What Are the Health Benefits Associated with Strength Training?

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1 Strength Training Program Necessary Basic information to obtain results. -- Most of the information contained in this handout is based on information gathered, researched, and presented by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) to its fitness professionals. Information contained in this document is adapted from materials presented in the NASM-PES manual. What Are the Health Benefits Associated with Strength Training? A. Improved Cardiovascular Efficiency B. Beneficial Endocrine and Serum Lipid Adaptations a. Endocrine system -- The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, and sexual function and reproductive processes. b. Endocrine system hormone regulation c. Serum Lipid Adaptations Potential changes to total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in the blood. i. Changes in body composition also associated with these positive changes C. Increased Lean Body Mass = altered body composition D. Decreased Body Fat = altered body composition E. Increased Metabolic Efficiency burn more calories at rest and while exercising F. Increased Tissue Tensile Strength strength/thickness of muscles, tendons, and ligaments G. Increased Bone Density a. Important in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis b. This is accomplished through the compressive forces associated with strength training and the muscle actions pulling on the bones. Again, maximum results start with compound exercises. Program Design Principles A) Overload in order to elicit physical and physiological results from a program, there must be a stimulus great enough to produce a response. Simplistic definition is to do more than what the body considers normal. a. The overload is applied through the manipulation of the acute variables associated with strength training. Some of the main variables you may already be aware of are frequency, intensity, and time (the F.I.T. principle). Acute variables determine the stress upon which the body will create specified adaptations (changes).

2 i. Acute variables are as follows: 1. Volume = sets x reps for a specific body part/muscle a. All training is cumulative, and too much can lead to overtraining and injury b. Volume of training is determined in part based on the following factors: Goals, phase of training, age, injury status, work capacity, nutritional considerations, and recoverability. c. Volume is inversely related to intensity. The greater the intensity, the lower the volume, the less intense, the greater the volume. 2. Intensity a. Typically expressed as a percentage of the 1 rep maximum. i. The 1 rep maximum is the maximum amount of weight that can be lifted one time for a given exercise with correct form 3. Frequency = How often one performs the exercise routine a. Generally 3 5 times per week. Remember the three R s (rest, recover, and rebuild) 4. Duration (Time) = both the time per session and the length of the selected phase. a. Training programs that exceed 60 minutes to 90 minutes per session, not including a warm-up and cool down, are associated with lower overall energy levels, and they can cause hormonal and immune system responses that can negatively affect a training program. b. Training phases typically last 4 8 weeks, as this is the amount of time it typically takes for the body to adapt to the training stimulus.

3 5. Repetition Tempo = the speed at which one executes the lifts performed. a. This variable takes into account the three types of muscle contractions that occur through a lift (muscle contraction spectrum) i. Concentric = muscle shortens to produce force and accelerate movement ii. Isometric = muscle producing a force with no movement, and creates optimal stabilization strength iii. Eccentric = muscle lengthens to reduce force and decelerate movement 6. Exercise Selection = choosing exercises based on the specific goal in mind. The goal is also commonly associated with the phase of a periodized program. (i.e. stabilization/endurance phase, strength phase, power phase) a. Exercises can be selected based upon the number of body joints used, movements performed, and adaptations desired. i. Total Body: and example would be a squat-curl press, or squat/deadlift row. ii. Multijoint/Compound Exercises: exercises that utilize movement of two or three joints iii. Single Joint/Isolation Exercises: exercises that focus on isolating one major muscle group or joint. b. Scientific research has found that to develop optimum strength, the use of total body and multijoint exercises are most beneficial. 7. Exercise order = perform exercises that require the most energy first such as total body or multijoint. Choosing exercises that isolate a muscle or joint can compromise

4 stability when moving on to more demanding exercise and lead to potential injury or movement pattern dysfunctions. 8. Rest Interval = Time allotted between sets of an exercise or between exercises a. Rest interval is underutilized, but it has a great deal of importance on the results attained from the exercise program. b. The rest interval is assigned based on the stress to the energy system and the body s ability to replenish the muscle s primary energy sources (ATP and CP) c. Depending on the intensity of the activity, there will be a varying degree of ATP needed to complete the task. (Example: If an exercise is being performed at 95% of 1 rep max, then there is a need for close to or a complete replenishment of ATP and CP, thusly, the rest interval between sets or exercise will be greater) 9. Plane of motion = There are three planes of motion, and most exercises occur in only one of them. By creating and unstable environment (like an exercise on a stability ball), the body needs to recruit more muscle to stabilize the other planes that are not involved. a. Sagittal Plane = cut body into R and L parts. Exercises in this plane run along or against the plane (Think of the plane as a large window). b. Frontal Plane = cut body into front and back c. Transverse Plane = rotation on or about a central axis 10. Muscle Action = movements created by the muscles or movements. B). Principle of Specifcity simply stated, the results one gets from a training program is related to what demands are placed upon it. For example, if the goal of the training program is to develop power, then power must be produced in the training. If cardiovascular endurance is a goal, then one

