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Effects of stretching on strength training

(09-10-2013) Stretching is often performed Stretching girlbefore or during a workout to increase mobility, reduce risk of injury and to warm up the muscles. Although previous research has indicated that static stretching beforehand does not reduce injury rate or warm up the muscles, researchers were interested in the longer term effects of stretching on strength training effects which were unknown until now.

Effects of Strongman Training on Testosterone Levels

(03-22-2013) Training to increase muscle Strongman trainingmass is usually done in the gym performing well known exercises such as the bench press or squat or equivalent machines. Athletes interested in increasing strength and power such as football, wrestling, rugby and basketball players are said to greatly benefit from Strongman training. Strongman training incorporates compound movements such as pulling and pressing oddly shaped objects such as stones, sleds, keg barrels, tractor tires and trucks. An important factor in training for muscle mass is an increased testosterone production following a training session. To determine if Strongman training is an effective way to increase muscle mass, researchers from New York conducted the following study investigating the effect of Strongman training on testosterone levels.

Kettlebell training effects on strength and power

(02-15-2013) Kettlebells are popularKettlebells training aids in strength and endurance training or used to improve sports performance in competing athletes. Few studies have been performed to kettlebell training up until now. Scientists of the Long Island University in New York were interested in the transferring effects of kettlebell training on strength and power in weightlifting exercises and set up the following study. 

Shoulder Press Effectiveness: Dumbbells vs Barbell and Seated vs Standing

There are many different ways Military Press vs Dumbbell Shoulder Pressto perform exercises and there is much debate about whether using dumbbells or a barbell for the same basic movement is more effective. To make matters even more complicated, many exercises can be performed both seated or standing. To determine the effects of these variables on training effectiveness for both muscle strength and muscle activation, scientists from Norway performed a study investigating the Shoulder Press exercise. In this study they investigated the effects of performing the shoulder press exercise with dumbbells vs barbells and seated vs standing.

Rest between sets for strength and power

(11-7-2013) The effects of strength or Bench press for strength and powerresistance training depend on different factors such as training intensity, training volume, exercise type and the amount of rest between series. Although most strength training research focuses on training intensity and volume, less research has been performed on different rest protocols. Scientists from Texas bundled their forces with researchers working for the US Military and the Marine Corps to study the effects of a classic muscle hypertrophy resting protocol and an intraset resting protocol to find out the effect of rest between sets.

How deep should you squat? The effect of squat depth on muscle activity

(10-22-2013) Proper technique during an exercise is veryStrongman squat important for good training results. This especially holds true for free weight exercises such as the squat. An important part of exercise technique is the Range of Motion (ROM). To see what the effect of squat depth is on muscle activation during the squat exercise, researchers performed the following study.

Effect of training volume on strength and muscle size

(03-06-2013) Increasing muscle mass is a commonDumbbell curl goal for many men training in gyms. There are many variables to consider when designing a training program aimed at increasing muscle mass. One of these variables is the amount of sets or series per exercise. Most research on the matter recommends performing three sets per exercise over one, except for those just starting with strength training. The difference in recommendation between beginners and more advanced athletes is difficult to explain, and researchers from Japan claim it is due to differences in study design and subjects characteristics. To find out the effect of training volume on strength and muscle size the Japanese scientists performed a very innovative study.

Rest between sets for stronger muscles

(11-07-2013) The effects of strength or resistance trainingResting between sets depend on different factors such as training intensity, training volume, exercise type and the amount of rest between sets. Although most strength training research focusses on training intensity and volume, less research has been performed on different rest protocols. Scientists from Texas bundled their forces with researchers working for the US Military and the Marine Corps to study the effects the amount of rest between sets. Two protocols were studied: a classic muscle hypertrophy resting protocol and an intraset resting protocol.  

