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Weight Training on the Costa Blanca - part 2

Weight trainingSee Also:-
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Weight Training - part 1
Weight Training - part 2

Sally Abel is a UK qualified sport therapist with a BSc (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science and a member of IIHHT. She has been working in the health and fitness industry for over 5 years. Previous to moving to Spain, she worked for the National Public Health Service on Heart Disease prevention projects.

If you are looking for a personal trainer, or have any questions, you can contact Sally on 00 34 647 275 051.

The last article covered the basics of weight training, and so this month we will go into things in a bit more detail.

As previously discussed, weight training has many health benefits, but what concerns most people with regards to a beginning a weight training program, is how it will affect and change their body shape. Understanding how your body responds to a training programme eliminates any myths associated with using resistance, (e.g., women are often vary wary of weight training as they are afraid they will end up with “big muscles”). So here is a simple explanation of what happens when we weight train.

MUSCLE FIBRES.

Without complexly confusing you, muscles are generally made up of 2 different types of fibres, usually called Slow and Fast twitch muscle fibres.

Slow twitch fibres are the main fibres “recruited” to perform exercise such as cycling and swimming. They are able to work for long periods of time without fatiguing.

Fast Twitch fibres are the opposite, they are used in exercise that requires short, and quick bursts of high energy, such as a 100m Sprint. And it is these fibres that we use when resistance training.

TRAINING THE FIBRES

When we use weights to train, the muscle fast twitch muscle fibres are sent message from the brain that that particular muscle (or muscle group) is about to make a quick energy movement and needs them to do this. The muscle fibres react to the amount of weight and speed at which the weight is being moved. It can take some time for the muscle to become used to messages that are being sent and respond effectively, which is why it can be difficult at first to perform a particular exercise. But once these “pathways” are set the muscle soon becomes used to the movement. This is where we move onto the next stage of overload.

OVERLOAD

To achieve any kind of change in the muscle, it requires overloading. This is where the muscle is pushed beyond its comfortable limits. The muscle is then forced to adapt to cope with the extra demands being placed upon it, and this is when changes in the muscle occur. Whether increasing strength or toning muscle. It is important to overload during each session as this is the only way to gain progress. But equally important is resting the muscle.

REST

The physiological changes that take place in the muscle occur between 48 -72 hours after the muscle has been worked. So it is important to leave this amount of time between working on the same muscle group. The following table sets out muscle groups that can be worked together, leaving sufficient recovery time between them.

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Muscle Group LEGS
BACK
ABS
SHOULDERS
TRICEPS
CHEST
BICEPS
ABS
REST DAY RPT DAY 1 RPT DAY 2 RPT DAY3

It is important to vary the exercises to keep the muscle “guessing”, so you would not necessarily do the same exercise for your chest on day 1 as on day 7. Aim for 2-3 different exercises for each muscle group that you work, e.g.

Squats with an exercise ball, Lunges and calf raises for the legs Day 1
Leg Press, Inner and outer thighs for legs Day 4.

STRENGTH, MUSCLE SIZE OR TONING

Different training techniques achieve varying results, depending on the weight used, and the reps sets and rest time. The following is a basic guideline for these variables, depending on what you want to achieve.

TYPE OF TRAINING REPETITIONS SETS REST TIME
STRENGTH 4-6 3-6 2 MINS
BULK 6-10 3-6 30-90 SECS
DEFINITION 8-14 2-4 30-60 SECS
TONINING (ENDURANCE) 15 + 1-4 30 SECS

**REMEMBER FROM THE LAST ARTICLE THAT YOU SHOULD FIND YOUR “REP MAX”, AND BASE YOUR TRAINING AROUND THIS. E.G. FOR STRENGTH TRAINING, YOU SHOULD BE LIFTING A HEAVY WEIGHT THAT YOU CAN REPEAT A MAXIMUM OF 5-6 TIMES, IF YOU CAN DO MORE THAN THIS, YOU NEED TO USE A HEAVIER WEIGHT**.

ORDER OF TRAINING

Use large muscles first! Progress down to medium and small muscle groups. E.g. complete exercises for your back before training biceps. Think about agonist* muscle in the groups you wish to train. You do not want to pre fatigue muscles you want to train further into the workout. E.g. Chest press before triceps dips. Abdominals and Erector Spinae. These are normally worked at the end of a session as they are used throughout as a stabiliser for all other muscles. Ensure that your workouts are balanced and all muscles are equally worked. I.e. do equal reps and sets for both the muscles on the front and back of the thigh.

** Agonist is the prime mover in the muscle group responsible for the action.
**Antagonist is the opposing muscle group.
E.g. In a leg extension, the Quadriceps are the agonist and the Hamstrings the antagonist.

I hope this makes weight training clearer, and helps you understand the programmes you may be following in the gym. I have not included a specific program as I am vary wary of advising people, without being there to show correct technique and ensure that the exercise is being used correctly.

As before, please visit your Doctor before you begin an exercise program, and ensure you warm up thoroughly before you begin using weights.


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