As a coach choosing the right strength training exercises for athletes can be a daunting task with so many options out there: free weights, exercise machines, isometrics, uphill ambulation with an additional load, drop jumps, self-resistance exercises, and so on. In this post, adapted from Science and Practice of Strength Training, we explore the various classes of exercises used for strength enhancement for both beginning and qualified athletes. Classification First, let’s start by exploring the different classes of strength training exercises. Exercises used for strength training are typically classified according to the change in muscle length. They may be static, or isometric, which literally means “constant length,” or dynamic, a category further divided into exercises with concentric, eccentric, or reversible muscle action. Dynamic exercises are also sometimes labeled isotonic (from iso, meaning “constant,” and tonic, meaning “tension”). The underlying assumption is that the muscle produces an unvarying amount of tension while shortening as it overcomes a constant resistance. This is not the case for intact muscles. If external resistance (weight lifted) is constant, the tension exerted by a muscle varies during shortening because of …
In this post we explore how to achieve maximal hypertrophy from your training plan. Adapted from Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy we explore how to gain maximal hypertrophy across various major muscle groups. Exercise Selection Strategies Selecting the appropriate exercises is an important factor for maximizing whole-body muscle hypertrophy. For example, certain muscles have multiple attachments that improve leverage for movement patterns. Moreover, myofibers often are subdivided into neuromuscular compartments, each of which is innervated by its own nerve branch. Functionally independent muscle segments facilitate the central nervous system’s ability to fine-tune human movement for optimum efficiency during complex motor tasks. Importantly, these inter- and intramuscular architectural variances reinforce the need to adopt a multiplanar, multiangled approach to hypertrophy-oriented training using a variety of exercises. Maximal hypertrophy can be achieved only by systematically varying the exercise performed and fully working all aspects of the targeted musculature. We explore how to employ these strategies to maximize hypertrophy in various major muscle groups. Abdominals Crunch The rectus abdominis is the primary muscle responsible for carrying out spinal flexion. …
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