Sport science literature supports the use of sup-plementary strength training of major muscles to improve performance. Both muscle strength and power can be increased in as few as 10 to 12 weeks on a properly designed program. Simple step-by-step guidelines, based on sound research, can insure Jennifer will have stronger leg muscles and better performance.
The following list of 10 helpful "get started" hints are by no means the last word. However, these guidelines can help a young active teenager get started safely and get results!
If you have not reached puberty, the answer is simply not yet! The immature skeleton is not ready to handle the exercise stress of weight training. Unusual force created by a regular heavy resistance program may cause damage to the growth plates (epiphysis) of the long bones. Coupled with the fact that muscles in youth are five times stronger than attachments to bones, too early a start can be dangerous.
It is normally safe to begin after sexual development begins. The physical changes in the body normally indicate that the skeleton is strong enough.
There is nothing magical about weight training. Simply placing extra stress or overload on muscles strengthens them. To gain maximum benefits, lifting a load or weight that causes the muscle to fail after a certain number of repetitions will build strength.
This momentary point of muscular failure givestop results. Once the muscle adapts to the overload, it isimportant to gradually increase the exercise load.This principle is called progression and ensurescontinued improvements.
It makes sense to select exercises that relate directly to the sport or activity you wish to improve. There are literally hundreds of weight training exercises and variations. Too often a person designs a program that is too long or too taxing. Following the "more is better" method only leads to de-training or loss of strength. A program of six to eight carefully selected exercises can meet the needs of all major muscle groups (See Chart).
Those just beginning a training program should focus their efforts on learning the proper lifts and movement patterns. The leading cause of injury in beginners is directly related to poor technique. Once a suitable workout has been chosen, a novice trainee should seek the advice of a certified strength specialist to learn to lift weights correctly. The Fitness Leadership Certified Strength Special-ist designation is recognized throughout Western Canada as the minimum qualification. Your local YMCA is a good starting point in finding such help.
To prevent fatigue too soon in a small muscle group, it is important to do the exercises in order from largest to smallest muscle groups (See Chart). Random order of exercises may result in tiring a muscle which is key to a more complex lift. A good rule is to work from the centre of the body outwards toward the arms and legs.
No one range of sets or repetitions helps both the development of muscle strength and local muscle endurance. If strength is the main training goal, the muscle must reach a point of fatigue between the fifth and tenth repetition. Therefore, the load or resistance chosen should allow the trainee to do at least five but no more than 10 repetitions. If local muscle endurance is the goal, a lighter load allowing 15 to 20 repetitions is used.
Unlike other forms of exercise, the body responds best to weight training when given sufficient time to recover. The actual gains in strength and endurance occur during recovery or rest periods. To promote this outcome, a 48-hour rest between training sessions is recommended. Consecutive daily training bouts lead to poorer results. Quality of work, not quantity of work is the secret!
Similar to other forms of exercise, it is important to ready the body for high levels of exertion. A general (non-activity related) or specific (activity related) warm-up before the conditioning portion of the weight workout prepares the lifter for a safer, more intense training session.
Light to moderate aerobic exercise is an excellent non-related warm-up when access to equipment is a problem. A specific warm-up using moderate loads and the actual exercise is superior. As the muscles are taken through the movement pattern, they are undergoing the lifting technique (neuro-muscular facilitation). This practice leads to smoother movement during exercise. Regardless of the method used, any warm-up is better than no warm-up at all.
The load or weight picked should not be so heavy that it reduces or limits the range of motion of a limb. A load that allows movement through a complete range is preferred. In addition, the muscles should be able to contract slowly in both the lifting (concentric) and lowering (eccentric) phases.
The range of weight training equipment on the market is mind boggling. Any device that meets the principles of overload and progression is effective. Personal preference and location of training often determine equipment selection.
No single piece of equipment can meet all training needs. Traditional "free weights" and dumbbells can be adapted to training many muscle groups. Machine types of equipment reduce the learning phase of weight training but are limited to certain movement patterns. A good combination of both types usually meets most lifters' needs.
Follow these steps and you should see satisfying results! Whether training to improve sport per-formance or to enhance your overall strength and general health, you can reach your goals.
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health OnLine should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specific medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly.