De-mystifying effective weight training

Weight training can be both incredibly fulfilling and sometimes frustrating. A great deal of mystery surrounds effective weight training methods, but it's key to try to decipher truly effective tips amongst all the information on this topic.

Additionally, you need to be open to change and create specific goals specific goals for yourself to better understand how to approach your own fitness program.

Every Monday in most health clubs and home gyms, hundreds of people are performing the same routine, exercises and repetitions. Change is one of the best tactics to stimulate a loss in body fat, increase strength and endurance, and enjoy your routine.

Think of the body from "the inside out." When you lift weights, the body senses stress and its job is to adapt as quickly as possible. When it begins to adapt, you stop seeing results. However, once the training parameters change, the body must re-adapt, thereby accelerating your progress.

Strategic, well thought out change in your weight training and overall fitness routine is pivotal to ongoing progress and consistency. There are several essentials to weight training.

The following tips will help you get started by simplifying key essentials and have you on your way to physical change, increased strength and, ultimately, a more enjoyable fitness regimen.

1. Develop a specific goal This is where you truly begin. Knowing what you are working towards and creating a mental picture of your goal will determine your weight training parameters and program, as well as increase your focus and dedication. Is your goal to reduce body fat, increase muscle “tone,” train for a competitive event, or increase energy?

Different training parameters apply for a person who wants to just “tone up” versus someone who is training for a marathon. The more specific your goal, the more effective your program. Write them down! Make them measurable and realistic (ie. Lose five pounds; increase the weight of an exercise by 5 percent etc.).

2. Change your workout routine every 3-4 weeks

Periodically change the order of your routine. For example, instead of performing lunges at the start of every leg exercise routine; begin with leg presses, or possibly dumbbell squats. There are many ways to restructure a training session, but switching up the order in which you perform your exercises is one.

3. Vary the volume and repetitions of your sets

Stop performing the same amount of sets and reps each workout. Vary the volume of your sets and reps for three weeks. For example, if your legs and bum are a visually weaker muscle group, perform 3 additional sets of leg exercises for 15-20 reps.

Another example; For the next 3 weeks reduce the number of sets for legs and butt exercises, but work with five percent heavier weight for 12 reps and more intensity, maintaining precise form. Your muscles will recognize the change and you will see the results. You need not fear “bulking up” if your nutrition program has you in a slight caloric deficit (slightly less than maintenance).

4. Vary the tempo of your reps

When it comes to tempo, slow repetitions are a popular method, but incorporating various tempo, from slow to medium speed in your routine can enhance your body. For example, when working towards a goal of shapely shoulders, perform seated dumbbell presses and work at a moderate tempo (one second pushing the weight up and two seconds on the lowering). Then, for your next shoulder exercise, take a pair of dumbbells and perform lateral raises with a four count on the eccentric part of the movement (the downward movement). This provides different rates of tension on the muscle, leading to further progress.

5. Vary the time between sets

For muscle and strength gains, many individuals wait anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes between sets. A more efficient way is to vary rest time between exercises. If you’re working on your chest, perform dumbbell incline chest press with a weight that allows you to lift 12 reps per set, taking one minute between sets. Then, go to a dumbbell chest press and use a rep scheme of 12-15 waiting forty-five seconds between sets.

If you are an advanced trainee and add a third chest exercise, perform a dumbbell fly for 15 reps waiting only 30 seconds between sets. You'll experience a great burn in your chest muscles at this point, as you are stimulating as many muscle fibers as possible. This will also help to stimulate an increase in body fat loss.

Whether you’re inexperienced or highly experienced, these points will guide you toward effective change and will ultimately keep you enthusiastic, stimulated and most importantly -- consistent.

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