This article is about the basic principles to train muscular strength. For training children articles training using free weights or weight machines, see weight training.
This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. Strength training is typically associated with the production of lactate, which is a limiting factor of exercise performance. Regular endurance exercise leads to adaptations in skeletal muscle which can prevent lactate levels from rising during strength training. This section needs additional citations for verification. The benefits of weight training include greater muscular strength, improved muscle tone and appearance, increased endurance and enhanced bone density.
Many people take up weight training to improve their physical attractiveness. There is evidence that a body type consisting of broad shoulders and a narrow waist, attainable through strength training, is the most physically attractive male attribute according to women participating in the research. Workouts elevate metabolism for up to 14 hours following 45-minutes of vigorous exercise. Strength training also provides functional benefits.
Stronger muscles improve posture, provide better support for joints, and reduce the risk of injury from everyday activities. Though strength training can stimulate the cardiovascular system, many exercise physiologists, based on their observation of maximal oxygen uptake, argue that aerobics training is a better cardiovascular stimulus. Strength training may be important to metabolic and cardiovascular health. Recent evidence suggests that resistance training may reduce metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk.
For many people in rehabilitation or with an acquired disability, such as following stroke or orthopaedic surgery, strength training for weak muscles is a key factor to optimise recovery. Stronger muscles improve performance in a variety of sports. Sport-specific training routines are used by many competitors. These often specify that the speed of muscle contraction during weight training should be the same as that of the particular sport. A study was carried out to see what recovery methods best suit sports recovery, in particular basketball players. Stretching and carbohydrates, compression, and cold water immersion. The experiment was carried out over a 3 day basketball tournament to see which method worked best.
The best methods proved to be cold water immersion and compression. Developing research has demonstrated that many of the benefits of exercise are mediated through the role of skeletal muscle as an endocrine organ. That is, contracting muscles release multiple substances known as myokines which promote the growth of new tissue, tissue repair, and various anti-inflammatory functions, which in turn reduce the risk of developing various inflammatory diseases. Two to three minutes of rest is recommended between exercise sets to allow for proper recovery. There are cases when cheating is beneficial, as is the case where weaker groups become the weak link in the chain and the target muscles are never fully exercised as a result.
The benefits of strength training include increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength, bone density, flexibility, tone, metabolic rate and postural support. For example, if one could perform ten reps at 75 lbs, then their RM for that weight would be 10RM. For developing endurance, gradual increases in volume and gradual decreases in intensity is the most effective program. Sets of thirteen to twenty repetitions develop anaerobic endurance, with some increases to muscle size and limited impact on strength. It has been shown that for beginners, multiple-set training offers minimal benefits over single-set training with respect to either strength gain or muscle mass increase, but for the experienced athlete multiple-set systems are required for optimal progress.