Hello all – today’s Muscle and Strength class inspired me to write a little about what we did today!
Instead of our usual list of super-sets (doing one exercise immediately followed by another for several sets), we completed an entire list of exercises before repeating any of them. We ended up repeating the list four full rounds. The first and third rounds, as you can see in the picture of the workout board, we used a HEAVY weight that was challenging to complete 8-10 reps with. The second and fourth rounds, we used a lighter weight that was challenging to complete for 15 reps.
Why did we do this? Well, we used two different types of weight training techniques. The first and third round where we completed 8-10 reps with a heavier weight, we were working on muscular growth and strength. This is known as muscular hypertrophy, which is “the enlargement of skeletal muscle fibers in response to being recruited to develop increased levels of tension to overcome an external load (such as a dumbbell)” (NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training.)
Basically, we worked on building our muscles’ size to get that wonderful “toned” look everyone wants while working on increasing our strength! In contrast, rounds two and four we focused on muscular endurance. We were teaching our muscles to be able to do work for a longer period of time. This type of training helps to increase core and joint stabilization in order to prevent injury and maintain proper alignment through everyday activities.
After we finished the first round (very tough!) we were all looking forward to the second round, assuming it would be a little easier since we were going to be using lighter weights. For the first few repetitions, it DID feel easier, comparing it to the previous set. However, as we got towards 12-15 reps, we realized that this type of training was equally as challenging but in a totally different way. Our muscles were fatigued significantly by rep 15! Both types of training we did today were difficult and can be used for different reasons. Depending on a person’s goals and/or fitness levels, just one of these types can be the focus of his or her workouts to allow them to get specific results. Often, people will stay in one type for several weeks and then switch to another to confuse the muscles, working them differently in order to prevent over training, injury, or the dreaded plateau.
On a different note, there is another pattern in the workout board above. If you notice, the order of the exercises are listed so that we move from upper body to lower body every other exercise (except for the very last one, lawn mowers, which is sort of both!) This is called Peripheral Heart Action Training (PHAT, great acronym, I know!) which was popularized by Bob Gajda, a former Mr. Universe!
Using this type of training, the blood flow is quickly pumped from the upper extremities to the lower extremities which is great for improving circulation. It is performed in a circuit, as we did today, and allows a person to keep working with limited breaks because each muscle group that is worked gets to recover before another related muscle group is worked again, aka, no one specific body part gets too fatigued in one round (in contrast, doing consecutive reps of the same exercise or several exercises on one body parts can cause a muscle to be too fatigued with high levels of lactic acid built up to continue to do work for longer periods of time.)
So, in summary, this morning’s workout was amazing!! We all left feeling AWESOME! We felt stronger and had built up some energy, what a great way to start off a Tuesday! We even ended it with a little humor as you can see in my photo of me and my “cone head.”
Come check out a class and see all the fun you’ve been missing!