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. Most men can develop substantial muscles; most women lack the testosterone to do it, but they can develop a firm, "toned" (see below) physique, and they can increase their strength by the same proportion as that achieved by men (but usually from a significantly lower starting point). An individual's genetic make-up dictates the response to weight training stimuli to some extent.
 
The body's basal metabolic rate increases with increases in muscle mass[citation needed], which promotes long-term fat loss and helps dieters avoid yo-yo dieting. Moreover, intense workouts elevate metabolism for several hours following the workout, which also promotes fat loss.
 
Weight training also provides functional benefits. Stronger muscles improve posture, provide better support for joints, and reduce the risk of injury from everyday activities. Older people who take up weight training can prevent some of the loss of muscle tissue that normally accompanies aging—and even regain some functional strength—and by doing so become less frail.[citation needed] They may be able to avoid some types of physical disability. Weight-bearing exercise also helps to prevent osteoporosis. The benefits of weight training for older people have been confirmed by studies of people who began engaging in it even in their 80s and 90s.
 
Strength training helps to maintain good flexibility. The ability of the body to resist the stresses that can result from an injury can be increased by obtaining a greater amount of strength. That is true in the athletic world and it has its advantages in performing everyday activities, such as lifting or carrying objects. Strength contributes to the overall efficiency of the human body. Starting a strength training program means you have started a new lifestyle because strength is reversible. It will decline if you do not continue to obtain a strength stimulus throughout your entire life.
 
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. For people with such a health condition, their strength training is likely to need to be designed by an appropriate health professional, such as a physiotherapist.
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.
 
Though weight 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. Central catheter monitoring during resistance training reveals increased cardiac output, suggesting that strength training shows potential for cardiovascular exercise. However, a 2007 meta-analysis found that, though aerobic training is an effective therapy for heart failure patients, combined aerobic and strength training is ineffective.
 
One side-effect of any intense exercise is increased levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which can help to improve mood and counter feelings of depression.
 

 

There are many complicated definitions for periodization, but the term simply means the division of the overall training program into periods which accomplish different goals.

Periodization is the modulating of volume, intensity, and frequency over time, to both stimulate gains and allow recovery.

In some programs for example; volume is decreased during a training cycle while intensity is increased. In this template, a lifter would begin a training cycle with a higher rep range than he will finish with.

For this example, the lifter has a 1 rep max of 225 lb:

Week Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Volume Lbs. Peak Intensity(Last Set) % of 1 Rep Max(Last Set)
1 95 lb x 8reps 100 lb x 8reps 110 lb x 8reps 115 lb x 8reps 120 lb x 8reps 4,320 73% 52.5%
2 105 lb x 8reps 110 lb x 7reps 115 lb x 7reps 125 lb x 7reps 130 lb x 7reps 4,200 79% 57.75%
3 110 lb x 7reps 120 lb x 7reps 125 lb x 6reps 135 lb x 6reps 140 lb x 6reps 4,010 84% 63%
4 125 lb x 6reps 130 lb x 6reps 140 lb x 6reps 145 lb x 5reps 155 lb x 5reps 3,870 88% 68.25%
5 130 lb x 5reps 140 lb x 5reps 150 lb x 5reps 155 lb x 5reps 165 lb x 4reps 3,535 94% 73.5%
6 140 lb x 4reps 150 lb x 4reps 160 lb x 4reps 165 lb x 4reps 175 lb x 4reps 3,160 99% 79%

This is an example of periodization where the number of repetitions decreases while the weight increases.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strength_training#Split_training

Split training involves working no more than three muscle groups or body parts per day, instead spreading the training of specific body parts throughout a training cycle of several days. It is commonly used by more advanced practitioners due to the logistics involved in training all muscle groups maximally. Training all the muscles in the body individually through their full range of motion in a single day is generally not considered possible due to caloric and time constraints. Split training involves fully exhausting individual muscle groups during a workout, then allowing several days for the muscle to fully recover. Muscles are worked roughly twice per week and allowed roughly 72 hours to recover. Recovery of certain muscle groups is usually achieved on days while training other groups. I.e. a 7 day week can consist of a practitioner training trapezius, side shoulders and upper shoulders to exhaustion on one day, the following day the arms to exhaustion, the day after that the rear, front shoulders and back, the day after that the chest. In this way all mentioned muscle groups are allowed the necessary recovery.

