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Bodybuilding Training Methods
by Walter Eddy
There are many ways to train and the best way to train depends on what you are training for. There is not a 'best way' to train in general - you must first decide what your goal(s) are. A person can train for strength, health or fitness, to add muscle or to become better at a particular sport.
A common mistake that is made - regardless of what a persons goals are - is to confuse the importance of 'types of exercises' with the importance of a 'training method'. This can be a small or large problem - and one that even experienced trainers sometimes fall into.
For example - let's say you have never trained before and your goal is to be able to bench press your body weight. Let's say the first time you bench press you can press half your weight. Your goal is to increase your strength in the bench press. So what is most important in reaching your goal - your hand position, bench angle, and elbow position - or - the number of reps you do, rest periods and days you train. This one should be fairly easy - reps, rest and days. Changing your hand position may have a small effect - but doing 100 reps Vs 6 reps would make a very big difference in the time it took to reach your goal. An example for aerobics could be in step aerobics - is a step height of 8" or 12" more important - or the amount of time and the pace - again this should be easy, time and pace.
It is not always this clear. Sometimes we get caught up in the small things, like is 6 reps better than 8, should I walk at 5 mph or 6, and we miss the big picture. First be sure that you are using the best method to achieve your goal - then worry about the little things.
Watch out for traps along the way. If you train at a gym you will get lots of advice - wanted or not. Most people giving advice have good intentions, but if they don't know what your goals are their advice may not apply to you. Magazines contain a huge mix of information - some good and some bad - just keep in mind they have to fill a lot of pages month after month. For example most bodybuilding magazines are full of training articles each month - with a constant controversy over topics like - is it better to rest for 45 or 60 seconds between sets, or is it better to do 6 or 8 reps. To read some of these articles you would think these types of topics are of top importance - and the reason you're not huge is because you did 8 reps instead of 7 - give me a break. These small differences in the way you train will have little or no effect on your goals. Make sure that you are using the best 'method' of training to achieve your goal - that is of great importance.
For example: the old 6/20/50 rule. Doing 1 to 6 reps increases strength, between 6 and 20 stimulates muscle growth - and 50 (or more) builds endurance and stamina. This is a very 'general' or simple set of guidelines, but gives you a good example of training methods. Pick a good training method to achieve your goals FIRST and stick with it. Then you can worry about the little details - just stay inside your boundaries.
The understanding of human physiology has come a long way over the last few decades. The best way to train to achieve your desired results has become a fairly exact science - so much so that any future changes made in training methods will most likely have very little effect. Health, fitness and bodybuilding publications like to keep you guessing - they sell more magazines that way - but a good current college or medical text covering sport and exercise physiology will fill you in on up to date research covering the best way to reach your goals.
A few issues back I did an article covering the best training method to build muscle (size), check it out if your interested and haven't read it yet. I plan to do some articles in the future covering the best training methods for strength, fitness, and health - so watch for them.
Bodybuilding Training Methods
The information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.