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Strength training: technique, effect and tips

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 357 views

Strength training is used to build muscle. Some use it to improve their athletic performance, others use it to improve their appearance. Above all, strength training makes the body more efficient and helps with diseases such as back problems, joint problems, diabetes or heart disease. Read here what forms of strength training there are, what tips there are for strength training and how you can benefit the most from them.

Strength training tips

The following applies to strength training for beginners and advanced users alike: It is important that you always perform the exercises cleanly and without evasive movements. This is how you avoid injuries. It is best to start any new muscle training under the guidance of an experienced trainer. Together with the trainer, you will also create a suitable training plan that is individually tailored to your abilities and line.

Create training plan

For your training plan, first determine your maximum performance – for each individual exercise. During training, it is not fully exhausted, but only aimed at up to a certain percentage. If someone can bench press a maximum of 70 kilograms, the 50 percent load for that athlete is 35 kilograms.

How much of the maximum load is called up during training depends on how fit the athlete is and what training goals he is aiming for.

Strength training for beginners

Strength training for beginners should take place in this area, namely at 50 percent of the maximum strength. You should do at least five sets of each exercise. A set corresponds to a set of repetitions in strength training. As a strength training beginner, you should do 10 to 15 repetitions per machine and exercise. Pause for two minutes in between.

Advanced strength training

The principle of complex strength development applies to advanced users: ideally, you should train at 70 to 85 percent of your individual maximum performance. Three to six sets of five to ten repetitions each are ideal for your strength training. Rest between sets should be one to two minutes.

Strength training – how often do you train?

Two to three training sessions per week are enough to achieve a constructive effect. Just to keep fit, it is enough to flex your muscles once a week.

Strength training – that’s behind it

But what exactly is strength training? The goal of strength training is to build muscle. This happens when the body is subjected to a force load to which it adapts. In order to be better prepared for future efforts, the muscles strengthen.

How the strength training works is controlled by the load. It depends on two factors:

  • the weight to be lifted
  • and how often each exercise is repeated.

If you want to train your muscular endurance, you lift less weight, but with more repetitions. If you primarily want to increase muscle strength and muscle size, you train with heavier weights and fewer repetitions.

You can train your strength in many different ways. In the past, for example, so-called bodybuilding using dumbbells was in demand. Most of the time it was all about breeding impressive muscle packs. Many athletes now prefer stationary equipment in the gym. They can be used to train the various muscle groups in a very targeted manner. Exercises that use your own body weight for strength training (bodyweight training) are also becoming increasingly popular.

Strength training – the equipment

Basically, for strength training you need (non-slip) sturdy shoes and close-fitting sportswear that cannot get caught in the equipment or slide up during training with your body weight. For floor exercises, a gymnastics mat increases comfort. When training with weights, fingerless gloves with non-slip palms can also improve grip and protect sensitive skin from blisters.

If you don’t just want to train with your own body weight, you can vary your strength training with various accessories. For example:

  • dumbbells
  • Rope
  • Kettlebells (weight ball with handle)
  • Sandbag
  • pull-up bar

In most gyms it is also customary to bring a towel. For hygienic reasons, it is placed underneath during machine training.

forms of strength training

Depending on the goals you want to achieve, you train in different ways:

  • Maximum strength training (achieve maximum strength)
  • Speed ​​strength training (develop as much acceleration as possible in the shortest possible time)
  • Endurance (ability to sustain physical activity for a long time)

In addition, there are various forms of muscle work that are used in training:

  • Concentric strength training : In concentric exercises, resistance is overcome, for example lifting a weight. The muscle shortens.
  • Eccentric strength training: Eccentric strength exercises counteract resistance. For example, a weight is slowly lowered. The muscle stretches.
  • Isometric Strength Training: Isometric strength exercises involve holding weights in one position. This creates tension in the muscle.

Strength training – that brings it

Strength training increases the performance of the muscles. It increases strength, endurance, flexibility and resilience in everyday life.

Maximum Strength : The maximum force that a muscle can exert increases with strength training. So you can lift heavier loads. But it also benefits athletic performance: with maximum strength, speed also improves.

With targeted training, the maximum strength per training unit can be increased by 0.5 to 2 percent. In this way, you can achieve a total of 8 to 32 percent more strength within eight weeks with two training sessions.

Strength endurance: The strength endurance of the muscles benefits even more from the training. It is between 1.7 and 2.2 percent per training session. The more endurance you have, you tire more slowly. You can feel it when climbing stairs, for example.

The less trained a person is, the faster their performance improves. This is especially true for seniors, who quickly benefit from strength training.

