A consistent workout regimen and a solid nutrition program are essential for bodybuilding and weight lifting success, but many beginning athletes fail to understand the basic rules of strength training and end up sabotaging their efforts. Muscle training is a science, and based on some simple physiological principles; training at the wrong times, eating the wrong foods before or after the workout, or simply not getting enough rest can result in poor muscle gains and poor performance. Make sure you understand the following basic rules of strength training so you can set yourself up for bodybuilding success – regardless of your fitness level:
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Exercise Sequence –
The first thing you need to know is that you cannot just do whatever exercise you want in a training session. A training session should follow a proper sequence or order of exercise. Always warm up before your exercise routine focusing on your core muscle groups. Warming up increases blood circulation and prepares your body for your exercise routine. Start with bench presses, deadlifts and squats as suggested by James Stoppani, author of the book “Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength”. Then do exercises that focus on major muscle groups before focusing on smaller muscle groups. Just remember to work your way from your large to small muscle groups.
Monitoring resistance –
How far you push yourself during each session will be dependent on your overall fitness level, your nutrition program, and what you are trying to achieve. The bulk of your training program will need to be focused on a ‘load time’ of 85 and 95 percent of your maximal strength. However, you won’t know your maximum strength until you test yourself; take the time to figure out what your maximum strength is, and then do calculations to set benchmarks and targets during each session. This is the only way you can monitor your resistance consistently and effectively; as you start to reach the point of failure more regularly, slowly increase your resistance so you are pushing yourself hard enough to optimize your routine.
Training volume –
The amount of sets you complete in each session will help you gauge and monitor your fitness level, and also help you determine if you’re pushing yourself hard enough. If you’re training for strength, you’ll usually want to keep the amount of repetitions fairly low and increase resistance instead. If you’re training for endurance, you’ll want to lower resistance and increase repetitions. Make sure you understand the difference between these two types of exercises so you really are pushing yourself to your fullest potential and getting the results you want from your workout.
Eating right –
Your eating habits should be changed to match your training goals. You can increase the effectiveness of your training by following proper diet and nutrition principles. Eating the right kind and amount of food is not enough. We all can do better by eating on the right time. Eating a combination of proteins and carbohydrates before training will help us maintain our energy level throughout a session. In addition, your muscles will grow and recuperate faster and better by eating lean protein after a solid training session. Sources of lean protein include chicken and turkey breasts, black beans, lentils, top round beef, scallop, shrimp and tuna. See a sports nutritionist for help in devising the proper diet to complement your training goals. Otherwise, you can construct your own by reading on the subject of diet and nutrition for athletes.