By Henry Bjerke
The definition of weight training, as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary states that it is a system of conditioning involving lifting weights to achieve strength and endurance. Throughout the years the main objective of weight training is to increase the strength of the muscles, which as a result, would have a direct impact to one’s physical stature and well-being. Among these factors includes the increase of strength, endurance, posture, and appearance of one’s physical physique. Weight training involves the use of a specific type of weight including dumbbell, barbell, weight bars, weight presses, and machines specifically designed to utilize a specific muscle of the body (FitnessHealth101).
The establishment of Weight training has no direct place of origin, instead there have been many accounts of ancient civilizations using weight training from all over the world. One of the earliest civilizations to use weight training was China back around the 10th century B.C. During this period of time, Weight training was used specifically as a program used by soldiers to help them become stronger for battle and make them a powerful and more agile warrior. These warriors would train by lifting heavy metal objects or bags of grain upon their shoulders or above their head to help gain strength and endurance. Another Civilization that raised the awareness of weight training was the Ancient Greeks. The Greeks began using weight training as programs to help them gain strength for the popular Olympic Games. Since the beginning of those games there have been events that resemble early forms of weight lifting including shot-put, discus, and javelin. Later on, the games promoted more use of weight training, not only for training but for events in the games as well. As the games progressed and more events were being added, weight lifting also became an event. The present day Olympic games continue to acknowledge weight training and lifting including the popular but controversial power-lifting category (Sheehan).
Types of Weight Training:
- High Volume Training– High Volume training theory is based on the ‘More is Better’ principle and states that the harder and longer one works, the better results one gets. “High volume training is a style of bodybuilding that involves working out for extended periods of time” (Hercules). A high volume system of training generally involves a training time of 75-150 minutes per workout (Muscle and Brawn). In fact, it is very common to see a high volume lifter at the gym for an hour and a half if not longer. These gym goers stick to the more is better principle, and the more one is at the gym, the better the results one will get. High Volume training has been claimed to work best for beginner to moderate level weight lifters. The High Volume training method claims to work best on novice weight lifting and achieves the most results when dealing with individuals who have no experience in weight training. The shock of executing numerous exercises for long periods of time will produce an initial gain in strength and size. The most common downfall of high volume training involves the tolerance the muscles will get towards that type of exercise. As a result, the weight lifting community claims that, “…the initial shock that comes from undertaking a weight training routine, and the resulting anabolic boost, outweighs the limitations of the training system. But after months of training, a high volume routine generally stops yielding results for most lifters” (Hercules). Another potential downfall to using this type of program is that individuals are more prone to injury due to the overwhelming amount of stress on the muscles (Hercules). So although the high volume training method is widely used throughout the weight lifting community, it does not come without its limitations.
- High Intensity Training– High Intensity training theory is based on the ‘Less is More’ principle that intensity is the one and only stimulus that causes a muscle to break down/grow. It was devised to be a practical application of a scientific theory regarding the human body’s adaptation to stress (Lavalle). This type of training came about after the high volume training method was created and perfected. This principle sticks to the fact that in order to build muscle, it isn’t necessarily the duration of the workout that needs the attention, but more the intensity of each exercise. Another significant purpose of the HIT programs involves the importance of the repetition itself. The repetition of each exercise is the primary foundation to the HIT process. The HIT Repetition is describes as having a slow but powerful contraction of the muscle while achieving full range of motion with the given exercise being performed. The focus on the ‘perfect rep’ minimizes momentum and maximizes muscle tension (Philbin).
