Heart Health Articles

Muscle Training Do's And Don'ts - Safe And Effective Resistance Training Is Key To Overall Fitness

July 04, 2017

Resistance training is crucial to holistic fitness, said Len Kravitz, Ph.D., in a presentation today at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) 11th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition in Dallas, Texas. Kravitz, a national fitness expert, explained muscle training and its contribution to overall health and performance.

"Research increasingly suggests that resistance training, when appropriately prescribed and supervised, has favorable effects on muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular function, metabolism, coronary risk factors, and psychosocial well being," Kravitz said.

He also delves into the scientific side of muscle training, explaining why muscles eventually give out during resistance training. This "sticking point" is the body's way of protecting itself from injury - by blocking neural messages to the muscles and preventing them from contracting when muscles reach the point of fatigue.

Kravitz's key "do's and don'ts" for muscle training include:

Stretch immediately following an aerobic activity while muscles are still warm and pliable, which will increase flexibility and may prevent injury.

Lift more than your muscles can handle. Gradual, progressive weight resistance is much more safe and effective.

Warm up prior to lifting weights. Your muscles need time to adjust to the exercise.

Exercise too intensely. Injuries occur when people do too much, too hard.

Cool down. Take a few minutes to lower your heart rate after exercise, even resistance training. Walk in place or stretch.

Jerk the weights when lifting. If you have to jerk the weight to lift it, strains and sprains can result.

Alter your training. Switch back and forth between long, single sets and short, multiple sets of resistance training to best stimulate the muscles.

The Summit is presented this year with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as an educational partner.

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 International, National and Regional members are dedicated to promoting and integrating scientific research, education and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health and quality of life.