By Peter San Nicolas
I sent a message out on Facebook this morning and asked for topics for this week’s article and Katie Patry, a former Ramonan, wrote back, “People don’t educate themselves properly on weightlifting, building muscle, and reps. Maybe you could do a little education on that.” This topic can be a little technical for a newspaper article in a little town like Ramona, but I have faith that this is really going to shed some light on this topic.
Many people think that lifting weights is only for people who are interested in building muscle, but that is just not the case anymore. Years ago coaches and doctors even discouraged people from lifting, stating that it would make you “muscle-bound” and even stunt your growth. Lifting weights or resistance training has many benefits, which include: increase metabolism and bone mass, arthritis relief, increase range of motion and flexibility.
Being a certified fitness professional through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, I follow the OPT Model, or the Optimum Performance Training Model, which has three phases:
In stabilization, our goal is to work the smaller intrinsic muscles that support the larger prime mover muscles. In this phase we do 2 sets of 15-30 reps per muscle group, while doing exercises that put your body in a state of instability and fire up your proprioceptors and mechanoreceptors. These are sites in the muscles and nervous system that recognize and relay distortion and movement to the central nervous system and back to the muscle to make the needed changes to maintain stability. I use tools like the stability ball, BOSU ball, tubing, the TRX and balance pads. We want to keep the reps higher to promote endurance and prevent strain — typically one exercise per muscle group.
The next phase, Strength, has three sub-phases: Strength Endurance, Hypertrophy (muscle building) and Max Strength. Endurance is much like stabilization in that the sets are less — 2-3 — and the reps are higher — 15-20 — with low rest periods between sets.
Those who want to build bigger muscle need to spend more time in the Hypertrophy phase. The sets are 4-5 and the reps are 8-12. In this phase, you must do multiple exercises per muscle group, usually 2-4 exercises with 45-60 seconds of rest in between.
Those who are looking to get stronger spend more time in the Max Strength phase. This phase consists of 4-5 sets of 4-8 reps and exercisers often will max out to see how their strength is progressing. The Max phase requires a long amount of rest in between sets to recover from the exertion it takes to lift the heavier weight.
In the Power phase, we are training clients to exert themselves at 100% intensity for shorter amounts of time with minimum to moderate weight. This phase can also be called plyometric training. Jump squats, lunge hops, standing broad jumps and medicine ball throws are done in this phase.
All exercisers should spend time at each of these phases. Even if you are a marathon runner, there is a time and place for you to do Hypertrophy training. If you are trying to compete in a bodybuilding competition, you should visit the Stabilization Phase to help strengthen the rotator cuff and stabilizer muscles to help prevent injury. Of course there is much more detail on how to format a workout, but now you have some groundwork to go out and educate yourself more on these phases of training. Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact me a firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-789-3500.
Peter San Nicholas owns Ramona Fitness Center at 558 Main St.