- Isometric Training– Isometric training is a type of training in which exercises are performed in an isolated manner. A particular muscle is isolated and contracted into a specific place for a duration of time. For example, lifting a dumbbell into a bicep curl then releasing back to the side of your body would be considered the original way to perform a bicep curl. In isometric training, the bicep would curl up, holding the dumbbell in front of you at a 90-degree angle from your elbow to your arm. Instead of releasing the dumbbell back down one would hold the dumbbell in place for an extended period of time. During the exercise, the muscle does not change length and the affected joint does not move. Isometric training can be used on any of the muscles on the body. The main goal for isometric training is not necessarily to build strength but rather maintain it. Isometric training is used quite often in athletes to help maintain strength and endurance in order to keep them at optimum strength condition. Also isometric is widely used in athletes and non-athletes alike to help recover from injury or prevent injury from occurring (Laskowski). The one main downfall of adopting an isometric training program involves the specificity of the work. In other words, isometric training typically focuses on one main part of the body. the exercises being performed focuses primarily on the muscle being stressed instead of incorporating other main and secondary muscles. The weight training community claims that, “…isometric exercises are done in one position without movement, they’ll improve strength in only one particular position. You’d have to do various isometric exercises through your limb’s whole range of motion to improve muscle strength across the range” (Laskowski). As a result, many lifters incorporate isometric within their regular routine to help maintain the strength of the muscle after achieving gains in both size and power.
- Power Lifting– Power lifting is a type of training that is similar to high intensity training, in which the principle is to exert a strong force of intensity within one’s rep to try and push or pull up as much weight that can be tolerated. In powerlifting, the lifter attempts to lift as much weight as possible in only one repetition. There are three main categories in powerlifting including squat, deadlift, and bench press. Powerlifting involves multiple warm up sets to get the muscle ready for the one ‘power’ lift (Syatt). The realm of powerlifting has always revolved around the basis of evolution and how the body uses its muscles and strength in real world situations. To elaborate, powerlifting focuses on the kinetics of the body. Throughout the evolution of our species, our bodies have evolved to help adapt to real world conditions. For instance, our bodies are naturally built to help achieve kinetic functions such as pulling, pushing, and lifting. All of these actions have been necessary for our survival including the famous ‘fight or flight’ instinct. Powerlifting incorporates all of these essential functions to help achieve the greatest optimum strength and power we can achieve. In powerlifting, the execution of squats, deadlifts, and bench press help achieve substantial power (Austin).
Benefits for each type of training:
- High Volume Training- Many people believe that the more sets (groups of reps), repetitions (the number of times an exercise goes through a complete range of motion), and exercises they do, the better results they will get. Being at the gym for over an hour to them is no problem and they socialize with friends and spend a lot of their time pumping iron and following the volume principle. To some this may seem like they are wasting time being there so long, but it is very common to see weight lifters in the gym each day for a long duration of time. The high volume method is most advantageous in novice weight lifters. The overwhelming repetitions, exercise, and time spent in the gym cause the muscles to shock and regrow to help maintain these new conditions (Hercules).
- High Intensity Training- The benefit of High intensity training revolves around scientific studies on how the body breaks down muscle to allow it to grow. in high intensity, the lifter focuses on the stimulus of the workout. According to the online dictionary, a stimulus is “…an agent, action, or condition that elicits or accelerates a physiological activity or response” (thefreedictonary.com). In other words, stimulus is the variable that causes the break down in the muscles, making them repair, recover, and grow. High intensity only focuses on intensity because that is the main stimulus to grow. This means that the time working on each muscle is not as important as the intensity of each set (Lavalle).
- Isometric Training- The main benefit for isometric training involves the maintenance of strength in the muscle. So instead of this type of program focusing on increasing strength in the muscle, it instead focuses on maintaining the strength in the muscles. This type of workout is especially important in athletes or individuals trying to get stronger at certain hobbies such as rock climbing. Isometric training is said to help in enhancing stabilization, and also a good rehabilitation process for injured athletes and individuals alike (Laskowski). Rehabilitation is important in athletes and non-athletes stuck with injury. Isometric training is most beneficial in pinpointing the affected area that needs healing and help progress and maintain the strength achieved.
- Powerlifting- Although powerlifting can be seen as a training technique, it is otherwise known for its competitive nature. Powerlifting elicits the benefit of having substantial strength in a particular area. As stated earlier powerlifting revolves around three main exercises including deadlift, squat, and bench press. Powerlifting is beneficial in the sense that follows its name, gaining power to lift heavy objects (Syatt). The powerlifting community finds their type of training superior to other weight training methods due to the fact the other weight training methods focus on size, definition, and the physical complexion one may have. The community claims that other weight training programs,” …primarily relies on high volumes of exercises with short rest periods and light weights to get the greatest amount of volume in the shortest time. This method makes a person bigger, but not stronger.” (Austin). As a result, powerlifting can be very advantageous for some people trying to achieve maximum power.
