Resistance Training – Rule #1

Women and Weights?  Hell yeah!

Women and Weights? Hell yeah!

Resistance training can be a nightmare.  Look around the gym and you will likely see everyone doing things their own way.  Three sets of 10?  One set of 15?  Light weights, more reps?  Heavy weights, less reps?  Which is best?  Things can be very confusing, especially if you don’t know whose advice to follow.  Perhaps you should copy that big guy lifting those big dumbbells?  He seems to know what he’s doing?

In order to clarify things a little, I normally give new members three rules to abide by.  Of course, there is no substitute for personalised instruction from a fitness professional and of course there are always specific situations where these rules can be broken.  However they are suitable for most new exercisers and if applied, you can’t go far wrong.

Resistance Training Rule 1

Always lift to muscular fatigue.

That means lift, and lift, and lift until you can’t lift any more.  That’s muscular fatigue.  That’s the point at which you have asked so much of the muscle that it can’t deliver.  After all, why should your muscles and your body change if you are not asking it to do more than usual?  If they can execute the task comfortably in their current state then why should they change?

So how do you know when your muscles have reached fatigue?  Well, there are a few signs to look out for, all of which indicate a less than perfect lifting form.  For example, if you begin to falter whilst lifting the weight then that means the muscle(s) have fatigued. You know that point where you start to judder and you’re not sure you can complete the rep?  That’s muscular fatigue.

Another sign is if you start to use momentum or if you need to rest between reps.  You should lift the weight in a smooth controlled fashion without the aid of momentum and keep the weight moving until you fatigue.  If you need to rest between reps or if you need the help of momentum then you have fatigued.

Lastly, if you find yourself recruiting other muscles to help complete the movement then this also indicates fatigue.  Squirming in your seat, arching your back, or leaning over your weights all indicates that the fatigued muscle needs help.  Keep your form strict and when you can’t do any more, stop!  Job done!

Now you know this rule, have a look again at the guys swinging great big freeweights.  Some of them have more swing than BB King!  Think of them as a great example of how NOT to do it!


~ by Tony's Desk on September 23, 2008.

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