May 23, 2024

The gym can be scary and challenging for new or inexperienced people interested in weightlifting or general fitness. Oftentimes, it can get confusing. From different lifting methods to cable machines and dumbbells, it is easy to see how people can feel lost. Strength and Conditioning Coach David Herd helped break down fitness and the best approaches when it comes to building strength. 

He began by explaining that while there is much debate between full-body workouts versus isolating and training a specific muscle, one is preferable in managing soreness. 

“If you keep it to full-body every single time you do a workout, it tends to relieve some of the soreness that you experience,” Herd said. “You could capture [a full body workout] in four workouts throughout the week. You’re never gonna go overboard on one specific group of muscles. You’ll still feel it, but it’s not like, “Ah, I can’t move.” 

Working to prevent soreness will allow for more effective training sessions in the long term. 

There are many ways to weight train and while each way helps to build strength effectively, certain techniques prove to be more effective than others.

“Using free weights and trying not to rely too much on machines too much, you’re gonna get the most bang for your buck. Anything where you can get away from machines and use actual free weights where you have to target a lot of muscles, even the small ones, to maintain control of the weight is gonna get the most work out of it,” Herd said. 

While training is important, no one can train the same way forever, as you will plateau. The science behind why this happens is just as important as changing your workout routine.

“Our bodies always want to maintain homeostasis. It wants to stay comfortable with what it’s doing. So initially, when you start a workout program, your body becomes alarmed by it. As long as it keeps receiving that stimulus, it’s going to wanna adapt and adjust to it so that it’s comfortable again. Once your body becomes comfortable with those stimuli, you then have to introduce a new stimulus to it for it to be alarmed again,” Herd said.

One last aspect to consider when lifting is form. Oftentimes, people lift too much, which could have a negative impact on their goals or risk injury. Starting with the correct form is not just important; it is essential. 

“We always start by making sure the form is right. People fall into a trap where they see a video on social media of someone doing a perfect exercise. It’s perfect, everything is right, its textbook form, but not everyone’s body is set up to have the same movement and the same form,” Herd said. “You always wanna make sure you have good form first and then get stronger in that form and range of motion as you move on.”

Nolan Premack, senior biomedical science major and player on the men’s soccer team, shared some of the ways that he maintains fitness in and out of season. 

“Early on, a lot of our cardio is just purely running-based and fitness test-based. However, during the season, most of the cardio comes with a ball at our feet in practice. That is my favorite way of working on cardio because it is a lot more fun to improve cardio while working on different skills rather than just running in a straight line back and forth,” Premack said. 

By making exercise fun, anyone can find their groove and become successful in their fitness journey. 

“As someone who is extremely driven, I am always wanting to do extra work, get extra reps in training, and push myself to the max,” Premack said. “I have learned that I need to be smarter with this so that I do not burn myself out for practice the next day.”

With such a demanding workload between practice and the weight room, managing soreness and physical exertion can be tough, even for the most seasoned athletes. By learning to workout smarter, it is easier to avoid burnout and prevent injuries in the long run. 

Rachel Lunney, senior early childhood studies major, shared some of her favorite aspects of the gym. 

“The specific lift that I enjoy doing is Roman dead lifts. These lifts are important because in golf, it requires a lot more upper body strength than lower body. On the course, we are not always given the opportunity to have a golf cart. Therefore, we are sometimes someone else’s caddies. Doing Roman dead lifts allows the strength of the posterior muscles to get stronger. They also require similar motions to prepare for a golf swing,” said Lunney.

Whether you are training for an event, looking to take your training to the next level, or just general fitness, these tips can help anyone take their training further.

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