faster way to do weightlifting, with good results

A faster way to do weightlifting, with good results


The way the human body works is really a miracle. The way muscles repair after weightlifting is one example. When we weightlift, we make very small tears in muscle fibers, and the body repairs this “damage” over a few days.

But one miracle is that when the body repairs these small muscle injuries, it makes the muscle fiber bigger than it was before you lifted the weights. The body, in a way to help us withstand further “attacks”, makes the fiber bigger and stronger.

Some basic weightlifting terms

“Rep” (short for repetition) means one complete back and forth movement of lifting a weight and returning it to the starting position. A weightlifter might say, “I did 12 reps”. This means he made 12 complete back and forth motions with a weight. Those 12 motions would equal 1 “set”, and after that first set, he would normally take a minute or two break, and begin the second set. At the end of all the sets, he might say: “I did 3 sets of 12 reps each”

Traditional weightlifting practice

An average weightlifter might do weightlifting 3 or 4 times per week, sometimes with a day or two break between workouts. If he does workout in two consecutive days, each day will exercise different muscle groups. For example, one day might focus on chest and triceps muscles, and the next day on back and biceps. Another day might be for leg muscles and abdomen. You don’t want to exercise the same muscles two days in a row.

But everyone has their own weekly routine, all of which can be fine. Typically, a weighlifter tries to do 3 sets of each exercise. A typical training might include 6 to 9 different exercises, using “free weights” or a weight machine. Each set usually includes 8 to 12 reps.

What weight to use

The goal is to stress the muscle fibers to the point that they develop microscopic tears. This is usually accomplished by using the heaviest weight possible that allow him to complete 8 to 12 reps of each exercise, in good form, even for the last rep.  This is taking the muscle to the level of “fatigue”. Over time, the weightlifter advances to a heavier weight and/ does more reps than before.

How long is a workout?

The  typical time commitment for an average, but fairly serious, weightlifter is about 40 to 75 minutes for each workout.  This is  enough time to finish 3 sets of 6 to 9 different exercises.

Research: one set may be enough!

Recent studies are showing that a person really doesn’t need to perform 3 sets of each exercise. The newest research, just published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise studied 34 fit young men who were not exceptionally muscular, but they worked out with weights regularly. They studied the strength, endurance, and muscle size of these men after 8 weeks in three different conditions. One group did 5 sets of each exercise, another group did the typical 3 sets, and the third group only did one set.

The surprising results showed that, while all the men were stronger at the end of the study, it did not matter if he did 1 set or 3 or 5. Each group showed the same improvement in strength, as well as muscle endurance! Only in muscle size was there a significant difference.

The men who did 5 sets showed the greatest improvements in muscle size. Those who did 3 sets had larger muscles than the one set group.

This research confirms earlier similar studies. The bottom line is—particularly if you are short on time or don’t particularly like weight lifting—you can likely get the same strength results in one third of the time, doing only one set. However, if you are more interested in your muscle size, complete 3 or more sets of each exercise.

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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