Weight Training Basics
Sometimes gym terminology can be hard to get your head around- especially if you’re just beginning your fitness journey! “Super Set this” … “HIIT that”… it’s no wonder you take one look at the meat heads and chose to take shelter by the cross trainers! Here at Myprotein we’re here to introduce you to all different types of fitness training so you can reach your workout and nutritional goals! So here’s a few basic terms that may help you get your head around some of those training regimes.
“Rep” is repetition and relates to the number of times you do the same movement within a set exercise.
Reps to Failure
In resistance and weight training continuing reps till failure means performing an exercise until you reach the point you are unable to perform and finish one more rep, and this occurs due to momentary muscle failure. Training to failure is suggested to be a useful type of training because it forces a high level of intensity which can be incredibly effective for increasing muscle, lean body tissue and power.
A drop set is a technique in weight training whereby you perform a set exercise at a given weight until you reach failure, decrease the weight and continue the exercise again without a rest period. As you keep decreasing the weight without rest you’ll find even when you get to a very light weight your muscles will struggle.
Within drop sets as you decrease the weight at each point of failure you should aim for as many reps as possible. Drop sets are a useful technique because they allow us to combat a range of muscle fibres that can’t always be reached.
A superset can be easily defined as set of exercises followed instantly by another exercise set. This means there is no rest or break! Supersets can be performed in different ways for different results for example, opposing muscle group supersets- which may include performing an exercise for the upper body, followed straight away by an exercise for the lower body.
HIIT stands for High intensity interval training. HIIT is on the rise this year and you may of heard of it within workouts such as meta-fit and insanity. But you don’t need a special class to perform HIIT, HIIT involves performing an intense exercise at maximum effort for a short period of time, followed by a small recovery period. HIIT has been shown to be beneficial in many ways, but it overall, it can burn calories at a faster rate and means you get the most out of shorter workouts.
LISS… Yes you guessed it, LISS is all about low intensity and stands for low intensity steady state. LISS is very different to HIIT but also has several different benefits. It involves low intensity exercise such as walking and jogging for 30 minutes +, which can act to help burn fat and boost metabolism. Many people chose to do LISS early in the morning before breakfast due to its links to fat loss.
Compound movements and exercises are those which involve and engage a number of different muscle groups. They are multi joint movements such as a squat which can engage both muscles in the lower body and the core. Compound movements can burn a lot of calories and are a big part of any workout routine… so get used to them!
You can consider isolation exercises and movements almost the opposite to compound, They engage and focus on working one muscle group in particular, for example a tricep extension or bicep curl. These movements are essential for targeting specific muscle groups and muscle fibres, targeting specific areas that compound movements may not tackle.
Concentric contraction is a type of way your muscles move and contract when exercising. Concentric contraction is the probably the most common type of muscle activation that occurs when lifting weights as they produce power and force within movements. For example, in the “lifting” stage of a bicep curl your muscle undergoes concentric contraction.
Isometric contractions involve the contraction of a particular group of muscle and can be phrased as equal length contractions. This means when performing an exercise and movement you tense a muscle group without moving any other part of the body- this means your joints should remain stationary!
You can think of an eccentric contract a bit like the opposite to a concentric contraction. A good example is a bicep curl, so the lifting stage of the bicep curl is a concentric contraction, but an eccentric contraction is the lower stage of the curl. When you lower the bicep after reaching the peak of your rep you are actually tensing your muscles so that you can control the muscle as you lower the weight. An eccentric contraction is therefore a muscle contraction that causes tension within the muscle as it lengthens.
1 Rep Max
This definition of a 1 rep max is clearly in the name, it’s simply the maximum amount of weight you can lift in one single repetition for a particular movement and exercise… making sure you have correct form.
Aerobic and Anaerobic Metabolism
Aerobic and anaerobic metabolism can be used in terms of HIIT and LISS cardio. Aerobic metabolism is a chemical process in the body whereby oxygen is used to produce energy from sugars and carbohydrates, typically what occurs during LISS. Anaerobic metabolism however is when there is an absence of oxygen or not enough oxygen, and so energy is produced by the burning of carbohydrates without oxygen, often the case in high intensity training when during short intense intervals oxygen is scarce.
You may have heard this term used a lot within fitness jargon recently, VO2 max is a way of measuring a person’s aerobic capacity, which is the maximum rate the heart lungs and muscles use oxygen during exercise.
This is a term you will learnt to hate! DOMS stands for Delayed onset of muscle soreness. A perfect example of this is when you hit the gym with full force when you haven’t been to the gym in a while… straight after you feel fantastic, on top of the world, then… BOOM! It’s the next day and you resemble Bambi on ice! Yep, basically DOMS is when you feel stiffness and pain in the muscle after tough exercise hours or days later.