Q: Why should I strength train?
A: Increasing overall body strength will improve your potential to exert maximum strength and muscular endurance for athletes. Americans gain 10 lbs. of body fat and lose 5 lbs. of muscle per decade according to Dr. Wayne Westcott. Strength training can help prevent, and in some cases reverse, metabolic diseases associated with these changes in body composition.
Q: How many sets of each exercise should I do?
A: One set is enough if you are working to positive muscular failure (i.e. finishing the 10th rep and being unable to perform an 11th). Additional volume may be performed but will result in negligible gains at best if muscular failure was reached on the first set.
Q: What is the ideal movement speed when performing strength exercises?
A: A good place to start is to raise the weight for 3-5 seconds, pause momentarily, then lower the weight for 3-5 seconds. Creating high tension in the muscle fibers and working to momentary muscular failure involves the greatest amount of relative muscle tissue.
Q: How long should I rest between strength workouts?
A: As long as it takes for you to fully recover. If you're still sore from you last workout, wait longer! One full-body workout every 72 hours is a good place to start.
Q: What is the difference between High Intensity Training (H.I.T) and High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T)?
A: High Intensity Training (H.I.T) is a method of strength training designed to maximize training effect while minimizing training time. High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) is a form of cardiovascular exercise alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.
Q: What is the best equipment to use for gaining strength?
A: Any tool that applies the principles of progressive muscle overload may be used (barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, machines, manually applied resistance, body weight, sand bags, etc.).
Q: What are the best "sport specific" strength exercises?
A: The best way to train the body for sport is to strengthen each muscle to its fullest potential. There is no skill transfer from a weight room or strength training exercise to a skill performed in competition.
Q: Should I incorporate Olympic weight lifting into my strength training routine?
A: While we support Olympic lifting as a sport TNT advises against using Olympic lifts to train strength because there are safer and more efficient ways to train. To expound: 1) Olympic lifts do not improve other sport skills, 2) since they rely on momentum they may place higher stress on joints and ligaments, 3) they limit the magnitude of overload on the lower body due to weak link muscles in the upper body, 4) they can be time-consuming to learn.
Q: What is the best way to train the "core"?
A: The core is indirectly involved in most movements so direct training may not be necessary. Trunk flexion, extension, and rotation exercises should be performed if direct training is desired.
Q: What is the best diet for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight?
A: To lose weight total calories consumed must be less than the number of calories used to support you body's energy demands. To gain weight total calories consumed must be more than the number of calories used to support your body's energy demands. Total calories consumed should equal total calories burned to maintain weight.
Q: What is the best way to improve my flexibility?
A: Strength training through a full range of motion will result in flexibility increases. One's joint flexibility is contingent upon skeletal muscle origins and insertions, body composition, and activity level. Stretching by Bob Anderson is a great place to start for safe, simple, and effective stretching programs for a broad array of activities.