Okay, so hopefully all of you are fully convinced of the benefits of strength training. Now let’s get in to the nitty gritty details of the different types of strength training: muscular strength, muscular power, muscular hypertrophy, and muscular endurance. Think of these categories from the stand-point of your end goal. What is your training intent? Are you looking to increase overall strength? Improve your explosive movements for your tennis game? Look more defined in your bikini? Or, improve your time for your next ultramarathon? These are all example of goals that would be best served by one particular style. Now how do you implement these styles of training to achieve these goals? Let’s break in down….
Muscular strength is best trained by using a heavier weight (80-100% of 1 RM for advanced strength trainers) for 2-6 sets of 1-8 reps. Notice the repetitions per set are low, and the recovery is long, up to 3 minutes between sets. Training like this is the fastest way to improve your base level of strength, but may not give you the body of your dreams in a short amount of time. Training for muscular hypertrophy will result in more defined individual muscle groups, taken to its extreme training for muscular hypertrophy along with an incredibly strict diet will result in a body-builder appearance. However, for most of us training for muscular hypertrophy will result in a more toned appearance, something that many desire. 99.9% of us do not have the genetics to achieve the Arnold Schwarzenegger look! This involves training individual muscle groups with a higher weight (70-100% of 1 rep max) for about 3 sets of 8-12 reps with shorter rests.
Training for muscular power involves using a light load ((0-60% of 1RM) but involves explosive movements, such as box jumps. Improving muscular power is desirable for many different types of athletes, especially when speed and jumping are involved. This type of training is effective, but needs to be utilized carefully to avoid injury. Training for muscular endurance will result in increased levels of overall fitness and endurance, but is not as effective at increasing your base level of strength. Muscular endurance is achieved by using lighter weights for higher repetitions, up to 25 per set, with minimal rest. Now how do you decide which is best for you? This is where working with a personal trainer, who can assess your areas of strength and weakness will really help. For those taking classes, most of the classes (i.e. Tabata, Spin and Strength, and Fit Camp) fall on the muscular endurance side of the spectrum. Targeted Strength and Conditioning incorporates more muscular strength and hypertrophy. Now remember, any strength training is good, but to achieve a desired result you need to make sure you are training in the most efficient way. When you train with an intent in mind, your results will improve dramatically.
Guess what, it’s Strength Month! My favorite. In coming weeks, I will discuss principles of strength training in greater detail, but today I just want to touch on some of the many benefits of strength training. You know exercise is important to your long-term health and well-being, and you probably know your routine should include some weight or strength training… but do you know why? Weight training strengthens muscles so they can support you through all of your activities, throughout your lifespan. If you don’t build and maintain your muscles, there’s a host of negative effects such as loss of muscle mass and bone density, and increased risk of falls. But, let’s keep things positive today. Here are some of the more fun and interesting benefits of strength training: decreased cancer risk, increased IQ (really!), decreased risk of anxiety and depression, better sleep, and a more positive attitude throughout the work day. How much strength training do you need to do to get these benefits? As few as 2-3 full body sessions per week will cause you to reap these rewards. This still leaves you plenty of time for your favorite spin class, or to try our new Yoga class on Sundays. You do not have to strength train every day to see these positive effects.
Here at 50/50, we want to ensure you that it is one or our six focal points of health and wellness. Staying strong is important for everyone, and increases the chances of enjoying a long, healthy and vigorous life. There are many ways to incorporate strength training into your routine. For more traditional strength building, Fit Camp, Targeted Strength and Conditioning, and Personal Training are great options. For muscular endurance, TABATA and Spin and Strength are fun classes to get your heart pumping and work your muscles. For those of you newer to strength training, I highly recommend personal training. Not only will you get the one on one attention needed to ensure correct form, but you will also receive a full-body assessment and a plan of corrective exercise to address imbalances that may otherwise hold back your progress.
However, you chose to incorporate it, I challenge all of you (yes, especially you spin aficionados) to incorporate 2-3 days of strength per week for the next month. Your body and mind will thank you!