Effects of Amino Acid Supplementation and Resistance Exercise on Muscle Adaptation

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to investigate and evaluate the effects of amino acid supplementation in combination with resistance exercise on muscle hypertrophy and strength. The mechanisms of different processes in protein turnover on which amino acid supplementation has an effect are explored. Amino acid supplementation in combination with resistance exercise increases serum IGF-1 concentrations, decreases testosterone concentrations and leaves myostatin expression unchanged. These processes increase mRNA translation, which results in an increase in hypertrophy and, if resistance training intensity is high enough, in increases in strength. In the end it seems that although not all effects of amino acid supplementation are positive for protein synthesis, the net effect is an increase in protein synthesis.

Dumbbells vs Barbells: Dumbbell Shoulder Press vs Barbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Shoulder Press vs Barbell Shoulder Press

Barbells vs Dumbbells

In the first article in the Barbell vs. Dumbbell series we compared the Bench Press with the Dumbbell Press. In this second article in the Barbell vs. Dumbbell series we analyze which variant is the most effective for muscle growth for shoulder muscles: The Military Press (Barbell Shoulder Press) or the Dumbbell Shoulder Press. The Military Press is another classic barbell exercise and an essential part of a weightlifters’ training in which a barbell is pressed from just above shoulder height to above the head with outstretched arms. The Military press is performed while standing, although it is possible to perform it seated and decrease stability requirements. The Dumbbell Shoulder Press is a variant of this exercise but is usually performed while seated. It is perfectly possible to perform this exercise while standing however. Both exercises target the deltoid and triceps brachii muscles. Since both these exercises can be done both seated and standing, the effects of posture and which is more effective will be discussed as well.

Dumbbells vs Barbells: Barbell Bench Press vs Dumbbell Press

Dumbbells vs Barbells

Barbells vs DumbbellsThere is a long standing debate among strength training enthusiasts and professionals over the differences between training with dumbbells or with a barbell. Using similar exercises which version is more effective to gain muscle mass using dumbbells or a barbell?

The most effective chest exercises

There are many different exercises to train the pectoralis major, but what are the most effective chest excercises? For those who want to increase the size of their chest muscles it is important to train all different parts of the pectoralis major. This article reviews which exercises target the different parts of the chest muscle best. In addition, muscle activity of assisting (synergistic) muscles will be reviewed as well.

How to increase muscle mass effectively

One of the most important reasons for many men to train is to increase their muscle mass and look more athletic. To achieve this goal many different training methods have been tried and much research has been done to determine what works and what is less effective or even counter productive. This article will give you best tips science can give you on how to increase muscle mass effectively.

Compound versus isolation exercises

Compound versus isolation exercises: what are the benefits and drawbacks?

Resistance exercise is an excellent way to increase muscle strength and size. In addition, it is often used to improve sports performance. An ongoing debate among fitness professionals, coaches and fitness enthusiasts is about which sort of exercises are most effective, compound or isolation exercises.

Strength training for weight loss

Although more often considered a training to
Strength training for weight lossincrease the size and strength of your muscles, strength training for weight loss is an often overlooked form of training when it comes to losing weight and burning fat. There are however several important reasons why strength training is very important for weight loss.

Strength training costs a lot of energy

Strength training requires moving of heavy weights and therefore requires quite a bit of energy, which is the prime requisite of weight loss. The energy needed to activate the muscles and move the weights is generated by the anaerobic system. This metabolic system delivers energy very quickly, however it produces many byproducts that need to be cleaned up which costs energy as well. Lower intensity cardio exercise, relies more on aerobic systems which are far more efficient and even clean up these ‘waste’ products. In other words high intensity strength training requires the body to spend energy recovering, while lower intensity exercise requires constant work for it to be effective.

Strength training increases metabolism

Strength training, when done right, damages muscle fibers slightly which need repair afterwards. In addition, adaptations to the muscle are necessary after training such as increasing strength. Recovering from training and adapting to it cost energy and therefore raise metabolism above resting levels for up to a few days. Moreover, since muscle tissue needs a constant supply of energy, even when it is inactive, increasing muscle mass helps burn more energy everyday and therefore is a great help while losing weight.

