Despite the stereotype of a weight lifter - muscle-bound, hefting and grunting, big but weak - weight training can be used by everyone, not just those interested in becoming body builders. Paired with regular aerobic exercise, weight training increases your strength and muscle endurance as well as your overall feeling of fitness in ways that no other single exercise can. Bicycling develops one set of muscles, basketball another, but weight training works out a whole range of muscles in a very short amount of time.
weight-training routines can be used to help you develop particular muscle
groups that will improve your performance in your chosen sport. True enough,
nothing improves your tennis games as much as playing tennis: specificity
is the iron rule of modern sports training. Nonetheless, upper-body training
will give you an extra edge in tennis, and developing your leg muscles
will improve your swimming kick.
of Weight Training
The basic principle of any sort of muscle development
is that of overload: contracting a muscle group against added resistance.
The way a muscle grows is by splitting, longitudinally, under the strain
placed on it, and "healing" after the workout by adding protein.
Over a period of time, the overload placed on the muscles is increased
a step at a time, and so the muscles continue to develop.
The three modes of exercise for developing muscles are isometric, isotonic,
and isokinetic. In isometric exercises, you contract a muscle group without
moving the joint to which the muscles are attached - for instance, pushing
steadily against an immovable wall. These exercises build muscle, but
the gain occurs mainly at the angle at which the muscle is exercises.
Isotonic exercises, by contrast, contract a muscle through a range of
motion - as you can do with movable weights. The virtue of isotonic exercises
is that they build muscle through this full range of isometric exercises.
Isokinetic exercises also consist of contracting a muscle through a range
of movement. But isokinetic exercises, which are performed on machines,
use equipment designed to apply maximum stress to the muscles through
the whole range of movement.
exercises use both free weights and machines. Free weights are barbells
and dumbbells - ordinarily used in pairs, one in each hand. The advantage
of free weights is that they allow movement in any direction and so lend
themselves to an enormous variety of exercise routines; and they are relatively
inexpensive. Their disadvantage is that they do not isolate muscles as
clearly as machines do; and the stress that they provide is not nearly
as uniform over the full range of motion as that provided by some machines.
Machines can isolate muscle groups very efficiently by maintaining your
body in a particular position and by making you move a weight along a
predetermined path. And isokinetic machines are also designed to provide
variable resistance through the full range of motion, so that as you move
a limb, the resistance stays at or close to maximum.
Weight training tips
A typical workout with weights includes a warm-up of five to ten minutes
followed by an exercise routine that leaves the muscles thoroughly exhausted.
Your exact exercise routine should be formulate with an exercise specialist
in a gym, who will tell you just how to position yourself, how to lift
so as to prevent strain or injury, which weights or machines to use, and
how many repetitions and sets to do. If you continue to work out with
a trainer or a friend, he or she will keep your routines interesting,
give you emotional support, and help see to it, through proper "spotting" techniques, that you do not injure yourself.
A good exercise routine for overall fitness will work out different parts
of the body. It will consist of about a dozen exercises - six for the
upper body, six for the lower body. Above all, it will be scheduled so
that you give each muscle a full day's rest before you exercise it again.
If you exercise the same muscle two days in a row, it won't recuperate;
it will become weaker, not stronger. Therefore, you should either exercise
different muscles on successive days (upper body on day, lower body the
next, for example) or space workouts at least two days apart.
Also, remember to exercise the "large" muscles before the smaller ones.
For example, if you are weight training both the upper and lower muscles
on the same day, start with the leg muscles.