Weight Training Vocabulary

February 19, 2011

Strength Training is Important

We've already discovered that dieting can not only help you lose fat, but you can lose precious muscle tissue as well. In order to maintain your muscle strength and mass it is important to include strength training in your exercise program. Besides, muscle burns fat even when you're resting - so the more muscle you have, the more efficient your little fat burning body will work.

There is certainly no shortage of great workouts available online or on DVD. If you work out in a gym, your trainer can develop a program that is perfect for you. Otherwise, we can give you a few tips right here, on these pages, to help you get started on a weight training program that will help you feel and look better fast. There's nothing like strength training to sculpt and reshape your body.

Beginning With the Basics

In this article we'll discuss some of the basic principles of strength training so you will know that you are using enough weight, and how many sets and repetitions are necessary to ensure progress.

The first word in our new vocabulary is "overload." In order to build muscle you have to use more resistance than your muscles are accustomed to. As you progress, your body will become stronger and you'll need to increase the weight in order to challenge the muscles. You should be lifting enough weight that you can just complete a specific number of repetitions - let's say 10 reps - and the last one or two should be difficult but completed in good form.

Avoiding Plateaus

In order to avoid a plateau (called adaptation) you must increase your challenge regularly. This is called progression - seems obvious, doesn't it? There are a few ways to do this: increase the amount of weight you are lifting, change your sets and reps, change exercises or change the type of resistance you are using (switch from weights to bands or from free-weights to machines).

Training With a Purpose

Specificity simply means training to a specific goal. If your goal is to gain strength, then your workouts should be geared to increasing your muscle strength using progression and increased weights. If you are training for a marathon, you will want to be sure you are challenging your cardiovascular system with endurance exercises and core strength (Pilates is great for core training).

Finally, you have rest and recovery. Rest days are as important as training days because it is during these days that your muscles recover and actually grow. In order to help your body benefit from your workouts, be sure not to train the same muscle groups two days in a row.

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