Strength training stimulates fat metabolism

Not only does strength training increase metabolism, after training it will stimulate the body to generate energy by burning fat in favor of carbohydrates. As said above, the high intensity of strength training requires the anaerobic systems to generate a lot of energy using several sources among which carbohydrates. By doing this, in essence the body receives a signal that sometimes large amounts of carbohydrates are necessary for a short period. This signal will cause the muscle to save the carbohydrates for when they are necessary for high intensity work and ‘choose’ to burn fat instead.

Strength training prevents weight regain after weight loss

Although weight loss can be realized in multiple ways, adding strength training prevents the loss of muscle mass that often causes the weight loss during dieting. Since muscle tissue needs constant energy, maintaining or even increasing the amount of muscle mass you have will help keep the lost weight of and prevent the yo-yo effect.

Strength training makes the body look athletic

Most people want to lose weight to improve their appearance and looks. Strength training helps shape the regions of the body that become visible when you lose weight. Losing weight by dieting and losing muscle mass will only reveal loose skin, veins and bone underneath. Training the muscles and stimulating them to at least maintain their size, will reveal healthy muscles and yield a healthy and athletic look desired by many.

Training tips

As you can see, strength training is vital in a healthy weight loss program that yields long lasting results. To maximize the effectiveness of your training keep in mind the following:

-Train all muscle groups during each session

-Perform two to three sets per exercise of 8-12 repetitions each at maximum weight

-Don’t rest too long between series (30-60 seconds)

See also:

-Weight Loss: What Works and What Doesn’t?

-Strength Training makes women large and bulky

Fact or fable: Strength training for children stunts growth

It is often said that strength training for children stunts growth and should not be done by them. Loading the bones in this way, would damage the growth plates (epiphyseal plates). These growth plates are responsible for the elongation of our bones and therefore our growth. This process eventually slows down and stops when we reach the end of puberty or early adulthood.

However, there is no research that indicates that the growth plates are damaged by performing strength training. Studies involving strength training for children show normal growth patterns and no adverse effects whatsoever. So strength training does not stunt growth in children.

Moreover, several studies even recommend it for its’ beneficial effects on children. Not only does it increase strength, but it improves children’s health and introduces them to a healthy habit at an early stage in life which they can easier maintain throughout their lives. It improves control over their body and strengthens muscles, tendons and bones.

There should be no fear of excessive muscle growth either since both boys and girls at a young age lack sufficient amounts of anabolic hormones such as testosterone to produce noticeable changes in muscle mass.

Before children start going to the gym, there are several considerations:

  1. The child should psychologically ready to perform strength training.
  2. The child should understand proper exercise techniques for each exercise.
  3. The child should understand safety concerns of each piece of exercise equipment.
  4. Train at a moderate intensity (12-15 repetitions per set), higher intensities are harder to perform correctly and don’t yield better results.
  5. The training equipment should fit the child properly.
  6. Proper guidance is often necessary.
  7. Training should be fun.

References:

-Zatsiorsky, V.M., Kraemer, W.J. (2006). Strength Training for Young Athletes.Science and Practice of Strength Training. Second Edition. USA. Human Kinetics.

Benefits of strength training

Strength training or resistance exercise,  is a very well Man dumbbellknown form of fitness training. Strength training is characterized by performing exercises for short amounts of time at moderate to high external resistances resulting in localized fatigue and possibly muscle failure. Strength training is mostly done by lifting free weights, performing exercises on special machines or by bodyweight exercises such as pushups.

 

Resistance training has always been associated with fitness training and is essential for bodybuilding. It has many benefits for those that are willing to put in the effort, so here are the advantages of strength training.

  1. It increases maximal strength:

One of the most obvious effects of strength training is that increases muscle strength. Aside from professional strength athletes such as weightlifters, this is a very important effect for elderly as well. A certain amount of strength is necessary to perform everyday tasks. When people are hindered during activities such as walking, cycling or walking a flight of stairs, they tend to avoid these activities. If this pattern is not broken, muscle strength decreases even further, hampering these activities even more. Proper strength training prevents or slows the decrease of muscle strength effectively.

