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Recent medical research has demonstrated that strength training is the most effective way to achieve a healthier and fitter body.  And unlike other forms of exercise that can take their toll on knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders; weight work, properly done, strengthens the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues while improving your overall health.

The muscular system is not only the largest, most energy-consuming, heat-producing organ in the body, it’s the only one whose function we can directly improve through exercise.  There are no exercises we can do to improve our liver function or kidney function for example.



Let’s look at a study:  Two groups:  The fist group performed high-intensity work on a stationary bike – thirty seconds of intense bike riding, followed by rest.  They repeated this procedure three to five times, until they had completed a total of two to three minutes of hard cycling.  The second group took a more traditional approach, cycling at a moderate level for 90-120 minutes.  Both groups were made to cycle on three nonconsecutive days per week for a total of three “workouts” a week.  This made for a total of six to nine minutes of actual training time per week for the high-intensity group, versus four and a half to six hours for the higher volume group.  After two weeks both groups were found to have improved to the same degree.  Noter that the group that exercised 97.5% more received “zero” additional benefits from all the extra time they spent exercising.  How could so little time spent exercising produce the same aerobic effects as more conventional workouts in only about 2 percent of the time?  The answer is simple:  High-intensity muscular training.  Our aerobic system performs at its highest level when recovering from lactic acidosis (which builds up when our muscles are “burning”. The center of metabolic health, is not the heart and cardiovascular system; it is the muscular system.  T’is in the muscles where all the “gold” from exercise is found.



The most time-efficient and productive exercise program is one based upon the principles of high-intensity training.  To get the best results our muscles must be taken to failure, the momentary weakening of a muscle.  Stage 1:  Set begins.  At  the beginning of the specific exercise we are fresh with 100 percent of our strength.  Stage 2:  We lose strength.  With each passing second of exercise our initial strength level goes down, and our level of fatigue increases.  Our breathing increases, and we begin to feel the burning sensation of lactic acid in our muscles.  Stage 3:  Muscles fail.  Our muscles are now so weakened that it is very hard to keep going and we are ready to quit.  Stage 4:  We add 10 seconds.  Our muscles are burning and shaking and our brain is telling us to quit, but we are adding and extra 10 seconds to receive the maximum benefits from the exercise, which are bigger, stronger muscles and an enhancement of the metabolic system to support them.  This is a biological process and requires time – up to seven days, on average.



To help our body in its attempt to produce the desired response from training, it is important to ensure that we get enough sleep.  It is during sleep that there body recovers, when it relaxes and when its repair processes can proceed without interruption.  Being well hydrated helps our body in many ways.  Apart from the fact that muscle is composed of roughly 76 percent water, studies have shown that proper hydration aids significantly in optimizing recovery and enhancing muscular performance.



There seems to be a large amount of confusion about training younger children and adolescents – those aged five to fifteen.  The fact is that children can definitely be overtrained.  A proper strength-training program will benefit children of any age the it’s done within reason.  While children don’t yet possess the hormonal environment to achieve maximal results, muscle always responds to loading and fatiguing with some degree of strengthening.  Every child is better served by being stronger rather than weaker.  In training a young athlete, or even a young nonathlete, realistic expectations must be kept foremost in mind.  Wanting to “pack muscle” on an eight- or ten-year-old is a misguided desire.  Strength training is good for children and will help them somewhat, but moderation must prevail because of the child’s developmental limits.



Stay tuned for more information 🙂


Andreas Wenger

PE Teacher & Operations Manager

Feel free to contact me at:  AndreasWenger@LosFelizArts.Org