Specialized types of equipment are used to ensure that other muscle groups are only minimally involved—they just help the individual maintain a stable posture—and movement occurs only around the knee joint. Isolation exercises involve machines, dumbbells, barbells free weights , and pulley machines.
Compound exercises work several muscle groups at once, and include movement around two or more joints. For example, in the leg press , movement occurs around the hip, knee and ankle joints. This exercise is primarily used to develop the quadriceps, but it also involves the hamstrings, glutes and calves. Compound exercises are generally similar to the ways that people naturally push, pull and lift objects, whereas isolation exercises often feel a little unnatural.
Each type of exercise has its uses. Compound exercises build the basic strength that is needed to perform everyday pushing, pulling and lifting activities. Isolation exercises are useful for "rounding out" a routine, by directly exercising muscle groups that cannot be fully exercised in the compound exercises. The type of exercise performed also depends on the individual's goals. Those who seek to increase their performance in sports would focus mostly on compound exercises, with isolation exercises being used to strengthen just those muscles that are holding the athlete back.
Similarly, a powerlifter would focus on the specific compound exercises that are performed at powerlifting competitions. However, those who seek to improve the look of their body without necessarily maximizing their strength gains including bodybuilders would put more of an emphasis on isolation exercises.
Both types of athletes, however, generally make use of both compound and isolation exercises. Free weights include dumbbells , barbells , medicine balls , sandbells , and kettlebells. Unlike weight machines , they do not constrain users to specific, fixed movements, and therefore require more effort from the individual's stabilizer muscles. It is often argued that free weight exercises are superior for precisely this reason. For example, they are recommended for golf players, since golf is a unilateral exercise that can break body balances, requiring exercises to keep the balance in muscles.
Some free weight exercises can be performed while sitting or lying on an exercise ball. There are a number of weight machines that are commonly found in neighborhood gyms. The Smith machine is a barbell that is constrained to vertical movement. The cable machine consists of two weight stacks separated by 2. There are also exercise-specific weight machines such as the leg press. A multigym includes a variety of exercise-specific mechanisms in one apparatus. One limitation of many free weight exercises and exercise machines is that the muscle is working maximally against gravity during only a small portion of the lift.
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Some exercise-specific machines feature an oval cam first introduced by Nautilus which varies the resistance, so that the resistance, and the muscle force required, remains constant throughout the full range of motion of the exercise. A push—pull workout is a method of arranging a weight training routine so that exercises alternate between push motions and pull motions. Another push—pull technique is to arrange workout routines so that one day involves only push usually chest, shoulders and triceps exercises, and an alternate day only pull usually back and biceps exercises so the body can get adequate rest.
These terms combine the prefix iso- meaning "same" with tonic "strength" and plio- "more" with metric "distance". In "isotonic" exercises the force applied to the muscle does not change while the length of the muscle decreases or increases while in "plyometric" exercises the length of the muscle stretches and contracts rapidly to increase the power output of a muscle.
Weight training is primarily an isotonic form of exercise, as the force produced by the muscle to push or pull weighted objects should not change though in practice the force produced does decrease as muscles fatigue. Any object can be used for weight training, but dumbbells, barbells, and other specialised equipment are normally used because they can be adjusted to specific weights and are easily gripped. Many exercises are not strictly isotonic because the force on the muscle varies as the joint moves through its range of motion. Movements can become easier or harder depending on the angle of muscular force relative to gravity; for example, a standard biceps curl becomes easier as the hand approaches the shoulder as more of the load is taken by the structure of the elbow.
Originating from Nautilus, Inc. Plyometrics exploit the stretch-shortening cycle of muscles to enhance the myotatic stretch reflex. This involves rapid alternation of lengthening and shortening of muscle fibers against resistance. The resistance involved is often a weighted object such as a medicine ball or sandbag, but can also be the body itself as in jumping exercises or the body with a weight vest that allows movement with resistance.
Plyometrics is used to develop explosive speed, and focuses on maximal power instead of maximal strength by compressing the force of muscular contraction into as short a period as possible, and may be used to improve the effectiveness of a boxer's punch, or to increase the vertical jumping ability of a basketball player. Care must be taken when performing plyometric exercises because they inflict greater stress upon the involved joints and tendons than other forms of exercise.
Benefits of weight training include increased strength, muscle mass, endurance, bone and bone mineral density, insulin sensitivity, GLUT 4 density, HDL cholesterol, improved cardiovascular health and appearance, and decreased body fat, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The body's basal metabolic rate increases with increases in muscle mass, which promotes long-term fat loss and helps dieters avoid yo-yo dieting.
