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Strength Training 101

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Eat right and lift heavy.

If there’s one constant thing we say across Nerd Fitness, it’s that if you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or just appear better than ever for an upcoming event, the two things you must do is eat right and lift heavy.

In this series on Strength Training, we’re going to cover ALL the things you need to know 😛 TAGEND

Strength training equipment Finding the Right Gym Where do I start ? How much weight should I be lifting ? How to Squat Properly How to do an Overhead Press How to do the Deadlift safely How to a do a bodyweight row

We’ve touched on most of these things a few times before, gone over your diet, and depict you some people it’s worked for, but we haven’t really gone into great detail.

Today that changes.

This is the first in a series of articles from NF Lead Female Coach Staci, encompassing all things strength develop 😛 TAGEND

Oh, and she can probably lift more than you. Here she is easily deadlifting 400+ lbs at bodyweight of 150 lbs 😛 TAGEND

A post shared by Staci Ardison (@ staciardison ) on Oct 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm PDT

Staci has been part of Nerd Fitness for the past 7 years, and is now the leading female trainer in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program!

Our coach gets to know you, builds a program based on your experience and aims, will check your form on each motion( via video ), and maintain you accountable and on track!

You can learn more about our coaches and schedule a free call with us by clicking the image below 😛 TAGEND

With that out of the way, let’s jump into the amazing world of Strength Training !!!

Why strength develop?

Strongman

First of all, lets face it: Putting everything else aside, life is EASIER when you’re strong. Carrying groceries? One trip-up. Children to carry? No problem. Vehicle stuck in the snow? Push it out with ease.

Plus, whether you’re 100 lbs overweight or just need to lose the last 15, strength educate is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and build muscle.

Lifting has been shown to halt and even reverse sarcopenia- the reduction of skeletal muscle that occurs as we get older- which helps us stay independent( and out of a nursing home) and live longer.

But in addition to construct life easier, strength educate has a lot of great benefits right now. Here are just a few 😛 TAGEND

Look Good Naked: Strength training helps you lose weight( and body fat) in a few different ways. First, it helps you retain the muscle you have while eating a calorie deficit and losing weight.

Second, strength develop has a much greater level of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption than aerobic exercising. What does this entail? When you finish a workout, your body needs to do a lot of work to replenish itself in order to bring itself back to a normal state( the style it was before you worked out ). This takes a lot of energy, and some studies have shown that it can boost your metabolism for up to 38 hours after you finish your workout.

Not only that, but strength training can help increase your metabolism by speeding up your Resting Metabolic Rate( RMR ). This is because it takes your body more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat. Estimations are that for every 1 lb of muscle you gain, your RMR goes up 30 -5 0 calories!

Makes You Healthier: If you’re looking for a workout in which you get the biggest bang for your buck, strength develop is it. Strength training increases bone density, constructs a stronger heart, reduces your resting blood pressure, improves blood flow, halts muscle loss, assistances control blood sugar, improves cholesterol levels, and improves your balance and coordination( turning you from this, to this ).

You’ll Feel Better: Not only will you find yourself with more energy and confidence, less stress and anxiety, and a better overall mood, but you’ll actually begin to think better( resistance train has been proven to help increase cognitive function ). And while training too close to bedtime can be a bad notion, exerting earlier in the day has been proven to help prevent sleep apnea and insomnia. I even improved my posture- when I started lifting, I was 5’4”. Now I’m 5’5. 5”.

Prevents illness and degenerative conditions: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women; Strength training helps correct issues relating to cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and inactivity- all factors for heart disease. Cardiologists are even starting to recommend strength training for people who have suffered a heart attack as little as three weeks after the attack. Who knows, maybe one day your cardiologist will tell you to do some “cardio” and he’ll be referring to strength training!

Strength training has also been proven to help manage and improve the quality of life enjoyed for people with Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Down Syndrome, Lymphedema, fibromyalgia, who have recently had a stroke, have had a spinal cord injury, cancer survivors and clinical depression.

In addition to ALL of the above, strength train is fun! Whether you are looking for the most effective 20 -3 0 minute workout( to stay fit and look great naked ), or are looking for a competitive sport that you can really get into, strength train can help you meet your goals. It’s easy and fun to see progress as you strength train, nearly like leveling up. And if you’re looking to improve in other areas( a athletic, traditional cardio, or an activity like rock climbing ), strength training is an easy option!

