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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Train Like an Athlete: Start Building a Foundation with Resistance Training

Every day during the week, hundreds of sporting events are played across the world. From football to tennis, golf, and soccer, among many others, athletes are competing at every skill level possible. Professional and collegiate sports have rigorous schedules that require their participants to prepare for the upcoming season year round. For many of these athletes, there is no more “off-season.” There is a constant flow of training through different cycles that allows them to hit their peak performance during the right time of the season.

But how do these athletes get to be in the shape they are in for their seasons? Where do they start?

Getting Started

resistance-trainingAn athlete’s training age, or experience they have in the gym, is one factor that is used to determine their initial starting point for their individual program. Someone with a higher training age will be able to perform exercises of more difficulty versus someone who has never stepped foot into a training atmosphere. This is important to consider when starting your program because some individuals may need more instructional time than others.

Resistance training can be a good starting point. It is one major mode of training that can lead to multiple benefits for everyone, not just athletes. Increasing muscle mass, strength and power are three main benefits that can be derived from a well structured resistance training program, but many more can be had. With the athletes that I train, all of them can benefit from an increase in one or more of those variables.

If you are new to resistance training, try coming to the gym two days per week for the first month and establishing your routine. Rest and recovery is very important during this time. Once you have your schedule in place, add a third day. This will allow you to keep improving as your body begins to adapt to your program.

Training Exercises for Beginners

To start, a “full-body” lift should be sufficient if you are beginning a new program. These exercises will focus on all of the major muscle groups of the body, not just a single group. Make sure the movements being performed are perfect. This is not the time to add as much weight to the bar or grab the heaviest dumbbells as possible. It is time to learn the basic movements to build for the future. Trying to break bad habits in weightlifting is one of the most common issues I see. Do your best to learn and perform the movements correctly the first time. The addition of weight will come shortly thereafter.

Start with 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions per set for exercises of each major muscle group (Quads, Glutes, Chest, Back, Shoulders). For starters, one exercise per muscle group will be sufficient. As your body adapts, more exercises can be added.

The basics are going to be what set you up for success in the future. Regardless of your lifting ability, everyone needs time to focus on the fine points of their techniques. Once you have developed a routine for resistance training, other areas can begin to be improved, like speed, agility and explosive power.

If you need assistance in creating your first full-body workout, contact me at asoller@nifs.org. For information on what NIFS can do to help you train for a sport, see NIFS Athletic Performance.

This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

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Topics: fitness center muscles resistance training sports

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series— Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training

Loss of muscle and decrease in metabolism go hand in hand and seem to happen when we hit theBand workout at NIFS big 4-0. Some sources claim that your metabolism can decrease by up to 5% every 10 years once you hit 40. That means you have to eat fewer and fewer calories every year just to maintain the same weight.

But what the heck IS your metabolism, anyway? It's the process by which your body uses the fuel and energy you eat and drink. Your body uses little cellular “furnaces” called mitochondria to burn that energy. Unfortunately, mitochondria in the cells tend to slow down or die with age or inactivity.

Another problem that can damage your metabolism is sarcopenia, a fancy word for muscle loss. Lots of stuff can cause sarcopenia, including extreme diets, a job that keeps you sedentary, too much long and slow cardio, and simply aging without doing any resistance exercise. In this part of my series I will focus on workouts that include strength training. These workouts are targeted to help you build muscle, which will help keep your metabolism high.

Our first workout focuses on Band Training. Bands let you strength train without adding a bunch of equipment. With a band you can add tension by just moving away from the anchor point. In addition, when working with bands the core must stabilize as the band re-tracts back to normal length.

Watch the video and try the workout and tell me how you did. Don't forget to fuel up before and after your workout the right way using the nutrition tips we gave you in our last video.

If you have just joined this series be sure to go back and read all the blogs. Including:

Getting Started

Foam Rolling and Increasing Your Range of Motion

Eat Right to Feel Right

 

If you have questions about something in this series or would like to schedule an appointment with Kris please contact her at 317-274-3432 or email.
This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.
Topics: NIFS exercise weight loss calories muscles resistance metabolism

Accommodating Resistance: The Benefits of Using Bands and Chains

NIFS has recently updated the weight room, including seven new half racks. Each rack has lower band pegs, and almost all of the racks have chains on the hooks at the top of the rack. Several people have asked why you would ever need the band pegs or chains to do your everyday squat or bench. In this post, I cover what accommodating resistance is and the benefits of using this form of chainstraining.

The Force-Velocity Curve

Before going into what the chains and bands do, I first have to set the groundwork and explain what the force-velocity curve is. As you see below, when force (weight lifted) increases, velocity (bar speed) decreases. So at the top where force is high and velocity is low, it is considered maximal strength. As you work down the graph, strength-speed is next. In the middle of the graph, you see power (the rate of force development, or RFD). As you continue down the graph, it becomes speed-strength and finishes with speed, where force is at its lowest and velocity is at its highest.

The reason this is important is that chains and bands give you the ability to develop explosive strength. So instead of benching with high weight and slow velocity (maximal strength), or low weight with fast velocity (speed), you can work in the middle of the graph and accelerate the bar in both the lowering and raising phases of the movement. Without the bands and chains, you have to decelerate the bar about halfway through the raising phase of a bench press, or the bar will fly out of your hands. Bands and chains ensure that you drive the bar as hard as you can, generating a high rate of force through the full range of motion (more on this below). The bottom line: Using bands and chains increases your rate of force development (RFD) and forces you to not let up after you get past your sticking point.

How Bands and Chains Workbands

Bands and chains do an excellent job of matching your leverage. The bar is lightest when your leverage is at its weakest, and the bar gradually increases in weight as leverage improves. Let’s break this down even further. You are getting ready to bench with 200 pounds on the bar. You add chains that each weigh 30 pounds. So now the bar total is 260 pounds. However, at the start position, half of the chains are lying on the ground, bringing you to a total of 230 pounds. As you bring the weight down to your chest, the bar gets lighter because more of the chains are lying on the ground. So when the bar is at your chest, you bring the weight down to the 200 pounds that you started with. As you press the weight up, more of the chains come off the floor, gradually increasing the bar total back to the 230 pounds at the top. This idea forces you to drive the bar out into full extension without letting up.

The Benefits of Accommodating Resistance

Bands and chains train acceleration and rate of force development, which is great for the development of power. If you are an athlete, the key to improved sport performance is producing more force in less time. This results when an athlete can absorb more force eccentrically (lowering phase), allowing you to apply higher levels of force concentrically (rising phase) in less time. Sport performance is about which athlete can absorb more force, enabling the athlete to produce more power. The biggest improvements that you will see by using this method are increased power, speed, and explosive strength.

Whether or not you are an athlete, using this method is definitely a game changer if your goal is to move a lot of weight and be explosive. I hope this post answers your questions on whether this type of training is right for you. If you are interested in trying this, be sure to ask a coach to make sure the setup is right, and always have a spotter to ensure safety.

This blog was written by Josh Jones, MS, CSCS, USAW, NIFS Athletic Department Trainer and creator of the NIFS Barbell Club. For more information contact Josh by email. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: fitness center equipment resistance weight lifting weightlifting