Goals and effects of strength workout

Written by: Vojko Strojnik, Ph.D.

Strength workouts are those in which we strain muscles with a large load and a low number of repetitions. These are carried out as a group of exercises and through them we determine those muscles or body parts that we want to target, how much load, how many repetitions, how many breaks, and how to perform the repetitions to achieve the desired results.

Direct objectives of strength workouts are:

  • Activate the muscles more effectively
  • Improve coordination of muscles in explosive movements
  • Learn proper coordination of the muscles in the eccentric-concentric movements (jumping, etc.)
  • Increase muscle mass
  • Increase muscle endurance for maximum effort

In order to achieve individual objectives, strength training methods are divided into five basic groups:

  • Methods of largest muscle exertion – for activation
  • Mixed methods - explosive movements such as leaping, throwing
  • Reactive methods - jumping
  • Methods of submaximal muscle exertion- muscle mass
  • Methods of endurance in strength

Such objectives and methods are established and used primarily by competitors, but for everyday life it is important to maintain muscle mass and muscle activation. If it's not our objective to approach the maximum capabilities of our body, we can choose less intense training methods for strength in the form of circular workouts, which will still give stunning results. However, we will save time, energy and perhaps even more.

First effects of strength workouts are always associated with the improvement of muscle activation (lasting for up to two months), followed by changes in muscle tissue (hypertrophy). After stopping the workout, the effects of activation disappear first, followed by changes in the tissues. Thus, the long-term effects of the workout usually relate to changes in tissue, and in the short-term, to their function.

Exercises used in strength workouts can be natural forms of movement, gymnastic exercises, exercises with small tools, exercises on training equipment, or a pole. The arrangement of individual exercises to increase strength is usually in the same sequence.

Individual repetitions with exercises can be done in various ways, such as liquid concentric, fast concentric, explosive concentric, isometric, eccentric and eccentric-concentric. Each of these methods has its own purpose and can significantly alter the effects of the workout. Therefore, the individual methods are generally tied to the objectives of the strength workout. For example, the liquid concentric method is best suited to increase muscle mass.

From an organizational point of view, strength workouts can be in two forms: workout with stations and a circular workout. Workout with stations is designed for high achievement in the target areas of the strength workout. The circuit workout is designed to achieve and maintain a relatively high level of strength.

To achieve the objectives of the strength workout, however, it is necessary to plan long term. We have to consider that all content cannot be done, or is not reasonable to do, initially. Normally, we start with a preparatory workout for at least 3 weeks. During this time we increase the burden to prepare the body for the enhanced load. Then, workout to increase muscle mass usuallyfollows (for at least three months) or workout for activation of muscles (usually two months).Workout for the activation of muscles is always the last in line. It also serves as training for the transition to get in shape.

The main energy source in strength workouts is carbohydrates. It is necessary that the energy stores in muscles and liver are abundant during training, since restoration of carbohydrate reserves takes up to 24 hours. In addition to energy resources for increased muscle mass, it is necessary to provide sufficient protein (about 1.5 g / kg body weight, which is approximately 1.2 oz / 50 lb body weight). The timing of protein intake is even more critical than the type of protein. It therefore makes sense to eat about 30 grams of protein 2 hours before working out, and 30 g immediately after. A quart of milk has about 32 grams of protein.