Gone are the days where a walk around the park was enough to tone and shape your body. Latest research shows that in order to change the shape of your muscles you need to do some form of resistance training.
Resistance training is no longer just for bodybuilders but it is for people of all walks of life. It is for the mother trying to get in shape after having children, it is for the 65 year old trying to keep the muscles and bones strong. It is for the rugby player preparing for the up and coming season and it is even for the golfer who is trying to strengthen their muscles to increase the length of their drive.
The great thing about resistance training is the ability to target individual muscles groups which is something that cardio work just cant do. The key is to structure your training to suit your individual needs.
And that is where we come in. At 'Temple Fitness' we will design a programme that is designed with you in mind. We will take into consideration your specific goals, any past or present injuries you might have and your unique body type.
As everybody has different goals I just want to run through the different types of resistance programmes available. One thing I would like to say from the start is that it doesnt matter what type of resistance training programme you do it is important to extend yourself so by the end of the workout you know that you have given your muscles something to think about. I find a lot of people are too afraid to push themselves while using weights because they believe they are going to put on huge amounts of muscle.
Please believe me when I tell you that this just will not happen unless you have a specifically designed routine and even then it is very hard work. Many people will go to a gym and never increase their weights until they get to the point where they might as well be sitting on the couch at home watching their favourite tv show. Why? Because they are not working their muscles hard enough to get any significant change. So the number one piece of advice I can give you is be very specific with your trainer what you want to achieve and they will design the routine in such a way as to help you get where you want to be. So lets have a look at some programmes...
Toning and Firming
This type of routine would be one of the most popular programmes asked for when people join a gym. Most people just want to shape and firm the muscles and shed a few pounds. Generally this would mean you would be training your whole body in one day and using repetitions of around 12-20.
It is important to keep your rest periods short so you keep the heart rate up but as I mentioned it is still vital that you challenge the muscles so you feel by the end of a set that you are experiencing what I would call the 'burn'. The burn is when you are feeling almost like a pain in the muscles. It is important to know the difference between good and bad pain.
Good pain should feel symmetrical meaning both your arms or legs should feel about the same sensation. It shouldnt be deep within the joint. Bad pain is normally non-symmetrical. One side or portion of the body will hurt much more than the other.
If you go through your workout without feeling any discomfort or 'burn'
then you will find your body shape will stay pretty much the same. This is the same for a toning and firming routine right through to a bodybuiling routine.
Sports Specific Training
I am not going to go into a lot of detail in this section as I am going to do a separate page on this topic but basically sports specific training is designing a routine to help someone improve in their chosen sport.
Resistance training used to be shunned upon in the sporting world but now athletes from all sports from rugby right through to golf have seen the benefits from following a well structured weight training routine. There is also sports peaking which is designing a programme to prepare for the up and coming season or a particular event. I encourage you not to leave it too late as many people expect miracles by leaving it until the last minute to get ready for the season ahead. I have had several clients from rugby players to tennis players to waka ama paddlers that have seen how a well structured peaking routine can get them in their best possible shape at just the right time.
Many people think that bodybuilding and powerlifting are very similar but they are in fact quite different. In bodybuilding the main objective is to use resistance to build and shape the muscle, in powerlifting the whole idea is to increase ones strength and peak at certain times (normally
competition) to see how much they can lift for a one rep maximum.
The programme is designed around three lifts. The squat, bench press and the deadlift. Just as in a sports peaking routine the powerlifter must have a programme that is designed to prepare them to lift their maximum lifts on a given date. As they move towards competition day their volume of exercise normally decreases while their intensity and amount of weight they use will increase. Powerlifting is a very rewarding sport and many people find it is a great individual sport to pursue.
Bodybuilding is more than just standing on a stage and flexing your muscles. For many people it is about increasing their weight for their chosen sport or just trying to get that beach body they have always dreamed about. As I said at the beginning, building muscle is not that easy so the programme must be designed in such a way to stress the muscles so they will grow bigger and stronger. The technical term is 'hypertrophy' whereby you actually damage the muscle cells through intense exercise and through the right recovery time and nutritional plan allow the muscle cells to recover and therefore grow.
So the key to build muscle is intensity. This is usually achieved by splitting up the routine so you can do more exercises per muscle group and allowing more recovery time between workouts. Using a combination of compound exercises to build the muscle and isolation exercises to shape the muscle is a good way to encourage growth. Rep range can vary but generally it is around 8-12. Look for the page on 'Bodybuilding Training Principles' to get some tips on different methods to get the best out of your routine and keep the muscles guessing.
Another reason to come to the gym is when you are returning from an injury or you are trying to keep your muscles strong to prevent an old injury from coming back. The right exercise routine is crucial to make sure you are doing all the right things and not making the problem worse. Certain exercises can in fact antagonise old injuries so make sure you get professional advice from a certified trainer when entering the gym environment. We at 'Temple Fitness' have seen many people come to the gym struggling with niggling injuries that are effecting their everyday lives.
But once again with a well structured routine many people have found that they have not only come to manage their problems but in many cases get rid of the injury all together. Whether it is a shoulder or lower back come and see us for a quick diagnosis so we can help you get back on track.