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Many female clients I have worked with are fearful that by weight lifting they will get huge muscles.  Women unlike men, don’t produce enough of the hormone testosterone which is primarily responsible for muscle size and physical strength.  Weight-bearing activities are very important for both men and women in the prevention of osteoporosis, lower-back pain, joint and muscle injuries during physical activity, and age-related decreases in muscular strength.  Not only can a proper weight training routine provide you with preventative health benefits, it’s also key to improved physical appearance, self-esteem and increased resting metabolism.  Basically, the more muscle a person has the more efficient their body metabolizes energy and in turn they burn more calories while at rest than a person with less muscle mass.

There are two types of weight training: training for strength or training for endurance.  Strength training is achieved by lifting heavier amounts of weight with less repetitions.  In order to gain strength a person should aim to lift a given weight no more than 10-12 times before they reach exhaustion.  An example would be a person who can perform 10 bicep curls (10 repetitions) with a 20lb weight; by the time they reach the 9th or 10th curl they can barely lift the weight.  This form of training is the best way to increase muscular strength, resting metabolism and build larger muscle mass.

Muscular endurance on the other hand is the exact opposite- lifting less weight more times.  An example would be when a person performs a bicep curl using a 10lb weight and curls it 12-15 times.  The weight is much lighter and therefore the person is able to produce the contraction at the bicep a greater number of times.  This type of training is used to help a person achieve greater muscle tone, resting metabolism and maintain their current level of strength.

Both types of weight training can be used by either men or women.  By determining what your goals are you will be able to decide which form of weight training is best for you.  If you are new to weight training be sure to consult a “Certified Personal Trainer” to help familiarize you with the machines and exercises, establish an individual program, and help you make the best use of your time.

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