing risk of injury, increased muscle mass and enhancing quality of life. A safe strength training combined with cardiovascular and flexibility training will give you the benefits of a complete fitness program.
What kind of strength workouts can we possibly do? We will introduce here 3 simple kind of workouts: total body workout, split workout and “Push Pull” workout. Whatever you choose to do, remember that neglecting certain muscle groups can lead to strength imbalances and postural difficulties.
1. The Total Body workout
The focal point for most exercises should be the major muscle groups (hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, biceps, triceps, abdominal and lower back). Because the shoulder joint allows movement at many different angles, 2 exercises should be selected for the chest, the upper back (“latts”) and the shoulders.
This workout is to be done at least twice a week or every other day(for example: Monday-Wednesday-Friday).
2. The Split workout
This workout splits the total body workout into 2 separate ones. Day 1 will include chest, back, traps and shoulders. Day 2 will hit legs, triceps, biceps, lower back and abs. Try to do each workout twice a week for a total of 4 workouts per week.
3. The “Push-Pull” workout
By splitting the body into thirds, you can train with even greater intensity and include more volume. Of course, because of this you’ll need more recovery time, so now you’ll train each body part once a week.
Day 1 will consist of chest, shoulders and triceps (the muscles you “push” with), as well as abs.
Day 2 will work your “pulling” muscles: upper back, traps, biceps and forearms.
Day 3 trains the lower body and core, where you’ll hit everything below the belt as well as abs and lower back.
Before you hit the gym, few things to remember:
Allow recovery time!
The strength training places great demands on the muscular system. Muscles do not get stronger during a workout, they get stronger during the recovery from a workout. That’s why it isn’t wise to train the same muscle group 2 days in a row.
Use proper technique!
A weight should be raised in a deliberate controlled manner without any jerking movements. Raising the weight in a rapid explosive fashion isn’t recommended as this introduces momentum and the risk of injuries.
Longer isn’t better!
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel during intense exercise. Most people exhaust their carbohydrate stores after 1 hour of intense exercise. Therefore, strength workouts should be completed in 1 hour or less.
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