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Weight Training

Whatever stage I am at in training there are core principles that I will always apply:

 

  • Intensity and training to failure - Every workout needs to be of a sufficient intensity to make a muscle grow. One way to acheive that level is to always take a set to concentric muscular failure. I don't think there is any reason in stopping once a particular number of repetitions has been reached. As the last couple of repetitions of a set are the most productive it is imperative to make those reps as difficult as possible, to a point where another repetition using good form is physically impossible. This way I know I have worked the muscle enough to send the right signals to make it grow.
  • Use of advanced techniques - The use of straight sets are one way to train. However there are certain advanced techniques that can be applied to benefit different training stages. For example if I am at a stage that I want to gain mass or strength I would use a technique such as rest - pause, partial repetitions, negatives or assisted reps. If I want to lose weight I would implement drop - sets, supersets, extended sets, slo - mo, pre - exhaust, or giant sets. Further to this I would integrate different rep speeds, rest periods, hand grips, body positions, rep ranges and exercise selection as a way to applying intensity.
  • Using Correct Form - To make the most use of my energy reserves, training time and recovery ability it is important that every effort is focused on doing something that benefits growth. if I'm not pushing or pulling a weight in the most advantageous manner then I am wasting energy doing something that is of little to no advantage, or worse putting myself in a position where I could be injured. Therefore I try my utmost to avoid using momentum and leverage to move a weight and instead focus on using the muscle to complete an exercise.
  • Constant tension - Following on from the last point, it is important to make sure that the muscle is actually working at all times during an exercise. For this to happen the muscle must be kept taught and under continous tension throughtout the positive and negative phases of an exercise. Which means I tense the muscle at the top of the movement and I don't lock out the joint at the bottom. Occasionaly with a lighter weight I will lock out just to put the muscle through its full Range Of Motion (ROM).
  • Brief and Intense - I don't believe in volume training, for one thing if you a natural weightlifter you will only have a limited amount of resources available for recovery. Another fact is that the growth hormone produced in any workout stops after 45 minutes so any longer than that I feel moves into overtraining. I prefer to keep intensity levels high by letting my energy levels dictate the length of the training session. I'd rather complete several short workouts than train for over an hour as this is counter - productive.
  • Cardiovascular training - Although frequenty workouts especially those that involve short rest periods will benefit the cardio vascular system, they are not a substitute. I feel that not only does cardio benefit weight loss but training this system helps to with breathing during weight lifiting and helps to extend exercise endurance, strength and stamina.
  • Constantly changing routines - I change a routine every 6 - 8 weeks or less even if I think that I am making good progress from a particular exercise. Training quickly becomes monotonous if I do the same things all the time and it is important to work a muscle using different exercises to work all of the muscle fibres.
  • Working a muscle from all angles - Any particular exercise will work a muscle overall. Using similar exercises will focus on specific areas of that muscle to develop specific areas of a muscle for example - inner / outer biceps, upper / lower pectorals, or any of the multiple muscles that go to making up a particular muscle.
  • Progressive Overload - I make a constant to increase the weight on an exercise where I can. This doesn't mean that I will train using my heaviest weights all of the time, I would cycle through phases of lifting heavy then alternating with using lighter weights, but I will conatantly need to challenge my body to initiate the neccessary stimulus for growth.
  • Different reps schemes - It is neccessary to employ different repetition ranges because different types of muscle fibres respond to higher or lower reps. I would either incorporate different rep ranges in a workout or use periodisation to move from phases of low and high reps.
  • Instinctive training - Taking all of the above and years of experience into account will inevitably mean that I will train by instinct to do what works for me. I will constantly assess and re - assess all of my knowledge of training and dieting to focus on developing weaker body parts.
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