The benefits of changing up your workouts?
To receive the best training results, be it for aesthetics or specific training goals, you need to keep your body responding to the exercise you are doing. The general adaptation syndrome describes how the human body responses to an exercise stimulus.
First, there is a shock phase, when the exercise is first applied. Next, an adaption phase of approx 8 – 12 weeks, where the body experiences its greatest response to the exercise stimulus. Lastly, this leads into the exhaustion phase, when the exercise program stops having the desired effect.
What does this mean? If you keep on training in the same manner no added benefits will be seen – you will plateau. This forms the base science behind periodisation, which is the practice of adjusting workout intensity on a regular, systematic basis to avoid plateaus.
We use this as the basis of our SAS (Strength & Skill) class programming to make sure you are consistently getting results. It also makes workouts considerably more enjoyable when they’re regularly changed up!
At the moment we are focused on lifting heavy for fewer repetitions – so what are Josh, Hayley and the team trying to achieve with this set up?
1) LIFTING HEAVY CAN CAUSE MUSCLES TO GROW
Heavy resistance can recruit and engage more of the type II muscle fibers responsible for generating muscle force. When you lift a heavy weight, you may feel your muscles shaking. This is because your nervous system is working to engage more motor units and muscle fibers to produce the force required to move a weight. Type II muscle fibers are generally responsible for the size and definition of a muscle, so activating more of these fibers can lead help provide immediate results.
2) LIFTING HEAVY IMPROVES INTRAMUSCULAR COORDINATION, WHICH IS IMPORTANT FOR OVERALL STRENGTH
Intermuscular coordination is the ability of a number of different sections of muscle to work together to produce a movement. Intramuscular coordination is the ability of the fibers that comprise a particular muscle to work together to generate a force. Because it requires more force to contract a muscle, using a heavy resistance can improve the intramuscular coordination in a specific section of muscle, which will also help you become more efficient at generating strength.
3) LIFTING HEAVY CAN HELP MUSCLES GET STRONGER WITHOUT GETTING BIGGER
Using heavy weights focuses on myofibrillar hypertrophy, resulting in muscle that is thicker and stronger, but not necessarily larger. When lifting an optimal amount of heavy resistance, you should only be able to perform five or fewer repetitions while maintaining good form.
4) LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR BIOLOGICAL AGE
If you’re over the age of 35, you should definitely be using heavy resistance 2-4 times a week for periods of 4-8 weeks at a time. When adult males hit their mid-30s, they will naturally produce less testosterone unless there is a stimulus that causes the body to produce it. Testosterone is a steroid hormone and is responsible for repairing damaged muscle fibers, which can increase the size and strength output of a muscle. Heavy resistance training is one type of stimulus that can cause males to produce testosterone and help increase bone density, both of which are important markers of biological age. Heavy resistance training can also help women over the age of 35 increase their levels of growth hormone, which is important for developing lean muscle and burning fat.
5) LIFTING HEAVY CAN HELP INCREASE YOUR RESTING METABOLISM
One pound of skeletal muscle expends approximately 5 to 7 calories a day at rest. Adding 5 to 7 pounds of muscle can increase your resting metabolism (how efficiently your body produces and uses energy) up to 50 calories a day. This might not sound like a lot, but over the course of a year that is a difference of approximately two-thirds of a pound of fat that you can burn while doing absolutely nothing!
At Body Society, we love offering you variety in your training methods and educating you on why it’s important to mix it up! Hope to see you in an SAS class soon!