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Starting Strong, Issue #022 -, This Makes Good Strength Training...
November 01, 2011
November is here, and with it lots of fun! I've been making my workouts shorter and more intense, which tends to leave me horrendously sore after just 45 minutes. But it's that good kind of sore.
I need your help!
I need some volunteers to read through a rough draft of The Complete Guide to How to Get Abs and start the program in it, giving me feedback about things they liked and how it could be improved. Only 3 applicants will be chosen, with preference given to the first to apply. So if you're interested in getting that e-book early and for free, just reply to this e-mail with your name and say, "I want to help review The Complete Guide to How to Get Abs!"
In the meantime, check out the article below on what makes good strength training!
"If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong."~ Thomas Jefferson
Table of Contents
2) SELECT ARTICLE- What Makes Good Strength Training?
I am a 66 year old woman whose muscles seem to be getting weak, especially my legs. My lower back gets very painful if I lift much weight. In the past...
2) What Makes Good Strength Training?
Seeing my own ups (and occasional downs) in the gym, and other people's, I've recently given a lot of thought to what makes really good strength training.
So, here's what good strength training is - and some mistakes to avoid:
If you want endurance with your strength, do a longer workout with fewer rests. Kettlebells are great for this, with a lot of different exercises and repetition.
You won't be building pure strength, but you'll be building effective strength for what you want. If you're doing jujutsu grappling and want to have more strength when you're well into the bout, that's the kind of training I'd recommend.
And if you want pure strength, do just a few sets of 5 repetitions. Use really heavy weight, and do basic barbell lifts.
If you spend 10 minutes thinking about why you're working out before you workout, you'll get much more out of it. Which'll make you enjoy the time you're spending in the gym.
You're just wasting time.
Around 5 repetitions is good for strength, 8 to 12 is good for people just starting out and building muscle mass, but beyond 15 you're just doing endurance exercise. Which isn't strength training.
Now, if you do 100 kettlebell swings, and progressively increase the weight of the kettlebell, you're still doing endurance training. You'll get stronger (Yow-za! A few months doing that would create legs of iron!) when you increase the weight, but you're mostly going for endurance.
But if you're doing 20 repetitions of a bench press, you're just wasting your time. And you'll probably get discouraged when you don't get much stronger.
Work hard, or just stay home and watch some TV.
If you lift to gain muscle, record your workouts and weigh yourself daily. And, ideally, keep a journal of what you eat.
The more info you record, the more data you have to analyze when you try to move your workout up to the next level. But if you don't know how much you were lifting a month ago, exactly, or what you weighed… then you have no way to tell whether you're making progress. And if you don't make progress, well, you have no idea what you're doing wrong.
Keeping meticulous records is extremely helpful, and actually doesn't take that long. I weigh myself every morning, and put my workouts into an Excel spreadsheet to chart my progress. This probably takes me about 10 or 15 minutes on days I workout, and about 2 minutes on rest days when I just weigh myself.
So - record your workouts, weight, and diet to get where you're going fast.
If you can hold a conversation while lifting weights, you're not working hard enough. I don't care what your excuse is - that's the truth.
I might chat with the people at the front desk before I lift, or with the other guys in the locker room, but not WHILE I'm working out. That's my serious workout time.
And I laugh when I see people chatting while doing their lunges. "Yea, hey Bob! Listen, I just got this new iPhone App that lets you...," And it’s not laughing with them, but at them. Then they usually give me odd looks, and go back chatting about that weird guy who's just 'too serious.'
Make your workout time special. Or at least, don't interrupt it (or let others interrupt it) with idle banter.
Yes. Rest more. I'm totally serious about this one.
If you're working hard at the gym, eating right, recording your workouts, but just can't seem to lift or put more muscle-weight on the scale, then rest. Take time off to let your body recover periodically.
I'm one of the worst people I know at this. But if you're doing everything else right, taking time off won't hurt you. Try it.
Starting Strong brings you the latest additions to Complete-Strength-Training.Com & select articles about how to get STRONG.
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Train hard, do your best, & see you next month!
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