Are you considering incorporating a weights routine into your fitness schedule, or just looking to crank up your already existing strength routine? I’m here to tell you that today is the day to lift heavy weights! (Please note, I am currently studying for a fitness instructor qualification and all information is based on that training. Personal trainers may adapt methods to suit your specific goals as there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that works).
There are SO many reasons that you should be improving your muscular strength:
- Increased metabolism
- Increased bone density
- Change in muscle tone, shape and size
- Improved posture
How much to lift
When strength training you should be aiming to lift 80% of your maximum output. So if person A can bicep curl one repetition (only) of 10 kilo then they would lift 8 kilos for 8-12 reps to failure. Endurance training on the other hand would consist of lifting 40-60% of their maximum ability. For the same person this would be 4-6 kilo for 20-25 reps. Endurance training will give some overall health benefits and maintain muscle mass but you will not see a drastic visual improvement unless you use the strength training method.
Strength training requires your body to recruit more muscle fibres for each lift, meaning rarely used muscles are put to work along with the commonly use ones. Over time this forces the body to lay down proteins to increase muscle size and strength. However, this increase is not permanent and must be maintained with further training.
The importance of failure
Try to focus on the resistance – i.e. the amount of weight – rather than the exact number of repetitions. If you do one set of 12 reps with ease then bump up the weight until you see yourself fail before the 8th rep. See failure as a success!
Will you be lifting heavy weights at your next gym visit?Follow @fifi_reid