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Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Resistance Training Types
When it comes to resistance training, there is not a “one size fits all” training method. Of course there are guidelines in addition to your individual goals that you can use to create your routines but where do you begin? What does it mean to train for muscular strength versus muscular hypertrophy versus muscular endurance? Which training method best targets your goals?
Let’s start by examining the difference between the methods I just mentioned. Please remember everyone is different and this post provides general information. I encourage you to seek advice from a trainer if you are just getting involved in strength training or have any questions. With that being said, muscular endurance is a great starting point for any of you that are very new to weight training.
Endurance training focuses on ‘lighter weights for more repetitions’, aiming to complete 12 or more repetitions over 3 sets. Rest periods are short, ranging 30-60 seconds between sets. For example, performing 3 sets of 20 leg extensions using a lighter weight might be included in an endurance program. Although the amount of weight lifted is considered lighter (compared to strength and hypertrophy training), you still want to use a weight that challenges you on your last 2-3 repetitions. If you finish your 20 repetitions and feel like you could keep going for another 5 or more, it is time to increase your weight. Endurance training is commonly used among endurance athletes such as distance runners and usually involves total body workouts.
Hypertrophy… You might be thinking hyper-what? Muscular hypertrophy is an increase in the size of skeletal muscle by an increase in the size of its cells via sarcoplasmic and myofibillar hypertrophy. In other words, hypertrophy is an increase in muscle mass and cross-sectional area. Increasing your lean muscle mass improves strength and stamina, helps manage insulin sensitivity, increases your basal (resting) metabolic rate, and can aid in body fat reduction. Training for hypertrophy includes 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions, resting anywhere from 1-3 minutes between sets. When training for hypertrophy the weight selected should leave you feeling fatigued by the end of your set ie it is challenging to complete your last couple repetitions. Hypertrophy training programs are commonly split up, so you are focusing on one to two muscle groups per training session (again, this is a guideline). This type of programming allows sufficient recovery time and allows you to train more days of the week.
When training for muscular strength, the goal is to lift a heavy weight for only a few reps (few meaning 6 or less). Strength programs are widely used among athletes and individuals who want to increase their strength. I personally like lifting heavy and pushing myself to lift heavier each training session. When programming for strength, a typical training session involves performing 3-6 repetitions (this will greatly vary, for example if you are performing a 1 RM, it is just one) and 3-5 sets. The weight that’s selected generally is a percentage of the 1 RM but it should be heavy enough that set is challenging while keeping good form. Rest can vary anywhere from 3-5 minutes (maybe even more) but should allow for recovery before performing the next set. It is always a good idea to use a spotter when lifting heavy and practice good form with any program! **Power is also an area of resistance training utilizing explosive lifts and difficult techniques, and I will touch on this one at a later time.
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Take care of you!