190820 The Make-up of a Resistance Training Program
Starting a training program shouldn’t be more complicated than just throwing on a pair of shoes or heading off to the gym for a few sets of squats or bench presses. As long as your body is receiving a positive stimulus, it will attempt to overcome the stress placed on it. If you are sedentary and have never exercised before then this may work, for a while at least. After a short time, though the body adapts to the stimulus and stops making positive health gains as it accommodates to the new level of activity.
Well-designed exercise programs contain these nine parts-does yours?
1. Before beginning any new exercise program, discuss your plans with your health care provider. After the consult with your doctor, get a fitness evaluation by a certified strength and conditioning specialist. If the gym you are joining doesn’t have these nationally certified trainers then perhaps the fees they charge to join aren’t worth the risk of being there in the first place.
2. The choice of exercises will determine the outcome. If all you do is barbell curls then all that will adapt will be the biceps. What about your heart, your flexibility and your strength? Those are important wouldn’t you agree?
3. How often you engage in physical activity will govern your fitness level. If you are an elite athlete then you will be able to exercise more each week and in some cases more times each day. As a recommendation start out slow as you build up your tolerance to exercise.
4. There are many trainers who religiously follow the principle of exercising the largest muscle groups first and then the smaller ones next until the session is completed. However if the smaller ones are holding your back then they need to be first on the list. At the beginning of the session, your energy levels are high, so that is the time to do your priority muscles. Which ones you choose is up to you. Just make certain you work both sides of the joint.
5. The goals determine the weight on the bar. If massive strength is the desired outcome then heavy weights with low repetitions will be the order of the day. If being able to run miles at a time without stopping is what you want then it will be a vastly different schedule.
6. The total volume of sets and repetitions varies as much as the goals of the individuals who work out. Many sets of many repetitions will cause muscle hypertrophy or an enlargement of the muscles. Heavy weight and low repetitions go hand in hand.
7. Rest periods are an essential part of designing a program, for without the correct rest periods between each set the proper energy system will not be called upon to react.
8. Staleness sets in with the same sequence performed day after day. The inevitable result is the dreaded plateau where progress stops.
9. Progressive load management, in an undulating periodization fashion, leads the way in modern program design.
There you have a basic guideline for starting out with your strength program.