The Techniques of Muscle Progressive Resistive Exercise

Perhaps the single most confusing aspect of progressive resistive exercise is the terminology used to describe specific programs. The following list of terms with their operational definitions may help clarify the confusion:
Repetitions - number of times a specific movement is repeated.
Set - a particular number of repetitions.

Repetitions maximum (RM) - maximum number of repetitions at a given weight.
Intensity - the amount of weight or resistance lifted.
Recovery period - the rest interval between sets.
Frequency - the number of times an exercise is done in 1 week.

A considerable amount of research has been done in the area of resistance training to determine optimal techniques in terms of the intensity or the amount of weight to be used, the number of repetitions, and the number of sets, the recovery period, and the frequency of training. It is important to realize that there are many different effective techniques and training regimens. Regardless of specific techniques used, it is certain that to improve strength the muscle must be overloaded in a progressive manner. This is the basis of progressive resistive exercise. The amount of weight used and the number of repetitions must be enough to make the muscle work at a higher intensity than it is used to. This is the single most critical factor in any strength — training program. It is also essential to design the strength - training program to meet the specific needs of the athlete.

There is no such thing as an optimal strength training program. Achieving total agreement on a program of resistance training that includes specific recommendations relative to repetitions, sets, intensity, recovery time, and frequency among researchers or other experts in resistance training is impossible. However, the following general recommendations will provide an effective resistance training program.

For any given exercise, the amount of weight selected should be sufficient to allow six to eight repetitions maximum (RM) in each of the three sets with a recovery period of 60 to 90 seconds between sets. Initial selection of a starting weight may require some trial and error to achieve this 6 to 8 RM range. If at least three sets of six repetitions cannot be completed, the weight is too heavy and should be reduced. It is possible to do more than three sets of eight repetitions, the weight is too light and should be increased. Progression to heavier weights is determined by the ability to perform at least 8 RM in each of three sets. An increase of about 10% of the current weight being lifted should still allow at least 6 RM in each of three sets.

A particular muscle or muscle group should be exercised consistently every other day. Thus the frequency of weight training should be at least three times per week but no more than four times per week. It is common for serious weight trainers to lift every day however, they exercise different muscle groups on successive day3. For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday may be used for upper body muscles, whereas Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are used for lower body muscles.
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