Weight training also provides functional benefits. Stronger muscles improve posture, provide better support for joints , and reduce the risk of injury from everyday activities. Older people who take up weight training can prevent some of the loss of muscle tissue that normally accompanies aging —and even regain some functional strength—and by doing so, become less frail.
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Weight-bearing exercise also helps to prevent osteoporosis. For many people in rehabilitation or with an acquired disability , such as following stroke or orthopaedic surgery, strength training for weak muscles is a key factor to optimise recovery. Stronger muscles improve performance in a variety of sports. Sport-specific training routines are used by many competitors.
These often specify that the speed of muscle contraction during weight training should be the same as that of the particular sport. Sport-specific training routines also often include variations to both free weight and machine movements that may not be common for traditional weightlifting. Though weight training can stimulate the cardiovascular system , many exercise physiologists , based on their observation of maximal oxygen uptake, argue that aerobics training is a better cardiovascular stimulus.
Central catheter monitoring during resistance training reveals increased cardiac output , suggesting that strength training shows potential for cardiovascular exercise. However, a meta-analysis found that, though aerobic training is an effective therapy for heart failure patients, combined aerobic and strength training is ineffective; "the favorable antiremodeling role of aerobic exercise was not confirmed when this mode of exercise was combined with strength training".
One side-effect of any intense exercise is increased levels of dopamine , serotonin and norepinephrine , which can help to improve mood and counter feelings of depression. Weight training has also been shown to benefit dieters as it inhibits lean body mass loss as opposed to fat loss when under a caloric deficit. Weight training also strengthens bones, helping to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. By increasing muscular strength and improving balance, weight training can also reduce falls by elderly persons.
Weight training is also attracting attention for the benefits it can have on the brain, and in older adults, a meta analysis found that it was effective in improving cognitive performance. The benefits of weight training overall are comparable to most other types of strength training: increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength, bone density, flexibility, tone, metabolic rate, and postural support. This type of training will also help prevent injury for athletes.
There are benefits and limitations to weight training as compared to other types of strength training. Contrary to popular belief, weight training can be beneficial for both men and women. Although weight training is similar to bodybuilding , they have different objectives. Bodybuilders use weight training to develop their muscles for size, shape, and symmetry regardless of any increase in strength for competition in bodybuilding contests; they train to maximize their muscular size and develop extremely low levels of body fat.
In contrast, many weight trainers train to improve their strength and anaerobic endurance while not giving special attention to reducing body fat far below normal. The bodybuilding community has been the source of many weight training principles, techniques, vocabulary, and customs.
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Weight training does allow tremendous flexibility in exercises and weights which can allow bodybuilders to target specific muscles and muscle groups, as well as attain specific goals. Not all bodybuilding is undertaken to compete in bodybuilding contests and, in fact, the vast majority of bodybuilders never compete, but bodybuild for their own personal reasons.
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In complex training , weight training is typically combined with plyometric exercises in an alternating sequence. Ideally, the weight lifting exercise and the plyometric exercise should move through similar ranges of movement i. An advantage of this form of training is that it allows the intense activation of the nervous system and increased muscle fibre recruitment from the weight lifting exercise to be utilized in the subsequent plyometric exercise; thereby improving the power with which it can be performed.
Over a period of training, this may enhance the athlete's ability to apply power. The intention being to utilize the neural and muscular activation from the heavy lift in the sports specific action, in order to be able to perform it more powerfully. Over a period of training this may enhance the athlete's ability to perform that sports specific action more powerfully, without a precursory heavy lift being required.
Ballistic training incorporates weight training in such a way that the acceleration phase of the movement is maximized and the deceleration phase minimized; thereby increasing the power of the movement overall. For example, throwing a weight or jumping whilst holding a weight.
This can be contrasted with a standard weight lifting exercise where there is a distinct deceleration phase at the end of the repetition which stops the weight from moving. Contrast loading is the alternation of heavy and light loads. Both sets should be performed fast with the lighter set being performed as fast as possible.
The joints should not be locked as this inhibits muscle fibre recruitment and reduces the speed at which the exercise can be performed.
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The lighter set may be a loaded plyometric exercise such as loaded squat jumps or jumps with a trap bar. Similarly to complex training, contrast loading relies upon the enhanced activation of the nervous system and increased muscle fibre recruitment from the heavy set, to allow the lighter set to be performed more powerfully. Contrast loading can effectively demonstrate the PAP effect: if a light weight is lifted, and then a heavy weight is lifted, and then the same light weight is lifted again, then the light weight will feel lighter the second time it has been lifted.
This is due to the enhanced PAP effect which occurs as a result of the heavy lift being utilised in the subsequent lighter lift; thus making the weight feel lighter and allowing the lift to be performed more powerfully.