  1. It increases muscle size:

One of the most important reasons many men go the gym is to increase the size of their muscles and look more athletic. One of the adaptations that are necessary to increase strength is to increase the size of the muscle. This effect is very pronounced in men, but far more subtle in women.

  1. It helps weight loss and prevents weight regain:

Weight loss is achieved by burning more calories than are taken in. Muscle mass is active tissue and requires a constant supply of energy even in rest. When muscle mass increases, energy expenditure in rest increases along with it, making it easier to burn fat and improve body composition. And when active, larger amounts of energy can be used than with less muscle mass. Adaptation and recovery following a strength training session increase resting metabolism, helping in weight loss. Lastly, strength training prevents the loss of muscle mass during weight loss, which often happens while dieting. It therefore also prevents the well known yo-yo effect.

  1. It rejuvenates the body:

Resistance exercise stimulates the production of several hormones that help maintain and repair the body’s cells. There is even some research indicating that it helps protect our DNA as we age, effectively delaying the physical aging process.

  1. It decreases risk on metabolic disorders and diseases:

Because resistance exercise increases the amount of active tissue, metabolism is increased and improved. The body needs to optimize carbohydrate metabolism to adapt to the training. This helps in preventing metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes mellitus type 2 or can help decrease or reverse their symptoms.

  1. It decreases osteoporosis:

Bone tissue, like muscle tissue, is constantly remodeled. As we age, quality and density of our bones often decreases as a result of increasing inactivity. Resistance exercise stresses the bones, and will slow down or even reverse the development of osteoporosis. Because of the higher training intensity and greater loads placed on the bones it can be even more effective than aerobic exercise in this respect.

See also:

-Advantages of cardio training

 

Strength training makes women large and bulky

Fact or fable: Strength training makes women large and bulky

Strength training is often seen as a training form best suited for men
Strength training for women
that want to increase their muscle mass. Women often want to lose weight and certainly don’t want to look like bodybuilders. But does strength training make women large and bulky?

It is true that strength training also increases muscle mass in women, which can cause an increase in total body weight. However this increase will be rather small, because women produce far less muscle mass increasing hormones than men. Only when women have exceptional genetic potential to build muscle mass and perform large volume high intensity strength training will have large increases in muscle mass.

Women who want to lose weight would do well to regularly perform strength training, despite a possible increase in body weight. Strength training stimulates fat metabolism after training and an increase in muscle mass increases resting metabolism. An increased resting metabolism makes it easier to lose weight because even in rest the body needs more energy than before. Moreover, strength training exercises all muscle groups, which causes all muscles to remain firm and give the body a more athletic look.

Other effects of strength training that can be very important for women:

-Increase in bone density: Bones get stronger through strength training. Especially after the menopause bone density can decrease significantly. Strength training can prevent this to a large extent.

-Rejuvenation of body cells: Strength training stimulates the production of hormones in the body that aid the body’s cells with maintenance and recovery. This causes the cells to function better and age less quickly.

For women it is highly recommended to regularly perform strength training. It has many health benefits, but helps in weight loss and improving body composition as well. The fear of looking like a body builder is not necessary. Women don’t have the necessary hormone production to produce and maintain large amounts of muscle mass. Female bodybuilders do this by using anabolic steroids and other substances that stimulate muscle mass.

Weight loss: what works and what doesn’t?

Every year, losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolutionWeight loss. And just before the summer, a lot of people try and lose weight or get in shape to look their best at the beach. A lot of different methods are used to achieve this. From diets, training regimens, fat burners, sauna belts and power plates. To help people lose the pounds, we present a list with the most effective and ineffective or even unhealthy methods to lose weight and fat.

The things that work:

  1. Healthy Nutrition

Many people think that they eat healthy, only a few really do. The body needs the right amount of nutrients to function properly and sufficient calories of course. The fact remains that, in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in, but it is more important to get the right amount of vitamins, minerals and proteins. This makes sure your body functions optimally and can therefore burn more fat. In addition you tend to lose less to no muscle mass while eating a healthy amount of protein.

