02.09.2015 16:16
Day 87: Cardinal principles of physical training

Yesterday we talked about basic principles of building your own training programme, so today it's obvious to talk about basic principles of strength training which you can use in your programme designs. We have chosen 17 most interesting ideas.

(1) Progressive overload

We have already told you how your body responds to training. Training provides stress and exterior stimulus and the body does everything it can to adapt to the new stress. That is why you cannot do the same thing again and again. Your body just adapts to such stress and its response to it gradually decreases practically to zero.

How to avoid such a setback? Increase training intensity! This can be achieved with different means: shorter rest, higher number of reps, higher number of exercises, harder versions of exercises and so on.

(2) System of sets

To maximeze the work of a particular muscle or muscle group you need to perform a number of sets and a number of different exercises. We have already told you in the beginning of the ADVANCED block how to use different exercises to shift accents. You need to stress every muscle group with different exercises in one session.

(3) Muscle shock

Your body adapts to repetitive stress therefore to increase efficiency it is worth to add exercises you have never done. We are sure there are plenty of them. New exercises not only shake your muscles from monotony of training but help found out your weak spots.

(4) Isolation

Typical bodyweight exercise involves a lot of muscle groups working at the same time, and this is usually counted as a benefit of such kind of training. Bu this does not mean that there are no exercises that can isolate muscles. Tricep extensions is just an example.

(5) Pyramid

This principle calls for gradual workload increase in every set. It might mean both increasing the number of reps and increasing complexity (simple push-ups, plyometric push-ups, clapping push-ups etc).

There is a drawback. First sets may tire some muscle groups and prevent you other groups from higher stimulating workload.

The well-known “ladder” is a half-pyramid either increasing or decreasing.

(6) Priority

Put exercises for the weakest body part first, while you are fresh, and do everything else later.

(7) Recursive sets

Add sets for hard-gaining muscles like calves, abs and forearms between sets for other groups. This allows to accumulate more workload for them.

(8) Static tension

It means that you strain your muscles statically right after a dynamic set. For example you strain your biceps for several seconds as you get off the bar after chin-ups.

(9) Supersets

You perform two exercises for antagonist muscles without rest or with little rest. The intensity of training increases. An example of a superset: pull-ups and parallel bar dips.

(10) Combined set

Use of two or more exercises for the same muscle group done with little or no rest.

(11) Pre-exhaustion

Do an isolated exercise for a muscle group before doing a compound exercise for the same muscle group. Depending on goals it can be done with conbined sets or in a regular fashion.

(12) Peak contraction

Peak contraction means maximum tension in a muscle at a state of maximum contraction.

(13) Limited range of motion

Add several reps with shorter range after full range reps. For example, you do parallel bar dips and after you cannot do full-range reps you add a few incomplete reps. It provides more workload for muscles.

(14) Partial repetitions

You do partial repetitions in one the parts of the motion range. It helps do more reps and overcome psycological limits.

(15) Forced reps

Get a help from your training partner after you fail to do more reps. This principle is very complicated and should not be overused. When wrongly used it can lead to dterioration of progress.

(16) Negative reps

Nature made our muscles to contract and relaxation phase is only a complimentary action to contraction. Adding sets of negative reps to training calls for workload that the body is not used to.

(17) Rest-pause

This principle works best with hard and complex exercises when you cannot do very few repetitions (<5). You do a set then rest for 30 seconds and do another set etc. The idea is to rest only so much to be able to do another set.

(18) Interval training

Traditionally you do a number of repetions in a set. With interval training you continue to do an exercise for a period of time, for example 30 seconds and do as much reps as you can.

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23.10.2015 16:24

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