What is bodybuilding? | Live Science

Once considered the domain of oiled-up bodybuilders, the growing recognition of the importance of muscle strength means that bodybuilding is something we’ve probably all been exposed to, even if only as part of a workout. hybrid style. But what is strength training and how can you incorporate it into your workout routine to better achieve your goals?

Whether you’re just looking to add muscle gains into a cardio-based regimen, or find yourself deliberating which are the best adjustable dumbbells (opens in a new tab) When preparing for a bulking program, strength training is an essential part of maintaining and improving the health of your body.

What is strength training and why is it important?

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“Strength training, commonly referred to as resistance training, is a training method used with the intent of inducing adaptations to the skeletal musculature of the body,” says Joe McKale, Olympic weightlifting head trainer at Taylor’s, one of leading bodybuilding gyms in the UK. “Resistance can be applied to exercises in many ways,” he adds, “the most common of which are using free weights, resistance machines, using your own body weight as resistance, and best resistance bands. (opens in a new tab).”

The importance of improving skeletal musculature in improving overall health has become increasingly recognized over the past two decades. A 2012 study in the Current Sports Medicine Journal (opens in a new tab) found that natural age-related muscle loss leads to other undesirable developments, such as reduced metabolic rate, fat gain, loss of bone density, and contributes to “all-cause mortality”.

What is hypertrophy?

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According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (opens in a new tab)muscle hypertrophy, the process of “muscle building” occurs when “muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown”, usually through resistance training and adequate protein nutritional intake, effectively resulting in a “net gain” of muscle growth.

Hypertrophy, which is building the cross-sectional size of a muscle, helps increase your maximum strength. Knowing your 1RM (or one rep max) is an important detail here – it’s the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single rep in a given exercise. This figure is then used to calculate routines which will then increase muscle size.

“We will train for hypertrophy with higher rep ranges of 8-15 depending on the exercise, and our goal is to amass high levels of tonnage,” says McKale. Tonnage is the load volume of an exercise session, and it is calculated by multiplying your sets, reps and weights lifted “We normally do 3-5 sets per exercise during this type of training phase, with loads ranging from as low as 60% to as high as 80% of an athlete’s maximum rep.

How to increase muscle size

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Increases in muscle size can be measured in both explosive power and maximal strength. For power increases, heavy lifting and personal bests are key to increasing the speed and force with which a load can be lifted. However, to increase strength, this increase in muscle size then comes into play. A rep range between 1 and 5 is used for heavy lifting typically above 85% of 1RM.

According to McKale, the results at this stage can be truly impressive: “We can maybe go up to 100%+ of an athlete’s one-rep max if the training is going well! In this phase of training, we want to increase the body’s ability to produce maximum force through increased recruitment of motor units, voluntary muscle activation, better ability to lift heavy weights and to a lesser extent only the last phase – hypertrophy.

While it may look aesthetically pleasing and offer a range of health benefits, growing muscle mass is definitely not the backbone of bodybuilding. Unlike aerobic workouts which are thought to have little positive impact on bone strength, various studies, including one published in Endocrinology and Metabolism (opens in a new tab) journal, postulated that weight training improves bone density in the body, particularly when the large muscles around the hips and spine are targeted.

“Resistance training can also increase bone density,” agrees McKale, who holds a master’s degree in strength and conditioning. “It helps an individual to be more resistant to fractures and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises later in life can also help mitigate the decline in bone density with age,” adds -he.

The metabolic rate also slows with age, but this too can be countered with resistance training. “Muscle uses stored energy in the body to produce movement,” McKale explains, so “a greater amount of muscle mass may equate to a higher metabolic rate.”

How often should you do strength training?

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So how often will you need to train to reach the point where you enjoy these gains? And how long can you expect it to take? “A minimum of two to three times a week is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine,” says McKale, “and I would tend to be okay with that for the average athlete!” Beginners will most likely notice an instant improvement in strength and performance, while if improving body composition is your goal, regular training should allow you to see noticeable changes over the course of several weeks.

If you are new to these methods, remember to start with simpler exercises and lighter weights, especially when using free weights. Resistance machines can also be very helpful, but again, start slowly until you feel confident. Once you’ve completed three of the four sets, if you feel like you have more to give, add a little more weight to the set the next time you perform it.

However, if you’re interested in more complicated routines that recruit larger muscle groups and yield better results, McKale recommends asking for help: “If your ambition is to perform more complex exercises such as squats , deadlifts and cleans, it’s worth investing in a trainer until you’re technically proficient. Nothing sets you up for long-term success better than making sure you have a solid foundation in place at the start of your journey! »

The many benefits of bodybuilding are very clear, while you wanted to understand how to build your own home gym and improve your bodybuilding at home or you’d rather work out with a trainer in the gym, find yourself a weight and start pumping some iron!


Effects of resistance exercise on bone health. (opens in a new tab)

Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. (opens in a new tab)

Resistance training is medicine. (opens in a new tab)

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