For a long time, endurance training was considered the ultimate in getting fit and staying fit into old age. But several studies in recent years have shown that regular strength training is just as necessary. Here are the 2 most important rules you should keep in mind when training:
Pay particular attention to the eccentric phase
During strength training on machines, with free weights or even with your own body weight, the individual movement phases are divided into concentric and eccentric phases. Here is an example: If you lift your weight when pressing on a bench, this is the concentric phase. If you lower your weight again, this is the eccentric phase.
- The transitions should be as smooth as possible. This works best with a short rest period, which is called the static phase.
- If you want to train the muscle in the best way, it is good to keep the tension permanently, i.e., not letting the weight rest on the chest when bench pressing, but to stop it just before and then move it up again.
- That sounds simple, but many athletes make a mistake in doing so. They concentrate too much on the concentric phase and too little on the eccentric phase.
- The exercise is often performed much faster and also less cleanly, as studies have shown. This is not only bad for the joint, but also for the training effect.
- Because especially in the eccentric phase one can develop much more power.
- It should therefore be performed at the same pace or even slightly slower than the concentric phase.
Avoid pressurised breathing if possible
If an exercise is too hard, it is easy to inflate your cheeks and press the air out of your lungs. This is called press breathing, and you should avoid it if possible. This is because holding your breath has a significant effect on your blood pressure. Healthy people have a blood pressure of 120 to 80, and athletes who work out with very high weights have already had blood pressure peaks of the first 400 or more. A group of researchers at the University of Montana has taken a closer look at the phenomenon of compressed breathing. Result:
- A mostly normal exhalation is the easiest and safest way of breathing during weight training.
- The rise in blood pressure is significantly lower than with pressurized breathing, and the stability of the trunk muscles, which is so essential for many exercises, is also guaranteed.
- But of course, this is not always possible. Studies have shown that pressurized breathing begins when the load exceeds 80 percent of the maximum static force.
- In other words: without pressurized breathing, I can only use a maximum of 80 percent of my strength. For all those who want more than just health-oriented strength training, this is naturally too little.
- The good news is that pressurized breathing is not dangerous for healthy people.
- For everyone else, if you do want to work with higher weights, you should definitely consult a doctor.