Examples/Programs of each type of Training:
- High Volume Training- When a lifter is doing the high volume approach to building muscle, he will most likely do four to five sets with a range of 6-15 reps in each exercise. There will most likely be three to six exercises per muscle group, and one to three muscle groups getting worked out per session. Because the main stimulus is volume, longer workouts are expected because these longer workouts put a lot of stress on the body and muscles (Hercules).
- High Intensity Training- Usually each exercise has a warm up set in which blood flow increases, light weight is used and the muscles being targeted can go through the proper range of motion. Once a small break has past, the high intensity lifter will do only one working sets of the given exercise, however there is no rep range and the set is hit as hard and intense as the lifter can go. There is only one working set per exercise because the lifter has pushed as hard as possible for a given set and will not be able to attempt another set at or close to that weight (Lavalle).
- Isometric Training- typically for an isometric training program, the participants will typically work two to three muscles per workout. The isometric training will have a hybrid style of lifting acquiring techniques from both high intensity and high volume. High volume because the amount of sets one will do will be within 3-5, each set consisting of only a few reps. During the repetition, the lifter will acquire a higher intensity mindset in which the lifter is supposed to hold the weight stationary for as long as can be held, also referred to as holding until failure. Each repletion must be held at high intensity until one can no longer hold in that position (Laskowski).
- Powerlifting- A typical powerlifting program is pretty straightforward. The powerlifter will focus on three distinct exercises including deadlift, bench press, and squat. Within reach of those exercise, the lifter begins by doing at least 4-5 warm up sets, casually increasing the weight of each set. Each set will consist of repetitions varying from 8-12 reps. After the lifter has achieved completion for each of the warm up sets, he or she will begin the final set. This set is a ‘one rep max’ in which the lifter will push the maximum weight he or she believes they can exert while maintain good form and complete motion throughout (Syatt).
- Philbin, John. High Intensity Training. Human Kinetics. 2004
High Intensity training book by John Philbin is a broad overlook of the qualities, description, and overall application of HIT. The book begins by stating the primary foundation of HIT program. Then it continues by adding information on repetitions, the importance of stimulus, and the scientific information provided to help validate the information and benefits of HIT. The information on the basic definition and description of HIT programs will be included in the report. Along with basic description, further information will be given towards the importance of form and repetition, including how to properly perform the exercises. All this information will revolve around the foundation of HIT allowing readers to educate themselves and differentiate the HIT program with other programs. The reliability of the source is a book published by human kinetics, a popular company supplying information on all sort of weight training programs and similar fields. The book itself offers valid information pertaining to HIT, some of it taken from other outside sources.
- Laskowski, Edward. “Are isometric exercises a good way to build strength?”. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and research. 1998-www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/isometric-exercises/faq-20058186. Accessed March 8th 2017.
The article titled “Are isometric exercises a good way to build strength?” gives an overview of isometric training including definition and examples. The article gives primary benefits and outcomes of adopting an isometric training program. The overview and definition of isometric training will be provided in the report. The purpose is to provide an easy explanation of the training program to obtain general knowledge and to provide information to help differentiate this program from other weight training programs. Along with the overview, examples of exercises and program will be provided to help establish the specific guidelines of isometric form. The source is a webpage from the mayo clinic. The mayo clinic is a well renowned website that gives medical research and information. The information provided is moderate but credible due to the mayo clinic reliability.
- Sheehan, Krista. “the History of Weight lifting”. com. Livestrong foundation. 2015. www.livestrong.com/article/548062-difference-between-weightlifting-and-powerlifting/ . Accessed March 8 2017.
The article “the History of Weightlifting” is fairly straightforward in providing the history and origin of weightlifting and training. The article provides information about the establishment and development of weight training. The article offers information of when and where weight training originated from and the progression it has made throughout the world. The history and progression of weight training will be provided in the report. Following the history, examples will be given to explain how weight training was used in different early civilizations. Additional information will be given about the Olympics and how it formed weight lifting into a sport. The reliability of the source can be seen as credible. The information provided was taken from livestrong.com which supplies information on sports, active trends and training programs. although the website is reliable to a certain degree, the article itself was written and posted by Krista Sheehan. There is no information given about her credentials or background.
