Strength Training / Weight Training Techniques
Apart from just the looking good factor, muscle strength is important for a number of reasons. Stronger muscles reduce the chances of injury due to direct impact. If one is involved in contact sports or intense physical activity or even during the course of a normal day, if you have a balanced and good muscle developement - chances are that you are less likely to suffer injuries. Different people have different perceptions about muscle strength. Some people equate muscle strength with big bulging muscles. Some relate well-toned and defined musculature to muscle strength. Though both muscle-mass and definition are related to muscle strength, there are other issues too that you must consider. Bigger muscles are not necessarily stronger, and stronger muscles are not necessarily better performing muscles. Size is a function of resistance training, rest and enhanced nutrition. With muscle mass does come strength packaged along. Strength is a function of muscle power, form, leverage and focus. We tend to concentrate on our arms while neglecting our shoulders, concentrate on our chest and wings while neglecting the lower back, do endless sit-ups to develop washboard stomachs while neglecting the legs. This frequently leads to muscle imbalances in the body and problems like lower backache, stiff shoulders and such others. The most common and accepted way to develp muscle strength is through resistance training which is often known as weight training or "pumping iron". Weight training is a category under strength training and uses weights rather than elastic or muscular resistance to increase strength.
Guidelines For Strength Training:
1. Strength Training is not an end in itself: It must be to enhance your performance in other fields or sports or to improve your functional application of strength. When you make strength training an end in itself, invariably endurance and flexibility - which are equally if not more important - will tend to take a back seat. As a result you are likely to be more injury prone if your body remains stiff most of the time.
2. Training with free weights rather than machines: Most modern gyms offer myriad machines promising the building up of some muscle or the other. Machines do have an advantage in that you are less likely to perform the exercise incorrectly. But if you do have the techniques of execution right, exercising with free weights has far more benefits than exercising with machines. Machines tend to isolate muscles, while free weights exercise the targeted muscle group along with those muscles that support it - so you have a more balanced development. Also, with free weights we have a larger range of movement, while the construction of machines limits movement. It is much cheaper to buy a set of barbells or dumbbells than getting a machine. They also occupy less space if you decide to keep weight training equipment at home.
3. Dont forget the warm up and stretching: A seven to ten minute gradual warm up before training greatly reduces the chances of injury due to muscle pulls and tears. It increases the body temperature and blood circulation and prepares the muscles for more intense activity. After the main workout is over, it is very important to stretch the body parts exercised. This greatly reduces muscle soreness and fatigue after the exercise.