The basics of strength training
The aim of strength training itself is to increase one's own strength or to maintain an achieved level of strength.
On the one hand, the athlete can succeed in this by increasing the muscle cross-section. In this case, muscle building takes place and the athlete is then able to perform better. This is the hypertrophy of a muscle, in which the individual muscle fibers increase in thickness. Whether hyperplasia, i.e. an increase in muscle fibres, can also occur is considered unlikely. Alternatively, an increase in performance can also be achieved by increasing intermuscular and intramuscular coordination. This simply means that the muscle fibres and muscle groups can be better controlled by the central nervous system through training and work together more efficiently. The athlete is therefore able to achieve an increase in performance without having to gain weight, as muscles have a high density and weigh a corresponding amount. A weight gain that often limits performance is thus avoided.
Who is strength training suitable for?
Strength training is suitable for almost all age groups and objectives. Thus the ambitious 20-year-old competitive athlete as well as the 70-year-old pensioner benefit from a specifically coordinated strength training. A prerequisite, however, is that previous risk factors have been excluded and that the training program is tailored to the athlete. In particular, the cardiovascular system should be checked by a doctor before starting sports. The same applies to the active and passive musculoskeletal system. Children and young people represent a special group. For children, such training should be completely dispensed with. Young people should train primarily with their own body weight and not in the range of maximum strength. The reason for this is that growth has not yet been completed.
Training strength not only increases strength, it also has other health benefits.
On the one hand, muscular imbalances are prevented and postural deformities are avoided.
In addition, an increase in muscle size increases basal metabolic rate, which in turn helps to regulate weight. After all, the athlete burns more calories at rest, which makes weight gain less likely. This effect becomes even more intense as soon as strength training and cardio are combined.
Typical exercises for different muscle groups With the
appropriate equipment almost all muscles of the body can be trained. Athletes, however, should not neglect the large main muscles, which can be trained efficiently with classical exercises.
As an example the chest training can serve here. Classic exercises for the large pectoral muscle (Pectoralis Major) are bench press, butterfly and push-ups. This already makes it clear how different equipment can be used. In the case of bench press the athlete needs free weights and a long bench, in the case of butterfly a power machine and in the case of push-ups nothing. But even push-ups can increase in intensity if, for example, a weight vest increases resistance.
The methods of strength trainingIn the
field of methods,
classical strength endurance training and maximum strength training play the most important role in fitness.
In strength endurance training, the athlete masters an exercise in 3 to 5 sets of 20 to 30 repetitions each, whereby only about 20 to 40% of the maximum strength is chosen as resistance.
As expected, the maximum strength training is more intensive and focuses on 2 to 3 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions. However, significantly higher resistances of 70 to 90% of the maximum force are mastered here.