Strength training & calorie consumption

How many calories you actually burn during strength training depends on several factors:

  • heaviness of the weights used
  • Body measurements and weight of the trainee
  • performance level
  • number of repetitions
  • Frequency of strength training

A 60-kilogram athlete burns around 200 kilocalories in 30 minutes through strength training. For a 200-pound athlete, it’s around 300 calories. But you can’t just lose weight through the training itself. There is also the so-called afterburn effect. Muscle also burns more energy than fat tissue, even when at rest.

strength training for health

Many do strength training to shape their bodies. But strength training has a firm place in health sports.

The skeleton and joints benefit in particular: the strain on the muscles also creates stimuli that promote the formation of bones and cartilage. Because muscles burn more energy than other tissues at rest, strength training increases the basal metabolic rate of energy. It also has a positive effect on sugar metabolism and blood pressure.

Overall, the risk of various health problems including in particular decreases

  • Back problems
  • overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • joint problems
  • osteoporosis

Who is strength training suitable for?

The sport has long since outgrown pumper den status. Gone are the days when big guys in sleeveless shirts used heavy weights to swell their muscles to the max. Effective strength training today includes many forms and is recommended for (almost) everyone.

Basically, experts recommend strength training once or twice a week – in addition to endurance training . Strength stimuli make the body resilient and stable. Atrophied muscles, on the other hand, promote various health problems. Only those who have to work hard at work can safely do without it. But these are the fewest.

However, some people particularly benefit from regular strength training:

Seniors and the physically weak: muscle training knows no age. Strength training for seniors and the physically weak can significantly improve the quality of life. You gain independence through strength training, and new opportunities open up to you again. They also reduce the risk of falls and other accidents. Overall, strength training increases life expectancy.

Overweight: Losing weight through strength training or endurance plus strength training is a good strategy. According to studies, the muscles have a great influence on the production of hormones and hormone-like messenger substances such as interleukin (IL)-6. Among other things, this hormone influences fat oxidation in the muscles. Strength training for losing weight is also suitable because muscles increase the basal metabolic rate.

Heart patients: For a long time, strength training was considered risky for heart patients. In fact, they can benefit. This is especially true for patients with coronary heart disease and cardiac insufficiency. Blood pressure drops and vascular function improves. However, it is important not to overload yourself. Training is done with less effort but more repetitions. Cardiac patients should clarify with a sports doctor before training how much they can expect. The risk is too high for seriously ill patients, for example people with unstable angina pectoris or acute myocarditis.

Diabetics: Strength training improves glucose metabolism. The body cells react better to insulin again, the blood sugar levels drop. This is especially true in combination with endurance sports such as jogging .

Back pain sufferers: Strong muscles support the spine. Not only the back is important for this, but also the abdominal muscles. Strength training on machines can also provide relief for patients with chronic back pain.

People with lung diseases: Light resistance training can help people with chronic lung problems reduce shortness of breath, make them more resilient to everyday life and improve their general well-being.

Strength training for women

The body of women contains around 25 and 35 percent muscle mass. That of men between 40 and 45 percent.

For exercises and things to know about strength training for women, see the article Strength Training for Women .

Strength Training & Pregnancy

Strength training can make pregnancy easier for expectant mothers. Especially when the back and pelvic floor are gently strengthened. In this way, the burden of the growing belly can be better balanced. This prevents back and neck pain as well as incontinence.

However, pregnant women should avoid heavy weights and hard training. Light loads and more repetitions are better. You should also avoid exercises that bend the abdomen forward (e.g. sit-ups) and abrupt movements in general.

Weight training mistakes to avoid

When doing strength training, it is important to do the exercises as cleanly as possible and not to overload yourself. So please note the following tips.

Putting on too much weight: If you overdo it, you risk injury. 50 percent of the maximum strength is ideal for beginners.

Training without warming up: The body must be brought up to operating temperature before strength training, otherwise the risk of muscle, tendon and ligament injuries increases.

Don’t take breaks: This applies not only between the sets, but also between the individual training units. Strength training every day only tires you out instead of making you stronger. The muscle needs periods of rest to adapt to the load. After intensive units it should be at least 48 hours.

Get started without a trainer: Especially when training with weights, there is a risk of overexertion and incorrect strain if you do an exercise incorrectly or use a device incorrectly. Therefore, always let an experienced trainer show you how to do the exercises correctly when doing strength training.

Strength training when you have a cold: Even if the cardiovascular system is not put under quite as much strain as with endurance training, you should take a break from training when you have a cold. Because (hard) training when you have a cold can further weaken the immune system, prolong the duration of the illness and, in the worst case, lead to heart muscle inflammation.

Strength training for chronic diseases: Strength training has a positive effect on the course of many chronic diseases. However, patients should discuss with a specialist what they can expect from strength training.

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