Get Better Results from Weight Training

Monday, April 26, 2021 - 12:45
low back pain, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, health problems, knee pain, seniors, autoimmune

As an Ontario Registered Social Worker, ACE-Certified Health Coach, ACE-Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, and an AAHFRP-Certified Post Rehabilitation Conditioning Specialist, and as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the American Council on Exercise, I help my clients define what their goals are. Goals are related to physical wellness, mental health, stress management, sleep problems, functionality in activities of daily living, and chronic pain/pain management.  I will help you feel better!

Using coaching techniques, counselling/psychotherapy strategies, and a wealth of knowledge, I help move you where you find yourself in the present, to where you wish to be in the future. Over the past 25 years, I have created a unique practice that combines registered social work, health coaching, medical exercise, and personal training. I am fascinated by the intersection of physical and mental health, and have been a pioneer in bridging the gap between these two realms.  I enable my clients to achieve successes they did not think possible.  I am based in Toronto, and work with clients locally as well as throughout Canada. Sessions happen in person, or virtually via FaceTime, Zoom or Skype.

There are many training techniques that will enhance the effectiveness of a strength training workout.  Simply lifting an arbitrary amount of weight for a preset number of reps will usually generate results at the beginning of a program but fail to lead to significant hypertrophy - when muscles get larger.  In men, muscles often do actually grow larger.  In women, hypertrophy usually takes more the form of  muscle "definition".

One extremely effective training strategy is called "fatigue plus one". This means that you lift a certain amount of weight - the amount that will generate a maximum of 10 reps and no more - and squeeze out one last rep.  This "plus one" is psychological, because your body will feel like there is nothing left.  We know from recent research that the limiting factor when it comes to exercise fatigue is the brain - when our bodies feel like there is no more energy, this is actually untrue.  It is the brain that sends the message that nothing is left.  This does not mean that you can do an entire other set when you have worked to failure.  It means that you can override your body's sensation of complete fatigue, dig deep, and squeeze out one more.  Two important things to note: this type of training is very hard and not for everyone, particularly individuals who have musculoskeletal issues; and a rule called "technical limit" must be adhered to, meaning the first and last rep must look exactly the same.  A sloppy "plus one" will lead to injury, or at the very least not produce the desired training effect.

Another highly effective technique is called "compound setting" - where you consecutively combine two or more exercises that work the same or similar muscle groups.  For example, pair push ups with incline chest press, or decline biceps curls with a standing dumbbell rotational curl.  Do not take a break in between sets, and work to momentary muscle failure.  Don't worry if your muscles are sore the next day!  This is normal and to be expected, especially when first incorporating these types of advanced techniques.

Have a great workout!