Why do men need weight training?
Better strength training performances can be the
product of a number of factors. This product is primarily the
outcome of efficient technique, the progression of speed and the
maturing competitive attitude on a sound basis of general endurance,
all round strength and general mobility. The development of all
round strength is best achieved via circuit training and then
progressing this through strength training. Weight training is
the most widely used and popular method of increasing strength.
How do we get stronger?
A muscle will only strengthen when forced to operate
beyond its customary intensity (overload). Overload can be progressed
by increasing the :
- resistance e.g. adding 10kg to the barbell
- number of repetitions with a particular weight
- number of sets of the exercise
Muscle Fibre Hypertrophy
Resistance training will increase the muscle size
(hypertrophy). Muscle growth depends on the muscle fibre type
activated and the pattern of recruitment. Muscle growth is due
to one or more of the following adaptions:
- Increased contractile proteins (actin & myosin)
- Increased number of and size of myofibrils per muscle fibre
- Increased amounts of connective, tendinous & ligamentous
- Increased enzymes and stored nutrients
Which weight training exercises?
The exercise must be specific to the type of strength
required, and is therefore related to the particular demands of
the event (specificity). The coach should have knowledge of the
predominant types of muscular activity associated with the particular
event, the movement pattern involved and the type of strength
required. Exercises should be identified that will produce the
desired development. Although specificity is important, it is
necessary in every schedule to include exercises of a general
The Olympic Lifts are recommend exercises for inclusion
in power and speed training programs. The objective of these exercises
is to develop the large muscles of the body in an explosive action
which requires the use of many joints and muscle groups in a coordinated
movement. The Olympic Lifts comprise of the Clean & Jerk and
the Snatch. The Power Snatch and Power Clean are auxiliary
lifts that aid in the training of the Clean & Jerk and the
How Much Weight to Use?
The amount of weight to be used should be based
on a percentage of the maximum amount of weight that can be lifted
one time, generally referred to as one repetition maximum (1RM).
The maximum number of repetitions performed before fatigue prohibits
the completion of an additional repetition is a function of the
weight used, referred to as repetition maximum (RM), and reflects
the intensity of the exercise. A weight load that produces fatigue
on the third repetition is termed a three repetition maximum (3RM)
and corresponds to approximately 95% of the weight that could
be lifted for 1RM.
For maximum results athletes should train according
to their genetic predisposition. An athlete with a greater proportion
of slow twitch muscles would adapt better to an endurance training
and a muscular endurance program using more repetitions of a lighter
weight. An athlete with a greater proportion of fast twitch muscles
would benefit from sprint training and a muscular strength program
using fewer repetitions of a heavier weight.
Load - Repetition Relationship
The strength training zone requires you to use loads
in the range of 60% to 100% of 1RM. The relationship of percentage
loads to number of repetitions (rounded up) to failure are as
- 60% - 17 reps
- 65% - 14 reps
- 70% - 12 reps
- 75% - 10 reps
- 80% - 8 reps
- 85% - 6 reps
- 90% - 5 reps
- 95% - 3 reps
- 100% - 1 rep
How Many Reps?
The number of repetitions performed to fatigue is
an important consideration in designing a strength training program.
The greatest strength gains appear to result from working with
4-6RM. Increasing this to 12-20RM favours the increase in muscle
endurance and mass.
One set of 4-6RM performed 3 days a week is a typical
strength training program. The optimal number of sets of an exercise
to develop muscle strength remains controversial. In a number
of studies comparing multiple set programs to produce greater
strength gains than a single set, the majority of studies indicate
that there is not a significant difference.
Handling heavy weights in the pursuit of strength
will require a recovery of 3-5 minutes between sets, but only
minimum recovery should be taken if strength endurance is the
aim. The majority of athletic events are fast and dynamic, and
therefore this quality must be reflected in the athlete's strength
Muscular strength is primarily developed when 8RM
or less is used in a set. How much load you use depends upon what
it is you wish to develop:
- 1RM to 3RM - neuromuscular strength
- 4RM to 6RM - maximum strength by stimulating muscle hypertrophy
- 6RM to 12RM - muscle size (hypertrophy) with moderate gains
in strength (Fleck & Kraemer, 1996)
- 12RM to 20RM - muscle size and endurance
Rest between sets
The aim of the recovery period between sets is to
replenish the stores of ATP and Creatine Phosphate (CP) in the
muscles. An inadequate recovery means more reliance on the Lactic
Acid (LA) energy pathway in the next set. Several factors influence
the recovery period, including:
- Type of strength you are developing
- The load used in the exercise
- Number of muscle groups used in the exercise
- Your condition
- Your weight
A recovery of three to five minutes or longer will
allow almost the complete restoration of ATP/CP.
Rest between sessions
The energy source being used during the training
session is probably the most important factor to consider. During
the maximum strength phase, when you are primarily using the ATP/CP
energy pathway, daily training is possible because ATP/CP restoration
is completed within 24 hours. If you are training for muscular
endurance (muscle definition) then you require a 48 hour recovery
as this is how long it takes to fully restore your glycogen stores
(Piehl, 1974; Fox et al, 1989).
As a 'rule of thumb' 48 hours should elapse between
sessions. If training strenuously, any athlete will find it extremely
difficult to maintain the same level of lifting at each session,
and the total poundage lifted in each session would be better
to be varied (e.g. a high, low and medium volume session) each
There are variable resistance machines and free
weights. Variable resistance machines are effective tools for
building strength and muscle tone and are designed to work the
target muscle in isolation, without the assistance of the surrounding
muscles. Free weights (barbells, dumbbells and machines that provide
the same equal resistance to a muscle) allow you not only to target
a particular muscle group but to engage other muscles that assist
in the work. Once they are conditioned, these assisting muscles
help you to increase the weight you use in training the target
muscles in order to stimulate the most growth in muscle fibres.
The assisting muscles help stabilize the body, support limbs and
maintain posture during a lift. Lifting free weights improves
your coordination by improving the neuromuscular pathways that
connect your muscles to the central nervous system.
Weight Training Types
Simple Sets e.g. 3 x 8 with 70% - meaning
three sets of eight repetitions with a weight of 70% of maximum
for one repetition. This is the system that all novice lifters
should work on, because the high number of repetitions enables
the lifter to learn correct technique, and thereby reduce the
risk of injury.
Pyramid System Here the load is increased
and the repetitions are reduced (e.g. 100kg x 10, 120kg x 5, 130kg
x 4, 140kg x 3, 150kg x 2, 160kg x 1). Pyramid lifting is only
for experienced lifters who have an established good technique.
Super Setting This consists of performing
two or three exercises continuously, without rest in between sets,
until all exercises have been performed. The normal 'between sets'
rest is taken before the next circuit of exercises is commenced.
© 2003-2017 SupplementsWow.com
This information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.