Once Halloween hits it seems like life becomes a roller coaster ride until the New Year. Many of us are in the go-go-go mentality of maintaining our work and/or school commitments along with having the added responsibilities of holidays, family, and entertaining. While there is a lot of joy this time of year there is also an equal amount of stress. One of the great lessons we can take from strength training is that, in order to push hard, we need to make time for recovery. Traditional strength training work-outs are divided into sets of exercise consisting of a certain amount of repetitions, each set is followed by a period of rest. The rest period is just as important as the working period. Taking the adequate rest between sets is absolutely essential to making progress with our strength training. Often we fail to give the rest period in our life the importance it deserves. This is detrimental to the progress we make both in and out of the gym.
There are a myriad of different strategies when it comes to work/rest intervals. The ratio will often depend on your goals for strength training: some people lift to improve muscular endurance for long distance events, some people lift to increase there lean muscle mass and rev up there metabolism, some people lift for muscle hypertrophy and developing a particular body part of interest, others lift for pure strength building. A general rule is that the heavier you lift (or the higher percentage of your one rep max to be technical about it) the longer your rest period needs to be. For example, power lifters may rest for upwards of five minutes between sets. Most of us at 50/50 aren’t lifting heavy enough to require this much rest, so typically a 1:1 work:rest ratio is very effective when we are lifting. This will seem like a lot of rest to many of you, but I promise it is effective. The key is truly picking a weight that challenges you in the 6-12 rep range, meaning the last two reps are very difficult (but not impossible) to complete with proper form. For those of us who thrive on pushing ourselves to the max every second of every day this rest thing can be very challenging at first, but I swear that the endorphin rush you get from a well executed dead-lift or bench press will rival any runner’s high.
When we think about our body’s need for rest and recovery our mind often go towards yoga and stretching, which are great for your body and I highly encourage you to participate in these activities. But, I want to challenge you to think of this need for rest and the importance of rest in all your work-outs, particularly your strength training. Use this rest time to mentally prepare your body, coach yourself through proper form in your head, visualize yourself executing the move, and congratulate yourself on making progress towards your goals. Mindful strength training is effective strength training, and rest is an essential part of this equation. Take a deep breath and say ahhhh……
Jay McWilliams C.S.C.S
Targeted Strength and Conditioning is now a six-week strength-training program, where it had previously been a sixteen-week program. This will allow for those interested in participating in the Targeted strength training program an opportunity to join sooner. This program has eight core movements throughout the six weeks: Core, Arms, Vertical Push, Vertical Pull, Horizontal Push, Horizontal Pull, Knee dominant, and Hip dominant. Also, I have freed up 15 minutes at the end of the session to allow each group to work on their own unique six-week goal. For example, one group has chosen to spend the next six weeks focusing on lateral movements to strengthen their legs for the upcoming ski season! The main exercises will change within the six-week program every two weeks to keep everyone engaged, while maintaining the effectiveness of Progressive Overload.
Director of Strength & Conditioning, Jay McWilliams
The Small Group Training (SGT) Program is an exciting new option being offered for those that want to take their fitness to the next level. These SGT programs consist of specifically designed training sessions to help people learn how to safely, effectively and efficiently meet their goals within a supportive small group environment.
The SGT participants are able to set specific goals for themselves personally and as a group. The small group atmosphere combines the great motivation and camaraderie of group exercise with the custom designed training progression previously only available through personal training. Each session improves upon the last by utilizing an end of session de-briefing to reinforce skills and move forward in our training goals. Because of the personalized attention, the group can more quickly progress towards their goals and utilize a wider variety of exercises, including compound strength training moves and agility drills, than can be taught in a larger class setting. This results in an extremely effective work-out that is safe, fun, and challenging.
Not only are the customized sessions designed for you and the other group members, just as you would find in a personal training session, we are putting an emphasis on making your body stronger, improving your cardiovascular fitness, and increasing the caloric expenditure like never before. We offer six sessions throughout our Spring Schedule, as well as arrange private group sessions outside the scheduled time. The biggest “value” to our customers participating in this specialized program offering is that the client receives a customized progression developed specifically for the group. This type of customized progression allows goal attainment that cannot be found within a general group exercise class, otherwise only found in Personal Training.
Justin, Katie, and Jay are all experienced Certified Personal Trainers who excel at designing effective exercise progressions. All take great pride in conducting up-to-date research and custom designing each and every workout to best meet the individual and group needs. Grab another member, a friend, a colleague, and get in the best shape of your life!