Weight training programmes and why they’re important!
Firstly, do you use training programmes when you train? If not, the question I pose is, WHY THE HELL NOT!?! You are massively hindering progress.
Since you’re reading this blog, i can assume you’re a little more serious about your goals and achieving them. If this is the case, and your goals matter, your approach to achieving them should be much more specific
Keeping it basic, we know that accruing more muscle tissue means you burn more calories at rest – 50 cals per pound of muscle tissue per hour vs 1 cal per hour for every pound of fat – so it’s simple, if you increase lean muscle, you will get (and stay) leaner – so no matter the goal, adding muscle tissue will help.
Let’s not get mixed up here, more muscle doesn’t mean you will be a bodybuilder or ladies will look bulky – it takes YEARS of HEAVY, heavy weight training and A LOT of food (I’m talking 4-5k cals+) to get to being ‘big’ and ‘bulky’. Most bodybuilders are lucky to put 1-2lbs of lean muscle on a year, so its not something you need to worry about. Lean and healthy muscle tissue however, WILL help you to reach your goals.
How do you build more muscle tissue and how can training programmes help?
Get ready for a scientific revelation. Muscle respond to stimulus – the load or weight you put through it. When you overload a muscle – tiny microscopic tears occur, when you eat, muscle fibres regrow stronger – the more you do it, the healthier and stronger they become.
Yep, that basically means, GET STRONGER!
Now this is where the importance of a gym programme comes in. Most gym users are guilty of going in and winging it. Lads aiming for a good chest, back or arm pump and ladies getting the booty working and legs shaking. Is this a bad thing? HELL NO. It will keep you healthy. Will it slow down the progress you desire? Most definitely.
If a muscle responds to overload (increasing weight or reps) and you’re winging workouts, incorporating exercises you fancy and using weights that suit how you feel that day – how are you overloading any of the muscles you work? – The answer is, YOU’RE NOT.
Important aspects like; exercise orders, weights used, reps done etc. – I can guarantee aren’t being accurately remembered – if you aren’t tracking it, you won’t be progressing, so you definitely won’t be getting the results should be. Train smart and get the maximum results out of the time you spend in the gym!
An exercise programme and a log book, will give you just that – maximum results for the time and effort you put in. You will know exactly what you did previously when you last trained a body part, what exercise is when, how long you rest, how many reps you did etc. this then gives you a goal with every set and rep to ensure progression, whether that’s by 1 rep or 1.25kg – progress is progress. Your body WILL respond to the stress of the extra weight/reps and force the muscle to adapt!!!
A working example – let’s use a squat, say you have 3 sets x10-12 reps in your programme – progress may look something like:
Week 1 – Set 1: 100kg-12reps, Set 2: 100kg-10 reps, Set 3: 100kg-10reps
Week 2 – Set 1: 100kg-12reps, Set 2: 100kg-12 reps, Set 3: 100kg-12reps
Week 3 – Set 1: 105kg-10reps, Set 2: 100kg-10 reps, Set 3: 100kg-10reps
Week 4 – Set 1: 105kg-10reps, Set 2: 105kg-10 reps, Set 3: 100kg-8reps
Weight has’t increased every week, but there has been improved reps within the 10-12 range OR increased weight. This means the body has progressively overloaded each session and the muscle WILL adapt!
When is best to change workout programmes?
When training as above, best time to change workout programme is when you feel progress is slowing or has come to a halt. If you having been pushing hard for weeks and reps or weight are failing to increase no matter how hard you try, this is usually the perfect time to make adjustments or change your programmes.
A change can be to increase the rep ranges you use e.g. from 10-12 reps you may spend a few weeks pushing 12-15 reps. Alternatively, you can change the angle or the exercise e.g. incline dumbbell press you could change it to flat dumbbell press or switch it completely to a barbell or machine press, that way you can push weight from a different approach and create a new stress response on the muscles.
Again, this works whether male or female – the only thing that changes is the weight used, the goal is always the same. If you progressed your squat from just the bar to adding 20kg per side, or from 100kg to 180kg it matters not – the principal of overload will apply and whether 20 or 40 inch your legs will change how you desire.
Remember, PROGRESS is PROGRESS and ‘If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It’
Log, lift, progress and most importantly, enjoy.