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The lack of good muscle condition and the reduction in bone density, which increase with old age, affect the entire population. For this reason it is important that the sport scientist (graduate in sport science with a master’s degree), structures totally personalized training plans with the aim of developing and promoting the activity of the muscular system.

To build a training plan with these goals it is important to know three fun damental principles:

  • Overload principle;
  • Specificity principle;
  • Progressivity principle.

The overload principle, which is important for building a strength training plan, is applied using loads to which it is not usually subjected. The parameters that must be calibrated for each subject are the intensity of the training, reps and series.

Specificity principle holds that it is important to train those muscles whose strength and endurance we want to increase with great care.

Finally, the progressivity principle, if the trained muscle group adapts to the overload used, it is important to vary it; this is because otherwise there would be no increase in strength or endurance.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Adaptations to Training

With regular aerobic training, it increases capillarization in the muscle and increases its ability to transform adenosine triphosphate (ATP) aerobically, with the use of oxygen, improving muscle endurance. During resistance training it produces changes in the structure of the muscle fiber, an increase in capillaries and in the function of mitochondria. The percentage of red (or slow) fibers is not altered by this type of training, but increases the section of the fibers from 7 to 22%.

Anaerobic training produces an increase in muscle strength, and also improves the tolerance of acid base imbalance during high intensity exercises. For any activity that requires a high production of strength, a lot of energy is required, which in this is produced by the phosphagen system or ATP-CP, and anaerobic glycolysis.
It has been proven with certainty that an effort of submaximal intensity causes hypertrophy, increases strength and improves performance. During this type of training, fatigue is delayed by the buffer system of our body, which includes bicarbonate and muscle phosphate which bind to the hydrogen ion and reduce the acidity of the muscle fiber.

Methods of weight training

The increase in muscle strength and endurance can be induced by training with overloads, which include isometric and dynamic training methods (essential before performing both types, is to perform an adequate warm-up).

Isometric (static) training

it is a workout in which the muscle contracts without varying the length, working exclusively on the development of strength in a specific joint angle. This means that if we do an isometric squat, with the knee joint positioned at 90 °, the muscles will increase their strength in that specific angle. The contractions recommended by scientific research for strength increase last between 3 and 10 seconds with a number of repetitions that varies depending on the subject and the objective.

Dynamic training

This training method consists of shortening the muscle, with full range of motion of the joint. All methods of dynamic strength training include those with constant and variable resistance, with isokinetic machines and plyometrics and finally what is becoming increasingly popular, circuit training.

Free weight training, constant resistance

Training with free weights, therefore kettlebells, barbells or dumbbells offer resistance to movement, this is because a weight is lifted which however remains constant for the entire duration of the workout.

Circuit training, variable resistance

The workout that has become very popular in recent years is the circuit workout. It consists of a workout consisting of 6-15 stations for each circuit, the circuit must be repeated 3-4 times for a total of 20-30 minutes of session (usually each exercise is 30 seconds work, 15 seconds recovery).

Isokinetic training (dynamic)

This training is induced by an “isokinetic” contraction, which is a muscle contraction performed with a constant angular velocity. Unlike other types of strength training, you don’t have to overcome resistance in this case, you control the speed of the exercise. This type of training takes place with machinery, and any force applied to it produces an equal reaction throughout the excursion of the exercise, producing a maximum contraction of the muscle group or single muscle.

Plyometric training

Plyometric training includes exercises that allow the muscle to generate maximum strength in the shortest possible time.
Plyometrics exercises use the force of gravity to store energy which is subsequently used for a reaction in the opposite direction, exploiting the stretching-shortening cycle of the muscles. Plyometric training sessions should always be carried out under the supervision of specialists from the sports sector.

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References
Powers, Dodd (1996);
Bassett (1994);
Costill et al. (1976);
Andersen 1975);
Gettman, Ayres, Pollock, Jackson (1978);
Inger (1979);
Wilmore, Costill (1994);
Sharp, Costill, Fink, King (1986);
Franks (1983);
Hettinger, Muller (1953);
Liemohn, Sharpe (1992);

DeLorme, Watkins (1948);
Wathen, Roll (1994);
D.Clark (1973);

Edited by
Sport Scientist & Match Analyst

Alessandro Imbrogno

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