Strength

Having strength allows a person to participate in every aspect of life.  Possessing strength allows us to be independent, feel safe and secure in our surroundings and participate in many aspects of life as well as improving our overall health and fitness.

Strength training comes in many shapes, forms and techniques. Push and pull movements, power lifting, explosive dynamic and isometric. Choosing a training technique must be based not only on your goals, but your past and current medical condition. For example, if a person is diagnosed with hypertension, they should not be doing isometric training and beware of other exercise and positional movements that could aggravate their condition.

No matter type of strength training you choose to do, there is no substitution for exercising with good form. Kettle bell swings,  chair squats, sumo squats, hybrid movements, interval training or at least a dozen other techniques or movements, focus on proper lifting techniques first and then work on increasing how much you lift.

 

 

Muscle Fiber

How we are physically shaped, how fast we can run or how much we can lift is directly affect by our muscle fibers. There are basically three type of muscle fibers: Slow twitch, Fast Twitch 2a, Fast Twitch 2b. All muscles have these fibers, however genetics play a big part in how much of each type of fiber a person has.

Slow Twitch is aerobic in nature as is always the first type of fibers activated when lifting. Marathon runners have a higher proportion of these type of fibers, while power lifters have a higher proportion of Type 2b fibers.  It’s not necessary to understand to any great level how muscle fibers work, but it is important to realize your own body’s genetics (just look at your parents) and create a workout program with that in mind.

The Basics

To improve one’s strength, you have to overload your muscles, or to state simply, you have to challenge your muscle to do more than what they are used to. If you can bench press 50 lbs. 10 reps to fatigue, then to increase your strength you would increase the weight to 60 lbs. this may fatigue your muscles at 5 or 6 repetitions. With continuous exercise, your strength will increase until you can do the 60 lbs and 10 reps.

Rest and Recovery

There are many weight lifting techniques that you can use to improve your strength. One of the biggest factors is how much rest time you do between exercises. For instance, H.I.I.T (High intensity interval training), uses very little rest between sets, but even H.I.I.T needs to be based on one’s individual abilities and current fitness level. Other techniques such as “drop downs” has virtually no rest between sets.

SquatsWhen trying to build strength at some point you will be lifting heavy enough weight (if medical conditions allow), where you may only be doing 1-2 reps per exercise and doing some other form of aerobic or lighter weight lifting between sets, allowing 3-5 minutes of recovery to maximize lifting strength when repeating the original exercise.

TRX Rows and Core workDumbbell Chest Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strength training at any age has a significant on your overall health and wellness. Contact Chicago Personal Training to learn more on how
strength training can help you achieve your goals.

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