Before talking about detailed weight training I want to spend some posts to understand our body, how it works, and its response to training.
Our musculoskeletal system is composed by bones and muscles, as well as ligaments (tissues that connect bones together), and tendons (connect muscles and bones), that work with the nervous system to generate movements
Weight training will affect all of them in different and important ways. It will develop stronger and more powerful muscles. It will strengthen ligaments and tendons, which are known for having little or no blood supply and healing very slowly when injured. As a consequence, their strength is a key element to prevent you from spending time in recovering. Finally, weight training aids with bone density. Bone density is proportional to the stress placed over bones, and we know weight training is all about us trying to overcome the stress generated by the different equipment. Perfect match right here!
Our muscles are highly adaptable tissues. They will get stronger if we overload them and weaker if we do nothing. However, not everybody respond in the same way to training. So, what factors determine how strong we get?
There are 3 main factors that determine our strength-gaining potential:
1. Genetic Potential: Yeap! I know we try to fight it sometimes but we must accept that our genes will determine the type and amount of muscles fiber that we have. They will also determine how well they interact with our nervous system (timing and coordination), as well as the size of our body frame and bone length. This characteristics of our body that are determined by genetics will affect our ability to get stronger.
2. Gender differences: Men and women gain strength at the same rate. Even more, if strength is expressed in relation to the amount of muscle mass we have, both genders have about the same strength. However, men have higher levels of testosterone (the ‘muscle-developing hormone’) allowing them to develop increased muscle mass resulting in more strength. So ladies, if you are worrying about developing huge muscles, that will not necessarily happen!!
3. Training Program: Although our genetic potential and gender are important determining factors, a good training program will give you the tools that you need to become that high level athlete that you dream to be! You and only YOU are in control of what you will and will not gain/improve through training!! Genes may help or not but it depends on your willingness to do everything it takes to accomplish your dreams!!
Your body: much more than just a tool