Strength Training (A Brief Introduction)

Strength is determined by the aims and objectives required by an event. 'Strength' to a shot putter is very different from the strength bought by a 5000m runner in the last stage of a race.

The two different types of muscle fibers.

Red fibers: associated with endurance activity and is slow acting but long working. Their color refers to the presence of many mitochondria (cellular power stations) and to oxygen-carrying myoglobin protein. Aerobic fibers.

White fibers: Linked to rapid action and short endurance. No oxygen is utilized when they contract. These are the anaerobic fibers.

How these types of fibers function?

Both extremely use the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) in order to contract; they have a different way of doing this.

Refer below

The energy cycle

Creatine – Fast Anaerobic Energy – Creatine Phosphate

Pyruvic acid – Medium Anaerobic Energy – Lactic Acid

Glucose and Oxygen – Slow Aerobic Energy – CO2 and water

In short …

White muscle fibers are linked to short endurance and give you the burst of strength in short periods of time. (Fast anaerobic energy)

Red muscle fibers are linked to long endurance and are slow reacting muscles (slow aerobic energy).

Static and Isometric Strength

Static Strength:

o Used main in Bodybuilding in which coordinated movements are not required as a mean of improving performance.

o Helps improve the postural muscle groups such as those of the back and the abdomen.

o Static strength is of limited limited importance to the athlete.

Dynamic or moving strength:

o Isotonic (even resistance)

o Isokinetic (even speed)

o Plyometric (reactive)

o Explosive (Maximum speed)

Training methods

o Sets and Repetitions (A set is the term used for a group of repetitions.)

o Strength gain, sets are performed in consecutively and not one set of one exercise followed by another set of exercise. The reason for doing this is that the muscle group gets progressively more tired and more effort must be applied, bringing in more fibers as the sets progress. This is called Stage training.

o Endurance are called Circuit Trainings

o Low no. of sets High repetitions – increases muscle endurance. Resting time 20-60secs. (EG four sets of 20 reps and above)

o Medium No. of sets Medium Repetitions – increases strength to some degree but also bulks the muscles and increases strength endurance and also increases strength Endurance. (6 sets of 8-12 reps with a medium-level resistance, Rest time around 30 to 90 seconds.)

o High No. of sets Low repetitions – Increases Strength maximally. Training is performed near maximum resistance. (EG 10 set of 2. Rest time 2-4mins)

o Speed ​​Factor – To train for speed, drop the resistance in which you can do very fast repetitions. (3-6 reps, 4-8sets)

o Plyometric exercises – Used mainly for jumping events. (Will write an article on this base on request.)

o Advanced set and repetition Structures

o Pyramids – Increase weight as more sets are done. (EG Set1, 8 reps 50kg … Set2, 6reps with 60kg … Set3, 4 reps with 70kg …) This system may be applied to find the maximum possible strength by including several singles at the end.

o Bi – and Tri-sets – Involves the use of two or three exercises for muscles in a group, done consecutively with NO break. (Eg A tri-set for the shoulders could have made up of flying exercise, lateral raise and bent-over rowing.) Light resistance or lower repetitions need to be used.

o Super-sets – combining two or three exercises for the same muscle. God for making rapid gains in bulk and strength. (Eg Triceps workout – close grip presses, triceps presses, and triceps push downs.) Best performed after any high quality work has been done – completely exhaust the muscles.

o Pre-Exhaustion – In view that there are two types of fiber in the muscles, this has led to the concept of pre-exhaustion in strength training. In simple, exhaust one type of muscle fiber then train the other. It is not clear whether this concept works in such a way but it seems to be effective in promoting strength gains.

o Burn-downs (drop-sets) – Consists of one exercise in which an athlete can perform for ten reps. At which, after finishing that set, he reduces the weight and goes for another set, the process goes on. (Eg 8 reps 50ks, 8resps 45kg, 8 reps 40kg, 8 reps 35kg …) Used with specific muscle-group exercises, rather than multiple-action exercises such as the clean or snatch.

Books and references used, 'Strength Training For Athletes' by Michael A, Winch.

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