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Important Factors For Weight Training!

By performing the movement correctly you will have greater gains than just by throwing the weight around.

By: Joe Franco

B.S. Exercise Physiology
A.C.E. Certified Personal Training
Natural Competitive Bodybuilder

FORM

You need proper form to get the greatest results/benefits. Never sacrifice form to lift heavier weight. This can lead to an injury and you probably won't be working the specific muscles. By performing the movement correctly you will have greater gains than just by throwing the weight around.

BEST/BASIC MOVEMENTS

Squat or Leg Press: Quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus
Bench Press: Chest, front deltoids and triceps
Barbell Curl: Biceps and forearms
Pull Ups or Lat. Pull down: Back and biceps
Shoulder press: All three deltoids and triceps
Tricep Press down: Triceps
Assistance Exercises: Leg extension, leg curl, dumbbell fly, dumbbell curl, dumbbell row, side laterals

A more in depth look at the some of these exercises will be in my next article.

DURATION (TIME)

30 minutes a session for a beginner. You can work out longer with weights, but don't over-train the muscle, three exercises per muscle group is plenty (advanced). If you weight train for more than 60 minutes your probably doing one of two things, over-training or talking too much.

FREQUENCY & REST

As far as frequency goes, I believe many weight lifters are confused. There are so many people who lift weights too often or not frequently enough. For beginners 2x per week is fine, 3x per week is ideal. Remember to not to exercise the same muscle group two days in a row, but you can lift weights two days in a row. If you like to weight train more than three days a week, it would be best to split the different muscle groups into different days. (Shown in the Advanced Programs)

The actual growth of muscle tissue take place during recovery or rest. Depending on the individual, 24 - 48 hours is the time range of recuperation. During this time is when we are going to have muscle soreness. This is when our bodies are repairing the micro-tears in the exercised muscles. Try to get a good night's sleep, because during this period is when the bodies hormones are increasing to compensate the stress of weight training. Never work the same muscle group two days in a row, let two days past before exercising the same muscles.

HOW LONG TO REST BETWEEN SETS

The answer to this question depends on what the individual wants to accomplish with their physique. It makes perfect sense that the longer the rest period, the more rested your muscles will be to perform your next set.

It takes at least 30 seconds for the immediate energy source (ATP) in your muscles to regenerate and present itself for the next load.

Therefore, you would think to take a 30 second rest. Although this time may seem optimal, most people don't follow this concept.

For instance, the hard core weight lifter may rest up to three minutes before attempting their next set. On the other hand, some people can only lift for 30 minutes at a time, so their rest period may be as little as 10 seconds. These examples are two extremes, but they both serve a purpose. The hard core weight lifter needs a longer rest period because they are exercising with greater amounts of weight and are performing additional exercises.

The individual who can't spend an hour in the gym and is taking a minimal amount of time to rest, is involving their aerobic system. These people won't see the same gains in strength and size as the hard core weight lifter, but they will reap the health benefits of weight lifting. For the people who have a choice and are not sure how long to rest in between sets, the ideal time is around 60 seconds to increase strength.

INTENSITY (HOW MUCH WEIGHT & HEART RATE RANGE)

For beginners the use of light weight to gain proper form and balance is important, but after a few weeks begin to challenge yourself. For example, the last repetition of a set should be the most difficult. From this, you will know that you are working the muscle to exhaustion (failure). Your target heart rate (THR) should be between 50 and 60 % of maximum heart rate (MHR).

The following equation allows to figure your THR:

Simple Target Heart Rate Calculator
Using the 220 - Age formula.

Enter Your Age - Then press Calculate.
Maximum
Heart Rate
Target
Heart Rate per minute
(75% - 85% of Max)
Target
Heart Rate
15 sec count

The Karvonnen formula is more advanced since it also takes into account your resting heart rate. This is your heart rate at complete rest. To determine this, take your pulse for 60 seconds just before you get out of bed... or take it for 30 seconds and multiply by 2.

Advanced Target Heart Rate Calculator
Using the Karvonen Formula.

  • For your age, use a whole year. (Between 0 and 100)
  • Put your Resting Heart Rate in the next box. (Between 30 and 100)
  • In the % box, use a number between 50 and 85. Do not include the %.
  • Click on the Calculate button, and it will calculate your target heart rate or that percentage.
Your Age in Years
Resting Heart Rate
% of Maximum Effort
Your Target Heart Rate
%


For example, for a person who is 25, 220-25 yr. = 195 which is his max heart rate. Multiply 195 x .60, which equals 117 beats per minute. If this individual were to have a higher heart rate, they would be exercising too fast and working their aerobic system (with oxygen) rather then their anaerobic system (without oxygen). Remember, weight training is not for burning calories during the work out session, it's for building muscle.

KEEP A TRAINING JOURNAL

This is the only way to ensure that your current method of training is definitely working . Accurate records will tell you whether your are wasting your time with a particular training method or if your making progress. A journal will tell you if your reps increased or decreased.

It will tell you when your poundage's increase. This kind of documentation will make sure progress keeps coming in small but measurable increments. Personally, I keep a log of the two major movements, the bench press and squat. These two exercises are the major determinants of overall body strength. I can look back over the last four years in my log book and see how I increased poundage's or overcame sticking points.

INJURIES

Despite the best advice of doctors, there are certain injuries that bodybuilders can "work around". It may not be a good idea, but we understand the supreme sacrifice involved in taking a few weeks off. However, there are simply some injuries that can't be work around. Knee and shoulder injuries should be taken care of in a prudent, therapeutic manner. So see a doctor, because you will never get big if you can't do a proper squat, leg press or bench press.

For questions or comments please visit www.FitFranco.com

Important Factors For Weight Training!
fitfranco@aol.com

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