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How to train for muscle strength

Categories: Exercise

Strength Training Basics

Strength training, in a nutshell, is the use of resistance to build strength. This is done through muscular contraction which also builds anaerobic endurance and the size of skeletal muscles.

Why do people strength train?

People strength train for a variety of outcomes. Here are the top reasons:

Greater muscular strength – This is the most obvious reason for strength training and applies to both men and women. Strength training involves progressively lifting heavier loads over a period of time. The muscles are stretched to their limit during a workout and thereafter given time to recover and rebuild. This happens progressively. Greater muscular strength is beneficial for everyday tasks such as carrying shopping and babies or changing a car's tire.

Improved muscle tone and appearance - Who wouldn’t want this? For women, this would generally be a more toned look, although a couple of rock solid abs on a lady are quite remarkable too. For men, broad shoulders and a smaller waist are undeniably the picture of perfection.

Increased endurance – More muscle allows you to endure your workouts longer, whatever they may be.

Enhanced bone density – For people with physical disability in rehabilitation, strength training is important to maximize recovery. Weight training also helps patients with osteoporosis to improve their bone strength.

How to strength-train

The basic principles of strength training involve the manipulation of the number of reps, sets, the frequency of tempo, the force used and exercises to manipulate a particular muscle group are dependent on the individual's purpose of strength training. For example, to bulk up, multiple sets with fewer reps must be performed requiring the expenditure of more energy.

To develop endurance, you must gradually increase the load while gradually decreasing intensity. If you are just getting into strength training, it has been shown that doing multiple sets offers very minimal benefits. Try doing a single set while focusing on strength gain or an increase in muscle mass. However, all muscle groups are different, For example, leg muscles require more sets.

Here are a few techniques you can use for strength training.

  • Progressive overload – This involves attempting to lift as much weight as you possibly can and the muscles respond by growing bigger and stronger.
  • Split training – This involves working not more than 3 muscle groups in a day. Instead, workouts of particular muscle groups are spread throughout a cycle spanning several days. Muscles are worked to their extreme about twice a week and allowed to recover for 7 hours.
  • Periodisation – This is the diversification of frequency, intensity, and volume over time to stimulate muscle growth and allow recovery. Different training cycles usually have different variations of the three aspects.

The most important aspect to note in strength training is proper form. This is because improper form can cause injury or an inability to meet your goals. If the targeted muscle group is not sufficiently challenged, the overload threshold is never reached thus it does not gain in strength. Injuries caused by improper form can have long lasting effects They are usually characterized by pain rather that soreness. In extreme cases, you could also fracture a bone.