A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 6: Training for Strength 124 Introduction Some individuals are intimidated by strength training. With the wide array of exercises, equipment and programs available, the thought of where and how to start strength training can be overwhelming. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce basic strength training concepts and programming recommendations. Strength training (aka resistance training) is a method of training which uses resistance in order to produce gains in muscular endurance, size, strength and power. Some of the benefits associated with regular strength training include increased muscular strength, power, fat metabolism, functional capacity and bone density, improved body composition and decreased risk of falling and/or injury. Table 6.1 provides some additional physiological adaptations associated with regular strength training (Rainey & Murray, 2005; Haff & Triplett, 2016) Table 6.1. Physiological Adaptations Associated with Chronic Strength Training ↑ Rate of force production ↓ Percent body fat ↑ Fiber cross-sectional area Slows down the aging process ↑ Volume of muscle proteins - ↑ Metabolic enzyme activity - ↑ Metabolic energy stores (e.g., ATP, CP, glycogen) - ↑ Strength of connective tissue (tendons, ligaments) - Basic Strength Training Terms and Concepts Similar to sports and other types of training, strength training has its own vocabulary. In order to better understand how to perform strength training, it is important to first understand some of the basic strength training terms and concepts. An agonist muscle is a muscle that contracts and causes movement. An antagonist muscle is a muscle that opposes the agonist muscle and causes movement in the opposite direction. A stabilizer muscle is a muscle that contracts but results in no significant movement (e.g., to maintain posture and/or immobilize a joint). For example, when performing a standing barbell curl, the biceps are the agonist muscle, the triceps are the antagonist muscle, and the rectus abdominis and erector spinae serve as stabilizer muscles.