There is a basic Physics theory behind weight training that has never changed regardless of all the advancements in weight machine design and upgrade. That involves gravity and resistance… basically pushing or pulling an object against it’s gravitational pull. Arthur Jones, founder of Nautilus, Inc. and inventor of the famous Nautilus line of exercise equipment put this theory to use for modern day strength training and bodybuilding. Making it easier and safer for the average person to train without using heavy, bulky free weights.
Now, most of us are not really interested in training to build body mass. At least not on the level of a competitive bodybuilder or weight lifter. If you are interested in that higher level of training than you probably already know what you need to do. But most of us want to increase strength, flexibility and tone of our muscle systems. (Btw, you burn body fat while weight training, as well) With a minimal interest in increasing mass. And ladies, please, don’t give me that whine, “I don’t want to work out with weights and get all muscled up.” Don’t worry, ladies, you won’t. Actually, only a very small percentage of men and an even smaller percentage of women are genetically capable of “blowing up” like competitive bodybuilders.
It’s like this. When you are training with heavy weights doing lower reps (repetitions) and multiple “sets” you will increase muscle strength along with solid mass. However, when you are using lighter weights doing more reps and fewer sets you are strengthening and toning your muscles. Of course, the amount of weight you choose to work out with is relevant to body weight, age, physical condition and overall level of health. Be patient and build up to an ideal weight for your routine.
For strengthening and toning choose a weight level on each machine that allows you to do 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps per set. Doing more sets than 3 per machine… like those guys who like to hog the machines while people are waiting to use them… is counterproductive. So keep it to three sets, resting for no more than 90 seconds between reps and move on to the next machine. Ideally, within 2 minutes of resting between machines. But you may need to build up to this pace.
About 12 years ago, I found I was putting on a little too much mass from heavy lifting and decided to change my routine. Actually, making it easier to workout. I found I dropped about 10 lbs from my current 170 lb body. Making me more flexible and defined than I was before.
And don’t forget that muscle toning/strengthening works much better when woking in tandem with aerobic exercise. So do your aerobic training… elliptical stairmaster, stationary bicycle, jogging or treadmill FIRST… then do your weight training. You want your body to be plenty warmed up and stretched out before working it out with weights. And remember that Physics theory of resistance!
More on safe and proper form with weights and machines to come NEXT on Friday Fitness Tip #3. See ya’ then!