There are hundreds of exercises for weight training, these include different varieties for people to choose from and many more are still being devised making body exercises a variety to choose from for those interested in them. In most cases there are simple exercises which anybody can participate in without any supervision while other exercise can only be carried out at the close supervision of a supervisor. This is usually the case for those carrying out the exercises for body building or weight cutting purposes. Some are only used occasionally while others are used all the time. Some of these weight training methods can increase injury risks or reduce the adherence to exercises especially if tried on beginners or intermediate trainees. The way one goes about trying to stress his or her muscles within his routine constitutes the method he is using. Muscle growth can effectively be stimulated by any method provided the training method uses progressive overload. This essay will look at the various weight training techniques used by trainees.
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Supersets are situations whereby one does two exercises back to back and not breaking for rests. Some people use supersets as the foundation for a workout routine, for every set, one does two exercises but they are mostly used as additions to other workout techniques. This is done in different ways; Antagonistic superset, this involves performing antagonistic muscle group in the super set. For instance leg extension or leg curl. This is done to challenge the general muscular endurance; Pre-exhaust Super Set, where one performs an exercise that is isolated immediately before a compound exercise for a similar muscle group. This includes exercises like chest fly or chest press. The aim of this exercise is to challenge the local muscular endurance; the there is the Giant Set, that involves performing three or a tri-set or even more exercise sets one after the other without resting.
Supersets are preferred because they enable one to exhaust his or her muscles better and quickly. They are also used because they can be done with exercises targeting the same muscles, opposite or antagonistic muscles or with totally different muscles. This technique is proven over the others for increasing intensity and helping people bring up lagging body parts. It allows one to gain muscles while working around injuries that might be brought about by heavy weights. Supersets also help one relieve boredom in training program that is getting stale. When compared to the other techniques, super setting, is the only legitimate way that one can use to get results in a short time. Supersets are a better method of training than the other methods in that it allows for different exercises to be done consecutively without any rests between them (Venuto, 2005; Fahey, 2010).
This is the most popular and therefore the most abused training technique as compared to the others in that trainers rely on spotters for assistance for most of the set. It employs an inexact science in that it's impossible for one to precisely know how much weight a spotter is removing from the workload. The assisted movements by a spotter or a training partner are the ones referred to as forced repetitions. They are usually associated with heavy weights or carried out almost at the end of a set after a failure. This training technique, just like any other method of advanced training may lead to overtraining if used over a long period of time. Forced reps can lead to short-term progress, but sustained progress might be arrived at with small, systematic increases of repetitions and resistance. Human bodies usually adapt to small and progressive increases of intensity and duration and this is the set back with forced reps because the intensity used becomes difficult to regulate progressively and there might prevent long term progress. Use of forced reps have been condemned by many , take the case of Dr.
Franco Columbo who wrote an article in the 1980's condemning the use of forced reps. He was the former Mr. Olympia, then considered the word's strongest bodybuilder. Theory had it that overuse of forced repetitions especially with heavy weights could teach the muscles to fail prematurely. The involvement of neurological adaptation in strength training together with morphological adaptation makes repeated use of forced reps with heavy weights to activate the Golgi tendon organ prematurely and this inhibits muscular contraction that can protect the muscle from perceived injury. This system is very taxing to the central nervous system. Apparently, abstaining from forced reps can increase ones potential to complete the very difficult repetition that comes last. If one wants to use forced reps, it is advised that it should be used once in a month before changing exercises (Fahey, 2010; Pearl and Golueke, 2001).
In pyramid routines sets are used at different levels in a training exercise that involves the same weight, this forms a pyramid. For instance an individual can start with a set that involves a lighter weight say at 12 reps, he can follow this with a medium weight of 8 reps and finally end up with a heavy weight at the pyramid's top for 4 reps. He then works back down the other side of the pyramid starting with the heavy weight and finish with the lighter one. These pyramid systems are very effective in muscle building and therefore the most widely used workout routines for people who want to build their muscles. This does not mean that full pyramid workout routines are attractive to someone wanting to gain weight, they require a lot of time which limits the number of training exercises that an individual is required to complete in a routine. Therefore in practice most body builders use a forward or reverse pyramid routine where one can decide to start with a lighter weight and end up with a heavy one or vice versa. By allowing a trainee to exercise at different levels, these pyramid routines helps to stress the muscles well. The advantage of this training system is that it gives one a detailed system to push him or her to work the muscles to true fatigue. The deeper one digs into the muscles the better results one realizes. The system on the other hand calls for lots of energy, which means that ones intensity will also suffer in the process because training volume and intensity are inversely related. The fact that pyramid training does not only involve more energy expenditure during workouts but also more energy after the workout which depends on ones recuperative ability, means that it can lead to overtraining as bodies may not be able to recover faster from the workload. This is not a better method as compared to the others especially the use of supersets in that only one exercise is done in which the reps are either increased for each set or decreased in each set (Pyramid, 2010; Fahey, 2010).
The methods that can specifically be used to manipulate the training variables in order to provide a variation in volume and intensity are the ones that are generally referred to as Periodization. This method is commonly used by body builders and athletes. It forces one to work on both the fast and slow twitch fibers. But it must also be kept in mind that not all programs that include variation components will provide same results. Traditionally Periodization involved progression from work with high volume and low-intensity towards work with a decreasing volume and an increasing intensity at different cycles. Time has seen other Periodization programs being developed that have advantages over the non-periodized approaches. Volume reduction and intensity increase in steps in a training cycle is referred to as stepwise Periodization. In overreaching Periodization model there is a short term increase in volume or intensity that is then followed by returning to the normal training.
Undulating Periodization on the other hand involves the regular increase and decrease of volume and intensity. The disadvantage of this approach is that the muscle mass that is build in training is not usually adequately maintained by the heavier weight and the lower training volume. If someone is moving on to heavier weights but the training volume is reducing, it won't be easy for him to maintain the mass gained in the previous phase. Another thing is that, increase muscle bulk does not make one stronger as some people tend to think. But on the other hand it is a very progressive technique also gives maximum results in a shorter period of time just like the use of supersets. It is also exciting and fun in that whoever uses does not get bored of the workouts and will also prevent the occurrence of plateaus (Pearl and Golueke, 2001; Fahey, 2010).
Any exercise or program aimed at strength training has to be specific to type of training needed. This therefore is related to the specific demands of the aim or event of the trainee. Individuals should therefore design their routines to fit into their particular demands.
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