Strength training: how to lift to increase your muscle power
The more powerful you are, the longer you may end up living
That is one of the take-home messages from a recent study looking at muscle power and its effect on longevity.
Most weight training routines focus on strength rather than power, but switching your focus to the latter could prolong your time on this planet - according to research presented by the European Society of Cardiology.
But how can you actually train to boost your power? It's not as simple as shifting a weight from A to B.
To gain extra power from your gym sessions, scientists behind the study shared the following tips:
- Choose multiple exercises for the upper and lower body
- Choose a weight with the load to achieve the maximal power (not so easy to lift and not so heavy that you can barely lift it)
- Do one to three sets of six to eight reps moving the weight as fast as possible while you contract your muscles (slow or natural speed in returning to initial position)
- Rest for 20 seconds between each set to sufficiently replenish the energy stores in your muscles to start the next set
- Repeat the above for the other exercises (biceps curl, etc.).
How to progress:
- Start with six reps on each set and when the exercise becomes easy, try to increase to eight
- If it becomes easy again, increase the weight and go back to six reps
- If you are unable to complete the repetitions with the proper technique, avoid "cheating" and go back to fewer reps or less weight. This is important to prevent injuries.
Need some help creating your own workout programme? We created this easy-to-follow template.
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