People have been lifting weights for thousands of years, yet we still can't agree on the optimal number of sets and reps for building strength.
The stability ball has gained popularity in the recreational and gym markets for a number of years now. According to a study from the departnemt of kinesiology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, it isn’t just a gimmick.
Scientists have argued about the relative merits of concentric, eccentric and static exercise for more than 100 years. In these contractions muscles shorten (concentric), lengthen (eccentric) or remain the same length as they exert tension. Most studies measured strength changes resulting from the various kinds of training, but biochemical and genetic studies hold the key to the effects of each type of contraction on muscle growth.
Short rest intervals between sets prevent recovery but increase the stress of exercise. Long rest intervals reduce metabolic stress but allow greater recovery and increased force output during subsequent sets.
Six-pack abs are a serious athlete’s Holy Grail. But everyone faces the challenge of how to build the abdominal muscles without injuring the back. Many abdominal exercises, such as straight-leg sit-ups, work the hip flexors at the expense of the ab muscles. This makes the exercise less effective for targeting the abdominal muscles and puts excessive strain on the spine.
In the 1960s, East German scientists and coaches developed a training technique of performing a heavy strength exercise, such as squats, followed immediately by a power – or ballistic - exercise, such as squat jumps or hurdle hops. A recent study from New Zealand reinforced the validity of that long-held technique.
Instability training has been extremely popular with athletes for more than 10 years. The theory behind the method is that training on unstable surfaces such as Swiss and BOSU balls forces muscles to stabilize the body to perform the exercise, which requires additional muscle activation. However, very few studies support this theory.
We’re sure you’ve walked into your gym, eyed people using the BOSU ball and wondered if what they’re doing is actually working. Well, it is, according to a recent study published by the Journal Of Strength and Conditioning - as long as it’s being used the proper way.
You don't need expensive weight machines or free weights to increase strength because, according to a recent study, it’s possible to build muscle strength and size from using elastic bands.
Many people like to train on the Smith Machine because it’s safe, it allows for what amounts to a built-in spotter, and it makes it easier to lift heavier loads than you can with free weights. But choosing the Smith Machine might not be best for muscle growth.