Ok, ok. Enough already. Is there anyone who SHOULDN’T strength train?

Honestly, I did a lot of research on this one, because I wanted to find a single group of people who should not strength train. I even detected analyzes on how strength develop can be beneficial for paraplegics. Not to mention it can be safe for children, adolescents, and pregnant women . Obviously, you should take a break from strength train if you’re injured, and always check with your doctor before you start any sort of strength training program, but it’s natural for us, as humans, to move around and carry things.

Primary objections to strength training

bodybuilder magazines

But I’m so old!This can’t be safe!

We hear this from 30 year olds and 60 year olds alike…and, like “I don’t have time, ” it is a big fat lie! Even for the frail elderly, analyses have shown that drastic outcomes are possible in simply 10 weeks of weightlifting( for both men and women in their 70 s through their 90 s ). In fact, weight train has also been shown to delay Alzheimer’s and stave off dementia . So, if you think you might be “too old, ” you’re probably the exact type of person that SHOULD be strength develop!

But my focus is on( operating)( basketball)( quidditch) and I need to stay slim!

Studies have shown that strength training actually increases the endurance of your muscles.

In fact, resistance exercisings not only help to tune up an out of shape nervous system and increase the activation of motor units within your muscles, but also helps increase their overall endurance.

If you’re worried about overall size, recollect: there are many types of strength training, and size and strength don’t always run hand in hand. We’ll get into more detail on this in a minute.

I don’t want to get bulky

Ladies! The images of “bulky” females that you are conjuring up are from bodybuilding magazines. This is one of the biggest myth surrounding strength develop. When I started strength train, I didn’t get bulky, I got lean, And I’m no outlier, I’m just one example of the rule: Women who strength train get strong and lean , not bulky. Like Veronica, who got damn strong and certainly lean.

Or Bronwyn, who turned into a powerlifting super mom.

That “bulky” look in girls does not happen by mistake or overnight- we simply do not have the hormones necessary to get there on our own. To achieve this look, girls have to eat incredible sums of food and devour incredible amounts of drugs. When we strength train normally, without these supplements, we end up looking like athletes .

We’ll be talking more about strength training for women in a later article, but for now, merely remember that everything in this article applies to both men and women.

I’m fat. I need to lose weight first.

Great! Start with strength train When you’re overweight, my guess is that you want to be preserving the muscle you have while losing the majority of your weight through fat. With strength develop, your overall weight loss may seem slower, but you will lose inches faster. Strength training increases your metabolism; as long as you’re still eating in a deficit, you’ll lose weight.

It’s boring

We’ll be talking more about this later, but for now, merely dedicate it a shot! In strength training you can see your progress so clearly that as you can do more and more, you’ll also be rewarded by seeing your strength progress from level 1 to level 50! If you aren’t a fan of the downtime, put on a book on tape or throw on your favorite playlist while circuit training to ensure you’re always moving( instead of sitting and waiting in between decides ).

Is that enough for us to convince you? Awesome.

If you read the above and said to yourself” Hell yeah, I’m ready to get started. Let’s goooo !” You’re in the right place!

I want to send you our free guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know, so that you have specific plans to follow and know how to do every exert confidently! Grab it free when you Join the Rebellion with your email in the box below. I’m excited for you to get started.

Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!

Everything you need to know about getting strong.

Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight train.

How to find the right gym and develop properly in one.

I identify as a:

Woman

Man

Muscles and strength train

Man Balance

Before we start actually lifting anything, the first thing we need to do is have a basic understanding of how our muscles work.

Our muscles are made up of many smaller muscle cells, more commonly known as muscle fibers. They’re long and cylindrical, and about the size of a single strand of hair. Muscle fibers are comprised of myofibrils surrounded by sarcoplasm.( This is the super short version- if you’re looking for more detail, check out this page .)

We’ve got about 642 skeletal muscles, and they all work together to help our bodies move. For example, when you bend your limb, your bicep contracts and your tricep does the opposite( elongates) in order to let your elbow bend. Every muscle in your body runs alongside the other.

