By Kennedy Shelley
People start losing their freedom as they get older because they lose muscle mass. Losing muscle strength is a killer.
So how do you fight back?
Using variable weight training will give you the most benefit with the smallest risk of injury according to new research.
Most of the muscle magazines are always pushing “no pain, no gain” or “go heavy or go home” but this latest research shows that if you really want to get stronger, paying attention to your body by rotating heavy and light weights will make you stronger quicker.
And even if you are not someone who considers themselves an athlete, you will want to read this.
The Center for Disease Control recommends strength training at least two times a week.
That can be pushups and other bodyweight calisthenics, or it can be weight training. But either way, it is vital to long term good health.
The more traditional method of weight training is to figure out what the maximum amount of weight you can lift and then lift a percentage of that weight.
And you do this day in and day out without fail.
The downside of this type of training is that it doesn’t take into account how you are feeling right now.
Did you have a good night’s sleep, eat right or are you under a great deal of stress? All of these can affect your strength on any given day.
If you go strictly on what your percentage of maximum weight is you might end up injuring yourself, maybe not with an acute injury but even by overtraining and not recovering enough.
So, is there a way to figure out how to vary the amount you are lifting to prevent injury? And if you are preventing possible injury are you slowing down your progress?
The answer is thankfully yes to the first and no to the second.
By varying your weight, you will lift less weight, but end up getting stronger.
All the study participants were males who have been doing weight training for up to two years. The researchers broke them into two groups.
One did the standard percentage of maximum training.
The other group varied their weights each time depending on how well they were able to do their first set of lifts.
If they couldn’t do the first set successfully, the weight was lowered until they could do it right.
The result after six weeks was the variable group lifted less weight than the conventional maximum group, but they ended up getting stronger.
So, this really does point out that you don’t really have to push yourself when you got a bad night’s sleep.
You really need to pay attention to your form and performance and realize that somedays you can do more than others.
And when you do this you protect yourself from injury, and you get stronger.
While this may seem like radical common sense, the study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research is the first time that researchers have shown that strength gains can occur when you don’t just follow the percentages of your maximum and push yourself into an overtraining injury.