- “Weight Training”. FitnessHealth.101.com. 2017. www.fitnesshealth101.com/fitness/weight-training. Accessed march 8th 2017.
The article “Weight Training includes a refined definition of what weight training is and what it incorporates. The article merely describes the general definition and purpose of weight training. Along with the definition, the article has information on the many different weight training programs there is, which follows the controversy on which one is the best. The progression and advancement of weight training is also provided to show the readers the general information and purpose of weight training. Information about the definition of weight training will be included in the report. The definition will provide the specific qualities associated with weight training to allow the readers to educate themselves on the many aspects of the subject. The article was taken from a website known as fitnesshealth101. No information was provided on the reliability of the website, although the information given in the article matches the same information given on numerous other websites revolving around weight training and its history.
- Lavelle, G. Training for Mass. San Jose: Romanart Books. 2010.
The book titled Training for Mass is an extremely critical read on the analysis and benefits towards adopting a High Intensity Training Program. The book spends a lot of time providing scientific studies and information towards High intensity training and goes into detail why this type of training surpasses many others. The book makes claims about other programs including high volume training and making a side by side comparison of the difference of the two programs. the information that will be in the report includes the emphasis on form and stimulus, along with step by step instruction to executing the perfect repetition. Along with form, examples will be given on specific workouts and exercises that follow the high intensity concept. The reliability of the book is definitely credible and valid, the information provided is backed up by scientific research and information gathered from other reliable sources.
- Austin, Dan. Human Kinetics.2012.
The book titled Powerlifting by Dan Austin revolves around the primary benefits of adopting a powerlifting program. The book begins by explaining what exactly powerlifting is, including the history and development of the program. After defining what it is, the book goes into detail about the essential factors that make powerlifting so essential including how the body incorporates stress, how the body adapts to stress through our evolutionary adaptation skills, and the scientific research to back of the major claims of powerlifting. In my report, information about the origin and background of powerlifting will be included. Along with definition and origin, examples will be given to show the readers what the program entails and the purpose for focusing on the three primary exercises. The reliability of the source comes from a book published by Human Kinetics. Human kinetics is a widely accepted and credible organizations providing information on health and fitness related subjects and issues.
- Hercules, Iron. “High Volume Training”. Muscle and Brawn. Muscle and Brawn. 2015. muscleandbrawn.com/high-volume-training/ Accessed March 8th 2017.
The website article titles “High Volume Training” includes a lot of information pertaining the high volume training program. Within the article, there is information involving the definition and qualities of a high volume training program. Along with definition, the article explains what a high volume training program consists of, including the amount of exercises, set, repetitions, muscles one will use. Examples on routines and programs are given to show the readers exactly what high volume entails. In the report, information about the qualities of high volume training will be included. This includes how long a typical workout will be, the purpose of adopting the workout, and examples of routines focusing on high volume. The realiability of the source comes from a website known as Muscle and Brawn. Muscle and Brawn is regarded for providing information, articles, studies, and example of different type of weight and fitness based programs. Muscle and Brawn is credible in the sense that they have many sponsors and followers.
- Syatt, Jordan. “The Beginners guide to Powerlifting: Everything You’ll need to know about competing”. Elitefts. 2017. www.elitefts.com/education/novice/the-beginners-guide-to-powerlifting-everything-youll-need-to-know-about-competing/ Accessed March 8th 2017.
In the article titled “the Beginners guide to Powerlifting”, there is information give on the specific nature of powerlifting and the rules and regulations of the sport/training program. The article begins by describing the qualities of powerlifting, followed by information on the sport that revolves around it. The article explains everything one needs to know about powerlifting including history, purpose, exercises, routines, and equipment that is used. In the report, information on the details of the program will be expressed along with the potential benefits and downfalls of using this type of program. Examples of the three main exercise of powerlifting (squat, bench press, deadlift) and a brief description on why they focus on what they do. The reliability of the source and be seen as moderate but credible. The website is not well known, as well as the author who wrote and posted the article. However, the information provided matches other websites and article relating to powerlifting.