Resistance Training is a very important component to someone’s overall fitness. For the best results, diet and exercise should be combined. Often, you’ll see people doing one, or the other, and hear them complaining about not seeing good results. When performed properly, it raises metabolism, encourages strength gains, and aids in preventing injury. The thought of “training properly,” may sound like a difficult venture to many, but really, it is not that hard. Health and Fitness Professionals call it periodization. There are three levels you’ll go through. These are Stabilization, Strength, and Power. Each is focused on preparing your body for the rigors of the next level.
If you’re brand new to resistance training, the best place to start is the Stabilization Level (or even Corrective if you have alot of underlying injuries). Stabilization training takes place in an unstable environment, promotes local muscle endurance, and teaches muscles to work together properly to stabilize the joints they are involved in moving.
Stabilization exercises are typically progressed by removing (you guessed it), stability. For instance, performing an exercise on one leg, versus two, or on a stability ball instead of a bench. Since one of the main goals of this training is to build muscle endurance, the repetition range is high, with a low to moderate volume. Usually 12-20 repetitions, and several sets. This all just depends on how conditioned the person is.
The Strength Level in Resistance Training builds on the adaptations made in the Stabilization Phase. Mainly, this phase encourages increases in muscle strength and growth. Training takes place in a stable environment with emphasis on successfully moving weight through a full range of motion. This training level uses moderate repetitions (8-12 reps) and moderate to high volume (3-6 sets).
In Resistance Training, the Power Level is the most rigorous. At this level, intensity is at its highest, with exercises performed as fast as possible. This level brings together the adaptations of the Stabilization and Strength Levels, and pushes the body to its maximum potential. Exercises are fast, explosive, and fun. Typically, you’ll see these exercises performed with low repetitions (1-6), and low volume (1-3 sets).
Once you’ve spent several weeks in all three levels, you can start combining them throughout the week to maintain your fitness. For instance, on a Monday, you can do a Stabilization Level workout, Wednesday Strength, and Friday Power. Staying creative within each level is key to maintaining the fun in any fitness program.