Strength Training 101
Many people lift the same weights, week after week, and year after year. Their bodies adapt and stop getting stronger. These people often follow bodybuilding-based programs that make no effort to work the core or to train the body in a functional way.
The Strength Training component of Core Performance training programs will help you see results fast, and keep making progressive strength gains. First know that this style of strength training is not just about increasing the strength of your larger muscles. It improves stabilizing strength, which supports proper alignment, movement patterns, and energy transfer and helps to reduce injuries.
We focus on multi-joint movements that improve coordination and recruit lots of muscles, a process that expends more energy (read: burns more calories) and gives more return on investment of time.
How Core Performance Strength Training Works
The Core Performance strength exercises are designed to increase your stabilizing strength efficiently. After you work on one movement, there’s enough time to allow that area to recover while you work on something else.
For instance, you might start with an exercise that’s an “upper-body push” such as push-ups or an alternating dumbbell press. From there, you’ll proceed to a “lower body pull,” then to an “upper-body pull” and a “lower-body push,” all in a circuit fashion—a circuit is simply a group of exercises performed in succession with minimal rest between moves. (Learn why there are no rest periods specifically prescribed in Core Performance training programs.)
By strength training in this fashion, you'll burn calories and improve balance, stability, flexibility, strength, and the cardiovascular system all at once. This is where you become more and more efficient. As you master the Core Performance movements, you’ll find they take less time. By training in a circuit, alternating movements that emphasize different regions of the body, you will be in constant motion.
- How to Perform Circuits in a Busy Gym
- How to Make Your Training More Efficient
- Why You Should Stretch During Your Strength Workout
Strength Training Benefits
By alternating exercises in circuit fashion during your strength training, you’ll increase the number of muscles being recruited throughout different parts of the body, to optimize your bloodflow and release positive hormones. You’ll be able to do a few more reps each time or use a little more weight, and all in a shorter period of time. As a result, you’ll increase the workout density—the quality and quantity of work per unit of time—improve your overall fitness, and enjoy cardiovascular benefits while increasing your strength, balance, flexibility, stability, and mobility.
Strength training increases your lean body mass, which is the key to a healthy physique. After the age of 25, we lose a pound of lean body mass each year unless we do something about it. For each pound of extra lean body mass you have, you burn an extra 50 calories a day. Even when you sleep, you’ll burn more calories.
By building strength and lean body mass, you’ll elevate your metabolism, and that elevated rate will last for a few days, as opposed to low-level cardiovascular training, which only gives the metabolism a short-term burst while exercising and in the hours immediately afterward.
Strength Training and Elasticity
At times in your Core Performance training program, you may perform exercises back-to-back in a manner that yields improvements in your explosiveness. So rather than doing an exercise and then stopping to recover, we’ll follow the first exercise with a similar movement to maximize the just-worked muscles’ power.
For instance, you could do a set of split squats, then immediately do a set of split jumps. The second movement is similar to the split squat but instead of holding a barbell across your shoulders or dumbbells in your hands, you use your body weight and force your muscles to generate power after they’re excited from generating strength.
Thus, we bring an elastic element to strength training. If we’re going to take the time to develop strength and excite the nervous system through split squats, let's make the most of it by doing something that uses the same muscle-recruitment patterns and then apply it with much greater speed to get the nervous system and elastic properties involved. The result: a powerful, athletic body.
Sample Strength Workout
- Verstegen, Mark, and Pete Williams. Core Performance: the revolutionary workout program to transform your body and your life. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 2004.
- Verstegen, Mark, and Pete Williams. Core Performance Essentials: the revolutionary nutrition and exercise plan adapted for everyday use. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 2006.