We also have different types of fibers within our muscles, which help determine what type of training we respond best to.

The most common fiber types are 😛 TAGEND

Slow twitch( or Type I fibers) utilized for aerobic exercises where we need to convert oxygen into fuel over long periods of time. They are very resistant to fatigue, but do not move very quickly. These help for things such as operating long distances. Fast twitching( or Type II fibers) flame very rapidly, but also fatigue rapidly, so they don’t last long. It gets a bit more complicated, because there are actually two types of fast twitch fibers. Type IIA fibers have some endurance qualities( used only for things such as longer sprints ). While Type IIX fibers are our “super fast” fibers, used only when a super short burst is needed( like a 100 m sprint or a really heavy lift ).

Every person has a different percentage of fast twitch and slow twitching fibers, which is why some people tend to be naturally better at operating distances than sprinting, or better at longer defines than short ones.

What is hypertrophy?

muscle hypertrophy

Most people believe that we can increase the amount of muscle fibers we have by weight train. In reality, we’re only born with a specific amount of muscle- by strength train, we don’t actually increase the number of muscle fibers, but we increase the size of them, increasing overall mass. This is called hypertrophy.

Now, there are a few types of hypertrophy. When person ordinarily just says “hypertrophy” they are most likely referring to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy focuses on increasing the amount of sarcoplasm, the non-contractile fluid found in your muscle. Up to 30% of your muscle’s sizing is attributed to the sarcoplasm, so focusing on this type of hypertrophy assists build overall size. Myofibril hypertrophy focuses on strengthening the myofibril, the contractile part of the muscle. In this type of hypertrophy, you are strengthening the actual muscle fiber, so it helps you build super dense, strong muscles. Transient hypertrophy is the temporary increase in muscle size that happens during and immediately after weight training due to fluid accumulation in the intracellular space, that you probably know as “the pump”.

So in summary, if you want to focus mainly on building super strong dense muscle, you want myofibril hypertrophy. If you merely care about your muscles getting bigger, focus on sarcoplasmic. Transient hypertrophy is temporary and will appear alongside with both types.

When you strength develop you’re basically doing two things to your muscles 😛 TAGEND

Breaking down the muscle tissue so that your body will mend and rebuild the muscle back stronger. You consider, our body dislikes being told it can’t do something. When you break down your muscle fiber it comes back stronger; when you try to do that thing again, it will succeed. As you start to increase the repeating( rep) range, you increase the glycogen storage in the muscle. This is where you get your increased size from.

What does this mean for me?

It means that there’s a lot more to do with strength training than merely lifting things. You need to be training differently, depending on your specific goals.

Now I don’t want you to go into information overload and not end up in the gym. So, we’re going to break it down for you here: NOTE: This chart is from Practical Programming for Strength Training by Rippetoe and Kilgore.

Rep( Repetition)- One motion through a range of motion and back again. One full squatting, falling below parallel and stand back up again is “one rep .”

X Rep Max- The heaviest load you’re able to successfully complete for X reps. So for example, a 1 Rep Max( or 1RM for short) is something so heavy that you can only complete one rep of that weight. A 10 RM you can only complete 10 reps of – you would fail on the 11 th.

Looking at this chart, if you want strength( myofibrillar hypertrophy ), you’re going to want to keep the reps low and the weight heavy.

If you’re looking for size, which you get principally from sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, you’re going to want to keep the weight lighter and the reps higher.

Now, one thing to understand is that each of these elements are NOT exclusive- when you train in a higher rep range you’re not JUST getting size, you’re also get strength.

This is why I never understand why girls who don’t want to “get bulky” are told by trainers to do 3 situates of 10-12( or 5 situates of 1,000 reps of bicep curls with a 1 lb pink dumbbell ). While it’s difficult for women to gain any sort of size lifting in ANY rep range, if we were trying to gain muscle size, that’s EXACTLY what we would want to do( as it would be causing sarcoplasmic hypertrophy ).

Personally, I wouldn’t worry TOO much about all of the stuff above, especially if it starts to overwhelm you!

After all, we want you to be CONFIDENT and not overwhelmed, as the sooner you start strength training, the sooner you learn the ropes and start to make progress! We cover all of this in our free guide, Strength 101: Everything You Need to Know, along with free workout schemes- grab all the goodies fo’ free when you join our worldwide Rebellion with your email in the box below!

