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Types of Resistance Training Programme - Part 1

There are different types of weight training methods you can do in the gym. Most people just do just one type of training over and over without understanding the different possible options.

As you become more experienced with resistance training you have to start introducing different strategies into certain phases of your schedule. This is governed by periodization.

The main types of methods used are:

Functional training

Developed to train the muscles in the way they are used in the real world (hence functional). The training uses exercises that coordinate and challenge the brain (nervous system) as well as the individual muscles. The emphasis is on developing the stabilizer muscles and thus increasing the overall strength and coordination of the body. Functional training uses many cables and unilateral (one arm, single leg etc) exercises. It is one of the best forms of exercise for the general gym user and certainly has benefits when used in conjunction with other training methods for people taking part in sports.

Bodybuilding (General hypertrophy)

The origin of weight training was from guys wanting to become big and it still dominates the industry. The main focus of a body building routine is to take as many sets of the exercise to the point of failure and do as many exercises and sets as possible on the muscles. It uses resistance machines as well as free weights because they give a greater burn in a particular muscle, this is because there is little need for stability on machines.

It is a beneficial method for increasing muscle size if done correctly but it does not develop the natural coordination or strength. For example, being able to sit on a machine and push a weight is totally different to having to stabilize your own body in general life.

This training is typified by using 2 and 3 day split routines, 8-12 reps and feeling the burn in the muscle.

Functional bodybuilding

This is the term I have given to a type of training that merges the above two methods. The idea is to merge the goals of increasing the size of the muscles yet also developing the balance, coordination and functional skills within the body. It is more effective than body building techniques in general life as it develops your functional strength as well as increasing muscles size. It gives you therefore the best of both worlds.

It is done by combining the bodybuilding element of taking as many sets as possible to the point of fatigue but it is done with exercises that challenge stability and coordination. It is a trade off as the more unstable an exercise the less of a burn you are able to generate and vice versa.

Specific hypertrophy

This relates more to sports performance and is focused on developing the size of the specific muscles that are needed during the sport. It can also be employed by the general enthusiasts by focusing on the main muscles you would like to develop or simply as a variation to your routine.

Each set is taken to the point of failure but there are longer rest periods between the sets and between exercises of similar nature. This allows a higher weight to be used.

Continued in Part 2 >> 

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