  1. A combination of resistance and cardiotraining.

Wheight loss occurs when more energy is used up than taken in. Training increases the amount of calories used, but we also optimise energy systems in our body, and therefore the capacity to burn fat. This last effect even helps us lose weight, while not working out. Additionally, resistance training makes sure no muscle mass is lost during weight loss, therefore preventing the well known yoyo effect.

  1. Exercising regularly and often

Aside from training, regular physical activity such as walking or riding a bicycle, is very important. This will activate the body, increase the amount of calories used and therefore help in losing weight. It will help the body in recovering from a training and reduce stress hormone levels as an added bonus.

  1. Rest and sleep

Although everyone focusses on nutrition and training while losing weight. Resting and especially enough sleep are very important for health and weight loss. When you don’t sleep enough, the body can’t recuperate enough, stress hormone levels will rise and you will lose muscle tissue sooner.

What doesn’t work or is bad for your health?

  1. Diets

Diets are at best a temporary solution to lose weight. When you stop with the diet and eat what you are used to eating, the lost weight comes back often accompanied by a few extra pounds. The worst diets make you lose muscle mass as well, increasing the chances of the yoyo effect.

  1. Long cardio workouts

Although it is not difficult to lose weight by performing a lot of cardio training and endurance improves as well, too much cardio training can increase muscle breakdown. One of the primary reasons is that stress hormones keep building up. A combination with some form of diet often increases this effect. Furthermore cardio training hinders recovery from training for as long as the training takes. It is better to perform high intensity cardio training for shorter periods. This is more effective and the time you save can be spent on recovery.

  1. Fat burners

There are some fat burning substances that are proven to be effective and safe. However the effects are generally small, and could be used in combination with healthy nutrition and training. Green tea extract is a good and safe example. The fat burners that are effective on their own, are potentially dangerous and illegal in most countries. Among these is Ephedra.

  1. Sauna belt

There are several weight loss programs which incorporate a heated belt tied around the waist during training. The heat from the belt, softens up the fat so the body can burn it more easily, or so they claim. No research can back these claims up however. The body determines the location of fat loss, not your clothing. At best the heat from the belt decreases the amount of water around that location for a short time. When someone loses weight using this method, it can be attributed to the training performed while wearing the belt, not the belt itself.

  1. Power Plates

A lot of research has been performed investigating the effects of the power plate in rehabilitation and weight loss. For weight loss, it is just as effective as the sauna belt. It does not add anything. In other words, how much weight and fat you lose depends on how you train with it. On the other hand, if you enjoy training on it, it can’t harm either.

Conclusion:

Unfortunately there are no miracle cures. When you want to lose weight you have to work for it. The most effective method is to perform both resistance and cardiovascular exercise, and combine this with healthy nutrition. In addition make sure you walk or cycle regularly an sleep sufficiently.

Osteoporosis Training

When people get older, bones often get weaker as a consequence of changes in hormonal regulation caused by aging and/or menopause. Especially in women osteoporosis, as this process is called, can pose large problems. It increases the risk of bone fractures when people fall.

Fortunately osteoporosis can be prevented to a large extent or countered by means of an effective training. Similar to muscle tissue, bone adapts to external forces. So to increase bone strength and improve bone tissue quality it is necessary to increase the amount of force exerted on the bones in daily life.

Running is reasonably effective, to improve bone density, especially for the bones in the legs, but resistance exercise has better effects. Resistance exercise at the right intensity and with the right exercises can exert force on most bones, making them all stronger, instead of just the legs. A good training intensity to start with is a resistance with which 15-20 repetitions can be performed. This is a lower intensity, but since the bones are not as strong as they should be and bone tissue adapts a little slower than muscle tissue it is better to take it slow and increase intensity not too quickly.

After 2 months of regular training, training intensity can be increased to a resistance with which 12-15 repetitions can be performed, later 10-12 repetitions with corresponding resistance are recommended for optimal loading of the bones. When performed regularly, osteoporosis can be prevented, slowed down or even reversed.