Young dentists are keen on working out in the gym but what is the best way to gain muscles? Before starting any exercise programme, you must set a realistic goal using the SMART principle.
- Specific – the goal must be clear and concise
- Measurable – there must be a way of clearly comparing start and finish points (for example your BMI index, weight, or waist measurement)
- Achievable – if the goals are too difficult to achieve motivation will be lost
- Realistic – the specific objective must be attainable within the set time frame
- Time-framed – an exact and agreed amount of time must be established to focus efforts.
Apart from increasing your heart rate, warm-ups mobilise your joints and prepare you psychologically for the session. This can be followed by dynamic stretches and performing a number of contractions using a lighter weight than prescribed for each resistance exercise in the programme.
You need to establish the number of repetitions to be performed; for example, if you decide to perform 10 repetitions, you need to find a weight that you can lift successfully 10 times but are unable to lift for an 11th time.
How do you decide upon the repetition range? It depends on what you wish to achieve. Common goals of resistance training include improving muscular endurance, size (hypertrophy), strength and power.
In simple terms, for strength gains (a heavy load with low repetitions), you are training your type IIB fibres. At the other end of the spectrum, for muscular endurance (lighter loads with a higher number of repetitions [12–25]), you are training your type I and type IIA fibres.
The amount of weight (intensity) to be used can be based on a percentage of the individual’s 1RM. 1RM is the maximum amount of weight that can be lifted once with good form, 6RM is the maximum amount of weight that can be lifted six times). An effective resistance training programme should reflect your needs. Table 2 outlines how to apply specific training principles to different training objectives.
Beginners to resistance training should aim to build a foundation of muscular endurance and begin with just two sessions per week. Intermediate or advanced users may have specific training goals that demand greater frequency and the application of more advanced training systems (such as drop sets, super sets, pyramid sets and so on) with goals for muscular hypertrophy, strength and power. These types of training should only be attempted once a solid foundation of technique, posture, basic cardiovascular fitness and flexibility has been established.
The need for progression
Approximately every four to eight weeks, your personal trainer should modify the programme variables to generate a new exercise stimulus. If the workload of a training programme is not progressed, individuals will not continue to adapt. Instead, once the body has adapted to the current workload, it will not attempt to adapt any further.
Please remember that after every training session, you need to cool down and perform static stretches.
As you can see, there are many interacting variables, such as movement speed, rest time etc, that can affect the results of your training. Therefore, it is impossible to devise a generalised programme that suits everyone and the objective of this article is simply to provide an overview of this type of training.