How much weight, how many reps and sets, and how often?

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Resistance training

Resistance traing or strength training can help build muscles and strength.

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New Delhi: Resistance training is like putting your muscles through the military regimen. It is the best way for men to slow and even reverse age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia. Resistance training gives one improved muscle strength and tone – to protect the joints from injury. Resistance training helps you maintain flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age. The other benefits include the associated weight loss and weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio. This happens because as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest.

Resistance training (aka strength training) These are upper- and lower-body exercises using free weights (like dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells), weight machines, resistance bands, or just your own body weight.

How do you find out whether you are doing too little or too much? Doing too little is a wasted opportunity and a waste of time. Too much brings on the threat of burnout, injury, or even the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome. We turn to the reliable wisdom of Harvard Health.

“The goal is to stress your muscles enough to see and feel a difference, but not overdo it, where you risk injury,” says Keelin Godsey, a physical therapist with Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. “You also want to train with a goal of continuous improvement, not plateau.”

You don’t need to spend hours a day lifting weights to benefit from strength training. You can see significant improvement in your strength Here’s what guidelines published in the August 2019 issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (USA) suggest.

Harvard Guide to the Goldilocks spot:

  1. type
  2. weight
  3. reps
  4. sets
  5. frequency

First up, find a certified trainer:

  • The PT can create a routine unique to your needs
  • Teach you proper form and speed
  • Show you different exercises for each muscle group
  • You can mix and match your workouts for variety, not get bored
  • Having learnt the basics, you can safely work out on your own

Remember, primarily there are six main muscle groups:

  1. chest,
  2. back,
  3. arms,
  4. shoulders,
  5. legs, and
  6. calves.
Harvard advice on Resistance Training:
  1. Work out muscle groups: Take up one to two multi-joint exercises per major muscle group (6-12 exercises per workout). Multi-joint exercises are movements that engage more than one joint at a time — for example, elbow and shoulder, or knee and ankle. This is different from single-joint exercises that focus on isolated muscles, like a biceps curl. With multi-joint exercises, you can train with heavier weights, which helps to increase muscle mass faster, says Godsey.
  2. How much weight to lift: According to Harvard researchers, older adults should aim to exercise with weight at 70 per cent to 85 per cent of their maximum one rep. Maximum one rep is the amount of weight you can lift just once. “You can still receive benefits from lifting lighter weight and less resistance, but the 70 per cent-to-85 per cent range is better,” says Godsey. But judge wisely or you could hurt yourself if you try lifting too heavy a weight without proper training and support. Tell you a secret? Use enough weight or resistance so you can perform 10 reps with good form. “The last two should be tough to complete, and you should have no more than one or two extra reps in reserve,” says Godsey. He says
  3. Weights not cast in stone: Don’t push with the weight plan recklessly. You can adjust the weight of your dumbbells or kettlebells as needed to find this sweet spot. Even the resistance band is not a commandment that you cannot break. You need to change the tautness of the resistance bands to make it more or less difficult to move. Adjust your joints’ moves to find that sweet spot if you find the band restrictive.
  4. How many Reps? 6-12 reps per exercise are beneficial, say the guidelines. Start with 10 reps at light to medium resistance. As you progress, get to 6-8 reps with increased weight or resistance.
  5. How many sets? The guidelines say 2-3 sets per exercise are good. Godsey suggests beginning with two sets at first. “Always rest in between for anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, if needed, to help you recover,” he says in the Harvard report.
  6. Frequency: Do not get the idea that if you overexert or do a great many sets or reps, you will be going places in strength training. Two or three workouts per week produce the most muscle size and strength compared with fewer or more sessions. Add another workout as you progress.

The Bottom Line:

As you incorporate strength training exercises into your fitness routine, you may notice an improvement in your strength over time. Keep in mind that it can take time to see increased muscle mass and feel stronger. If your muscles do not show good results in 8 weeks, your trainer may want to mix up your routine by increasing your weight or sets or the number of exercises. As your muscle mass increases, you’ll likely be able to lift weight more easily and for longer periods of time.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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