Any well-rounded exercise programme should also include some strength training.
The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for exercise state that a comprehensive exercise programme should include strength training a minimum of two days per week.
Strength is defined as the ability of contractile tissue (muscles) to produce tension and resultant force based on demands. Building strength is accomplished through resistance training. Resistance training is any form of exercise in which the contraction of a muscle is resisted by an outside force. Resistance training can be accomplished through body weight training (the outside force is gravity) or by using external objects as resistance (weights, exercise bands, machines, other people, etc).
The keys for successful strength training are as follows:
Exercises performed should be directly related to achieving a goal. If you do only leg extensions in the gym, you will develop stronger quadriceps. However, just doing leg extensions doesn’t automatically increase your jump height. It’s important to think about what your goals are and train to achieve them.
The body responds to the demands that are put on it. In order to achieve larger and stronger muscles, muscles must be progressively overloaded. This means that when lifting weights, you should be noticeably challenged from the first repetition. The body is very good at “getting used to” a specific load, after which muscle gains will either plateau or decrease. This concept is called accommodation. If you are able to do more than 10 repetitions of an exercise easily, it’s probably time to increase your resistance.
The fitness industry makes million of dollars per year with fad workouts. However, different people respond differently to the same imposed demand. All successful programmes have the same underlying basic principles. If you are training specifically and progressively overloading your muscles and not seeing results you want, it might be time to try a different activity or programme.
To find out more about how to achieve your rehabilitation goals, contact a healthcare professional at Align Wellness Studio.
Kristina Maxwell is a doctor of physiotherapy at Align, a wellness studio with an integrated approach to physical rehabilitative treatments and preventative care.