5 must participate in activities that stimulate an overload of the cardiovascular system. a. Many people have misconceptions on specificity. One such misconception is that the only way to lose weight is through cardiovascular exercise because of how many calories it burns. Strength training too burns calories, and causes an elevated metabolic rate for up to 24 hours following the session. b. People also too often abuse the principle of specificity in terms of abdominals. People often feel that by doing crunches and sit-ups, they will produce six-pack abs. Although crunches will strengthen and tone the rectus abdominus muscle (specificity), they will not produce the visibility of the muscle through the subcutaneous fat. c. Another example of misconstruing knowledge and specificity is core training. Again, people do crunches as a primary exercise in core training; however, the core is comprised of much more than the rectus abdominus muscle. The rectus abdominus muscle flexes the spine, which is in the sagittal plane, but the core is mostly important in controlling the body in the transverse plane. d. Again, the body adapts exclusively to the demands or stresses placed upon it, and it can commonly be referred to as the SAID principle (specific adaptations to imposed demands). The demands placed on the body must match the goals of the training. Also, if the demands are placed upon the body incorrectly, the adaptation too will be faulty (incorrect lifting form). C). Principle of Variation Planned changes in an exercise program is required to continually stimulate change. Simply stated, the body will only continue to produce change/adaptations if the stimulus is regularly modified. Continuing to provide the exact same stimulus repeatedly will cause the body to stop adapting. a. Specific combinations of volume and intensity produce specific training adaptations. i. High Volume training creates cellular changes such as the following: 1. Increased cross sectional area of the muscle (size)

6 2. Increased mitochondrial density (energy producers in cells) 3. Increased metabolic efficiency (caloric utilization) 4. Improved lean body mass 5. Decreased body fat 6. Improved Blood-Lipid serum profile (increased HDL, decreased LDL, decreased Triglycerides cholesterol screening) ii. High Intensity training creates neural changes the simple take home message from the following listed items/terms is that the body is better able to produce power, recruit muscle fibers, stimulate more muscle contractions, and have the muscles work together to accomplish the task. 1. Increased rate of force production (more power) 2. Increased Rate coding 3. Increased Motor Unit recruitment (more muscle fibers utilized) 4. Increased motor unit synchronization 5. Increased Neromuscular coordination 6. Decreased neural inhibition b. It is suggested in the scientific literature that prolonged training periods with high intensity and low volume results in tissue overload, neural fatigue, and eventual over-training (injury, decreased performance, and fatigue). Therefore, appropriate planned variation is key to the success of a training program. D). Principle of Progression training programs should have planned progressions (easier to harder) to reduce chance of injury and ensure proper results. a. Progression is closely linked with overload and specificity. b. People should allow at least 2 weeks for the body to respond and adapt before changing the overload.

7 PROGRAM DESIGN CONTINUUM GOAL/ REPS SETS INTENSITY REST PERIOD ADAPTATION Power % - 45% of 1 RM or < 10% Body 3 5 minutes weight Strength % - 100% 1 RM 45 sec 5 minutes Stabilization % - 70% 1 RM 0 sec 1.5 minutes OR GOAL/ REPS SETS INTENSITY REST PERIOD ADAPTATION Power % - 45% of 1 RM or < 10% Body 3 5 minutes weight Max Strength % - 100% 1 RM 2 5 minutes Hypertrophy % - 85% 1 RM seconds Endurance % - 70% 1 RM seconds GOAL/ADAPTATION VOLUME (sets x reps) TEMPO Power 6 30/ exercise x/x/x Max Strength 4 20/ exercise 1/1/1 x/x/x Hypertrophy 24 36/ exercise 3/2/1 1/1/1 Endurance / exercise 4/2/2 4/2/1 Tempo: X = as fast as possible. A/B/C = where A is eccentric, B is isometric, and C is concentric Dependant upon what resource one uses, the recommendations may vary slightly, but generally speaking, they will be close. I have given the recommendations shown above, as they are what I use as a certified professional through the NASM.

8 Development of the adaptations is much like a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is stabilization, then comes varying types of strength, and then comes power. Without a proper base, a pyramid cannot stand; therefore, a strength program should not ignore stabilization as without that base, injury or improper adaptation is likely.

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