We all like to get a little stronger, you are lying when you say you don’t. Weight-training will not only increase your metabolism, it will also increase your bone density, your speed, your power and your overall sexiness. It is no secret that weight training is one of the most effective ways to increase your fitness. Just look at the amount of gyms there are. We all can benefit from weight training. however, just randomly doing some exercises is not going to give you the results you want. You need a strategy and I am here to give it to you. So here is my top 5 rules of weight training that most people ignore.
1: Stimulate the mind and the body will follow
As much as 20% of the ‘strength’ required lift a weight results from the brain (and neural activity). In time an exercise can become imprinted into our brain (and consequentially our muscles). This means that less effort is required to move the weight. This also means that your back in your comfort zone and if you could grow muscles in your comfort zone, we all be looking awesome. So it’s important to keep stimulating your mind and muscles by introducing, for example, new exercises and weight training systems.
2: Load the bar with the best muscle growing weight
There are two types of muscle fibers. Type 1 muscle fibers are fibers that concentrate on endurance. Type 2 muscle fibers that concentrate on fastness. Now lets explore the second type a bit deeper. The ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibers. The fast twitch muscle fibers are further classified in 2a and 2b fibers. Let me explain:
- Type 2a: When trained appropriately they will boost muscle size but not to the same extent as Type 2b’s. If you were to do a lot of aerobic training you could take away some of these fibers growth capabilities as they become better endurance trained – so if you want to pack on muscle than you want to avoid this.
- Type 2b: These fibers when stimulated by the right training will increase muscle size.
To get your fast twitch muscle fibers growing you need to predominately lift medium -medium to heavy- and heavy weights (light weights won’t hit your muscles hard enough or in the right way to stimulate growth (they predominately function to promote strength endurance). If you are familiar with your 1 rep maximums on various lifts, then we’re talking weights in excess of 65% of 1RM.
So it is important to decide what you would like to train and why
3:Focus on your movements
There is more to lifting weight than just pulling or pushing a heavy object. Muscle can be stimulated in different ways and by using a variety of the following 3 muscular actions, you can stimulate the muscle in a different way, even when you use the same exercise. The 3 different muscular actions are:
Concentric muscular action: A concentric contraction occurs when a muscle shortens under load. It’s the most common direction of effort for resistance and Cardio exercise.
Example: the curling phase of a biceps curl
Eccentric muscular action: An eccentric muscular action involves the lengthening of a muscle under load.
Example: the lowering phase of a biceps curl (tension remains in the muscle as the weight in lowered under control – (muscles are stronger eccentrically than they are concentrically)
Isometric muscular action: an isometric muscular action happens when there is no movement and the resistance is hold under tension
example: holding a dumbbell at a 90 degree angle
4: Vary the speed of lift
The speed of a lift of the concentric and eccentric lifting phases will also have an effect on how much muscle and the type of strength you develop. In general, the faster the lift and the heavier the weight the greater the stimulatory response. You can very the speed on the way up and on the way down (concentric and eccentric phase) In general we tend to go faster on the hard bit of the movement, the concentric phase and slower on the easy part of the movement (eccentric phase). The reason for this is that we are stronger on the eccentric phase and by slowing down the movement you will make this harder and therefor a better stimulus to the muscle.
5: Don’t get distracted during your rest.
The amount of rest you get between sets will have a tremendous impact on your recovery. the longer you rest, the more the body will recover but also cool down. Heavy weights with low repetition require a rest time of up to 2 minutes. Medium weights and 12-15 reps usually only require half this time. So set a timer for your rest to make sure you stay consistent with your training. It is hard to notice if you improve if one day you rest 2 minutes and the following workout you rest 45 seconds between sets.
So there you go, these are my rules that I follow in my weight training. I hope this will help you get more out of your workout or at least inspired you to rethink how you train in the gym.