Determining the intensity of a workout can help make it more effective and easier to scale. For example, asking someone to run for five minutes is physically different than asking them to run hard for five minutes. The same concept applies to strength training.
But while there are some straightforward ways to measure intensity of cardiovascular or aerobic training, strength training is a bit more challenging. Yet knowing how hard you’re lifting can help you structure your workout programs more effectively. For example, you can vary workout intensity to prevent overtraining while still getting sufficient volume and working hard enough to get results.
Strength training is essential to developing and maintaining the ability to perform both daily functional activities (like lifting a bag of groceries or a child) and recreational activities you enjoy. One of the best ways to build strength is by lifting some form of weight, and the barbell has become the standardized weight implement used in competitions: the Olympics and powerlifting.
If you are considering adding a barbell to your home fitness collection, there are two main options: the standard bar and the Olympic bar. Overall, the main distinction between the two comes down to size: the standard bar is smaller in various ways.
Results of a new study (Neither load nor systemic hormones determine resistance training-mediated hypertrophy or strength gains in resistance-trained young men) were released recently leading to plenty of media coverage with headlines like these:
Lifting Lighter Weights Can Be Just as Effective as Heavy Ones
Lifting Lighter Weights Is Just As Effective As Heavy Weights
Lighter weights just as effective as heavier weights to gain muscle, build strength
- New Study Finds Lifting Lighter Weights as Beneficial
New McMaster study says you can lift small and get big
It's nice to have strength training in the news, and most of the coverage hits the highlights, but it also tends to be rather misleading. Let's take a closer look.
It's been a long time since The Form Cop turned up in The Planet. So long, in fact, that he doesn't show up on this site! His return is long overdue, along with some background information on why he remains so important. (At least, he thinks so.)
A reminder from an early appearance of The Form Cop as to why form matters:
A while back, there was a post here in which Sensei Hutch described his preferred weight workouts with higher reps. Today's post describes my preferred lifting workouts with lower reps (and heavier weights).
Neither approach is "right." Different people with different objectives need different approaches. And there are many more variables to a program than simply changing the number of reps. These are only generalizations based on personal preferences.
(I know many people are not interested in lifting heavy weights. But keep in mind that "heavy" is relative. For example, powerlifters would not consider the weights I use "heavy." But I don't hold that against them.)
People sit too much. They sit at work, in their cars, at home watching TV, while waiting, while flying (like I'm doing now), and plenty of other times. It's become the default position in the lives of modern humans. This is bad for lots of reasons, some of which I've written about before.
But one of the most tragic things is seeing people sitting down while trying to get stronger. Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? And yet if you go to a gym you'll likely find more people on their butts (or their backs) than on their feet.