and Physiology Information
Should men and women train differently?
Q. Should I lift as much weight as I can if I want to gain muscle?
Q.Should I train my abs every day?
Q. Which equipment is better: free weights or machines?
Q. If I just want to gain muscle should I bother with cardio?
Q. How often should I change my program?
Q. For how long should I hold a stretch?
Q. What type of exercise is better: compound or isolation movements?
Q. Should men and women train differently?
A. If your goals are the same then training methods should be quite
similar. Muscle cells are muscle cells they are no different
for either men or women. If given the same stimulus they will respond
in the same way. One difference between males and females, however,
is that females have lower levels of testosterone a hormone that
plays a key role in developing muscle. If a female wants to gain lean
body tissue she will likely have to work harder than a male to promote
the same change in body composition.
Should I lift as much weight as I can if I want to gain muscle?
A. No. Using as much weight as you can possibly handle usually means
that you wont be able to complete enough reps with proper technique
to promote muscle growth. To gain muscle you have to give it a reason
to change. You also have to give your body the right instructions to
get the results you want. Think of your body as a computer. You have
to give a computer very specific instructions for it to perform the
way you want it to. If your instructions are off by a little you can
hit enter all day and you wont get what you want.
Your body is the same way if you are using a heavy weight that
only allows you to complete 15 sets of 17 reps then you
are telling it to increase strength and power with limited muscle growth.
If you increase the muscles time under tension by using a weight
with which you can complete 25 sets of 814 reps, you are
telling your body to increase muscle size more than strength and power.
Should I train my abs every day?
A. No. There is a lot of confusion about core training. Your abdominal
muscles are no different than any other skeletal muscle yet some people
think their abs are some kind of super muscle that should
be attacked with extremely high reps every day. You would never train
any other muscle group in this way. Even though the abdominal muscles
have a higher percentage of slow-twitch muscles fibers than other muscles,
1525 reps per set with 4872 hours rest between workouts
is way more effective than 300+ reps per set every day.
Which equipment is better: free weights or machines?
A. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
amount of muscle fiber recruitment.
be dangerous without a spotter.
of the weights more effectively develops stability.
high degree of body awareness in order to perform movements effectively
closely match the bodys normal actions.
effectively isolate specific muscles.
to develop stability.
is not necessary.
not always accommodate very tall or very short people comfortably.
machine exercises are not easily done with free weights.
can be much more expensive than free weights.
weights are typically the preferred form of resistance in a resistance
training program. They have a higher degree of muscle fiber recruitment,
better promote stability and require more mental focus than machines.
However, free weights and machines can complement each other very effectively.
Once you have fatigued your muscles with free weights move over to machines
to finish off your muscles, add variety and reduce boredom.
If I just want to gain muscle should I bother with cardio?
A. You are only as strong as your weakest link and nobody wants their
weakest link to be their heart. If you cardiovascular system (heart,
lungs, circulatory system) is not strong enough to provide your working
muscles with nutrients and oxygen then you will fatigue before you can
reach muscle failure. How well will you perform if your muscles have
tremendous strength but your cardiovascular system cant keep pace
with the energy demands. To stay balanced and functionally strong your
cardiovascular fitness is as important as muscular strength or size.
How often should I change my program?
A. You need to change the framework of your program every two to three
months to sustain continual improvement. You need to keep your body
guessing so that it will adapt to given stresses. When you
do the same thing over and over the rate of improvement will gradually
decrease. This can lead to boredom, frustration and eventually a plateau.
To avoid this keep every workout fresh and have an annual periodization
For how long should I hold a stretch?
A. A safe guideline for the time to hold a static stretch is 15 to 30
seconds. In order to increase flexibility you should take a stretch
until you feel tension (but not pain) in the muscle and then hold this
position until you feel the tension release (typically longer than 30
seconds). Flexibility is an important part of your overall health and
fitness. When included in a cool down stretching aids in recovery by
helping the body flush lactic acid and other waste products from the
What type of exercise is better: compound or isolation movements?
A. Compound exercises are those that require the use of two or more
joints (ie squats) while isolation exercises use only one joint at a
time (ie leg extension). Compound movements have greater muscle fiber
recruitment, increase body awareness and coordination. They should form
the foundation of a resistance-training program and be performed first.
Once your muscles are fatigued and youve lost some of your concentration
move on to isolation exercises. Isolation exercises can be less demanding
and are effective to correct muscle imbalances