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Q&A: Why You Need to Warm Up for Resistance Training

Sometimes I am short of time when I get to the gym and I skip my warm up. Is this a bad idea?

It’s most definitely a bad idea! You don’t need an eternity to warm up properly for resistance exercise, but if you injure yourself you may well be out of the gym for a very long time indeed.

The benefits of a general, circulatory warm-up include:

  • An increases in body and muscle temperature and the flow of blood to working muscles
  • A facilitation of the production of energy for upcoming exercise
  • An increase in oxygen delivery to muscles
  • An improvement in neuromuscular facilitation
  • A gradual increase in the load on the heart, which helps prevent any abnormal cardiac rhythm

I have read that you advocate dynamic stretching as part of a pre resistance warm up process. What is this?

Dynamic flexibility movements are performed without the use of prolonged static holding positions and are extremely beneficial ways to warm up the overall system as well as any specific muscle groups being trained in the upcoming workout. The key to dynamic flexibility is moving slowly and never stopping the movement for more than one or two seconds. This technique allows the brain to constantly monitor the change in length of the muscles and prepares the body for training.

My trainer says that I need to lift heavier weights to get larger muscles. Is this the only way to grow?

If it was as simple as that we would be out of a job. There are a number of training mechanisms that can be utilised to induce muscular hypertrophy (growth) that do not include increases in training load (weight). These include an increase in training volume, training density, or time under tension (TUT).

Will my weekly running sessions restrict my success in resistance training activities?

Some personal trainers will tell you that it’s acceptable to do all sorts of cardio exercise and so long as you eat enough calories you will make gains from your resistance exercise sessions. You may make some small gains…if you’re lucky. A rule of thumb to follow with all training endeavours is to follow the Rule of Specificity, which states in simple terms that you get what you train for. If you confuse your body with conflicting signals it won’t know how to adapt and consequently your results will be drastically impaired. So when aiming to improve maximal strength for example, train for maximal strength and limit the utterly superfluous (and in fact counterproductive) cardio work.

I am an avid musclehead! Can I ever look like some of your professional bodybuilding clients?

There is no straight answer to this, as it all depends upon the genetics you were born with. Just as some people were made to run 100 metres in under 10 seconds, so too were some blessed with the bone structure, endocrine system, metabolism and full muscle bellies required to compete at the elite level of world class bodybuilding competition. As you can probably guess, this a very small percentage of the overall gym community.
However, we can ALL build muscle and we can ALL radically improve our physiques and make ourselves considerably stronger and more powerful with the intelligent application of modern resistance training methods and sound nutritional and recovery / regeneration practices. We hear of so called “hard gainers” all the time, and in our 20 plus years experience of creating bodybuilders from skinny young men we have never ever been convinced that such a condition truly exists. For some it’s certainly easier than others, but everyone can drastically transform themselves with hard work and discipline. If you are interested in learning some of the closely guarded secrets of elite bodybuilders then contact us here.

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