 

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strength_training#Split_training

 

Intensity, volume, and frequency

Three important variables of strength training are intensity, volume and frequency. Intensity refers to the amount of work required to achieve the activity, and is proportional to the mass of the weights being lifted. Volume refers to the number of muscles worked, exercises, sets and reps during a single session. Frequency refers to how many training sessions are performed per week.

These variables are important because they are all mutually conflicting, as the muscle only has so much strength and endurance, and takes time to recover due to microtrauma. Increasing one by any significant amount necessitates the decrease of the other two, e.g. increasing weight means a reduction of reps, and will require more recovery time and therefore fewer workouts per week. Trying to push too much intensity, volume and frequency will result in overtraining, and eventually lead to injury and other health issues such as chronic soreness and general lethargy, illness or even acute trauma such as avulsion fractures. A high-medium-low formula can be used to avoid overtraining, with either intensity, volume, or frequency being high, one of the others being medium, and the other being low. One example of this training strategy can be found in the following chart:

Type High Med Low
Intensity (% of 1RM) 80-100% 50-70% 10-40%
Volume (per muscle) 1 exercise 2 exercises 3+ exercises
Sets 1 set 2-3 sets 4+ sets
Reps 1-6 reps 8-15 reps 20+ reps
Session Frequency 1 p/w 2-3 p/w 4+ p/w

A common training strategy is to set the volume and frequency the same each week (e.g. training 3 times per week, with 2 sets of 12 reps each workout), and steadily increase the intensity (weight) on a weekly basis. However, to maximize progress to specific goals, individual programs may require different manipulations, such as decreasing the weight, and increase volume or frequency.

Making program alterations on a daily basis (daily undulating periodization) seems to be more efficient in eliciting strength gains than doing so every 4 weeks (linear periodization), but for beginners there are no differences between different periodization models.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strength_training#Split_training

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. It was developed by Thomas Delorme, M.D. while he rehabilitated soldiers after World War II. The technique is recognized as a fundamental principle for success in various forms of strength training programmes including fitness training, weight lifting, high intensity training and physical therapy programmes.

 

Scientific principles
 
A common goal for any strength training program is to increase or at least maintain the user's physical strength or muscle mass. In order to achieve new results, as opposed to maintaining the current strength capacity, the muscles (see skeletal muscles) need to be overloaded, which stimulates the natural adaptive processes of the human body, which develops to cope with the new demands placed on it.
Progressive overload not only stimulates muscle hypertrophy, it also stimulates the development of stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. Progressive overload also incrementally increases blood flow to the region of the body . Furthermore, progressive overload stimulates the development of more responsive nerve connection between the brain and the muscles involved.
Conversely, decreased use of the muscle results in incremental loss of mass and strength, known as muscular atrophy (see atrophy and muscle atrophy). Sedentary people often lose a pound or more of muscle mass annually. The loss of 10 pounds of muscle every decade is one troubling consequence for people choosing a sedentary lifestyle. The adaptive processes of the human body will only respond if continually called upon to exert a greater magnitude of force to meet higher physiological demands.
 

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  1. Terminology

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Basics

  • Benefits
      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...
    Read More...
  • Periodization
      There are many complicated definitions for periodization, but the term simply means the division of the overall training program into periods which accomplish different goals. Periodization...
    Read More...
  • Intensity, Volume & Frequency
      Intensity, volume, and frequency Three important variables of strength training are intensity, volume and frequency. Intensity refers to the amount of  Read More...
  • Split Training
    Split training involves working no more than three muscle groups or body parts per day, instead spreading the training of specific body parts throughout a training cycle of several days. It is commonly...
    Read More...
  • Progressive Overload
    Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. It was developed by Thomas Delorme, M.D. while he rehabilitated soldiers after World War II. The...
    Read More...
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