Download our comprehensive guidebook STRENGTH TRAINING 101!

Everything you need to know about getting strong.

Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight develop.

How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

I identify as a:

Woman

Man

Recovery

Lego Recovery Have you ever heard anyone say that your muscles aren’t built in the gym, but in the kitchen?

That’s because when you’re in the gym, you’re breaking apart the muscle fibers. When you’re out of the gym, you’re healing( and get stronger ). So it’s important to take adequate rest days as a part of your strength program.

The general rule of thumb is to wait 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.

One thing to remember with this is that our muscles work together- so when you’re working on your “chest” you’re probably also working all of the muscles in your shoulders, along with your upper arms.

Recovery is different for everyone depending on many different factors such as what the actual workout is, how old you are, your sleep quality, diet, and other recovery elements( such as massage and stretching ).

For a basic strength program, working out 3-4 days a week is plenty. This is one of those situations where more is not inevitably better.

Why Do I Get Sore? What’s DOMS?

DOMS is an acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It’s soreness that you feel in your muscles that doesn’t show up until a day or two after you work out( hence the’ delayed onset’ ). It’s a normal part of the process of repairing your muscles from the damage to the fibers you created while exercising.

Expect to be more sore a few days after doing an exercise for the first time, or after not doing it for a while. As your muscles get used to that motion( and adapt to being put under stress ), they will get less and less sore every time.

So, one route to stimulate the soreness go away, at least temporarily, is to continue exercising. This increases blood flowing to the muscles and helps them mend. However, remember that we still need them to heal. So if you’re sore from heavy squats, don’t turn around and do heavy squattings again. Try doing squats with no weight or yoga/ stretching to help bring the soreness down.

We have a whole chapter on DOMS and what is necessary do after a workout, and what you should do days after a workout if you’re still sore, in our free guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know, which you can grab when you sign up in the box below 😛 TAGEND Download our comprehensive guidebook STRENGTH TRAINING 101!

Everything you need to know about getting strong.

Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight train.

How to find the right gym and develop properly in one.

I identify as a:

Woman

Man

Ok, I get it. Can we start lifting now?

handstand

Of course, of course! If you’re ready to start, we’d recommend a simple program to follow until you get a better feel for each motion and how your body reacts to them.

There are a lot of really great programs out there for newbies. Starting Strength is probably the most well known beginner lifting program and the book is highly recommended. You can also check out our Beginner’s Guide to the Gym article for a good step by step progression to get comfy in the gym and start working out.

Still not sure what to do? Scared you’ll injure yourself or not sure what you should be doing in the gym? Need more guidance?

If you are somebody that wants to know they are following a program that is tailor-made for their life, situation, and goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 coaching program. You’ll work with our certified NF teachers who will get to know you better than you know yourself and program your workouts and nutrition for you.

If you are looking for more guidance, but without a private coach … No frets, we’ve put together the Nerd Fitness Academy! This comprehensive, self-paced course encompass 😛 TAGEND

Improving mindset and nutrition( both essential to success for ANY program) A physical appraisal quiz( knows where to start !) Multiple progressive workouts you can do at the gym or at home( workout anywhere !) Multiple difficulty levels( good for experienced rebels or complete newbies !)

Here is a sample of one of the high-quality videos in Nerd Fitness Academy. You will see the exert performed several times and hear important cues, so that you can confident perform the workouts yourself!

Whatever program you choose, make sure 😛 TAGEND

It’s simple to follow You have all of the equipment available It focuses on compound, full body movements

Congratulations, you just made it through the first class of Strength Training 101!

What big questions do you have about strength training?

Has strength training worked for you?

-Staci

PS- Be sure to check out the rest of Strength Training 101 series 😛 TAGEND

Strength Training 101: Equipment Strength Training 101: Finding the Right Gym Strength Training 101: Where do I start ? Strength Training 101: How much weight should I be lifting ? Strength Training 101: Inverted Rows Strength Training 101: How to Squat Properly Strength Training 101: The Overhead Press Strength Training 101: The Deadlift

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photo source: man balance, droid lift, magazine, lego relax, strongman

Read more: nerdfitness.com

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