/ Senior Project - The Various Types of Weighlifting
The Various Types of Weightlifting
Strength has always been an element concerning our human nature. Who was the leader of the cave men, millions of years ago? It was the big, strong, men because they could protect their own tribes and hunt down food. Even in the modern day, the manliest of men are the strong, muscular males; not guys on the extremes that are weak, as well as fat or skinny. Of course, as cave men, it was necessary to be big and strong in order to survive (Rippetoe 2). Throughout the history of the world, man seeks to better his physique, become stronger, and increase muscularity. We can see this easily in the earliest years of bodybuilding in ancient Greece. Afterwards, as technology advanced, methods were still crude and not as efficient as they are today, but nonetheless available. Modern training is supported by science so that one can make the most of his or her time. Bodybuilding, power lifting, and weight training are popular types of weightlifting for people with different goals; however, some aspects of each style must be considered in training if one wishes to be successful. With all of this being said, not every single human being wishes to be big and strong. We must understand everyone has different interests and goals.
The most popular reasons many start weightlifting are for aesthetic reasons (Arrieta). Everyone wants those bigger biceps to show off, as well as a chiseled chest; these trainees could be classified as bodybuilders since they want to shape their body and improve their physique. Muscular hypertrophy is what every bodybuilder pursues. But no gym rat has been as big as they are their whole life; they started small too. When youngsters start lifting weights, for any goal or reasons, one can see they are unstable in controlling the weights and have poor form. But as muscularity and physique changes, strength does so in proportion. One cannot be simply 'big and buff' without being strong in the weight room. Strength and muscle mass go hand in hand, so even though bodybuilders lift to improve their own body, they must always consider the fact that getting stronger means their muscles need more stimulus in order to promote growth ("Bodybuilding"). An increase in physical strength means an increase in the potential to build more muscle since one can stimulate the muscle fibers with more weight. However, if one looks at the other extreme of lifting, it is obvious that strength is the primary goal and muscularity is not.
As one can figure out from the word, power lifting is the style of lifting weights in which one wishes to gain immense amounts of strength. Improving the body's physique is of little importance since power lifters must eat plenty in order to stay on top of their heavy lifting regimen. These are the guys that are simply gargantuan and ridiculously strong, setting and breaking records at meets all the time. As one observes, these people aren't so concerned with big biceps and chiseled chests (Neporent 35). They care about how much one can squat, bench press and dead lift. Power lifting meets are competitions in which the participants are divided into different weight classes, attempting to have the biggest total in a weight class. They compete in the squat, bench press, and dead lift, adding together the most weight lifted; the lifter with the biggest total in each weight class wins that division.
Another similar lifting style is Olympic weight lifting (which is often confused with power lifting), where participants partake in just two lifts, the snatch and the power clean and jerk. These lifts also take an immense amount of strength to perform, but more importantly require very precise technique. Many people often ignore maintaining proper form and forget that keeping the correct technique makes the lift easier to do (Arrieta). All of the above lifts (squat, bench press, dead lift, power clean and jerk, snatch) are demanding, both physically and mentally since they take a toll on the neural level of one's body. Strength is a huge role in the Olympics and power lifting, but really it is important in every style of weightlifting.
Now general weight training is yet another style very close to these others, yet again with a different goal. Actually, this type of training is somewhat of a mix of both bodybuilding and power lifting (many refer to these lifters as power builders). Trainees lift weights with intensity, selecting those exercises that will bring out the best of both strength and muscular size. Working out in this manner is very common in younger, teenage athletes who want to become bigger and stronger. Many coaches have pre season conditioning, which is commonly low intensity cardiovascular exercise combined with high intensity weightlifting. Trainees see good gains in strength, and muscular size is increased simultaneously. The reason it works is because human bodies aren't used to this stress from the weights, so it is forced to adapt (Arrieta). This resistance causes micro-tears in our muscles, which are later rebuilt bigger and stronger through protein synthesis. Athletes' bodies go through a neural and muscular change, allowing them to lift more weight. The neural change largely accountable for our gains in strength, while protein synthesis makes our muscles bigger, which allows us to lift more weight as well. So when do we get stronger, when do we grow and make progress since we are always causing tears and ruptures in our muscles?
The answer to the question above is that we're making progress right now. The moments we aren't weightlifting is when our body recuperates and heals our broken down muscles. That's why getting a good night's sleep is critical in the repairing process. Many trainees, especially newer, younger lifters, make the mistake of thinking that more is better. They go into the weight room with the mentality that the longer they stay the more progress they will make. In reality, this is overtraining: when one's training exceeds one's capacity to recover, leading to a loss in strength and fitness. Rest is key and workouts shouldn't be much longer than an hour; that means an hour of intense weightlifting with proper stretching, warm up, and cool down (Neporent 76). This applies to every kind of weightlifting; consequences of not preparing for a workout properly are injury and sub maximal performance. As one can see, rest is key in making progress, but that's only part of what one's training regimen should include.
Another critical element of success should be diet. What one eats is just as important as the workout routine and rest. These three aspects are crucial in reaching whatever goals one has in mind; missing one or two of any of these element's can be detrimental. Some main nutrients any weightlifter should keep in his/her diet should be proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Proteins are the necessary blocks to building muscle (Rippetoe 167). Carbohydrates are those quick burning energy sources. Fats are also a source of energy and keeping our body healthy, but also help with fat-soluble vitamins. A good multivitamin should also be included as an athlete's insurance policy; it's not realistic to think one can get every single vitamin and mineral. With that being said, a multivitamin is like an insurance policy, it isn't necessary but can never hurt. Meals should be in small portions, eaten every 2-3 hours, totaling around 5-7 meals a day. Eating in this manner stimulates one's metabolism and keeps one's body in a thermogenic state, allowing one to feel energized throughout the day. It becomes increasingly important to pay strict attention to one's diet as weightlifting progression begins to halt or if one's goal is to reduce body fat levels. It's simple; if one eats good, one will look good. If one eats great, they will look great.
Many people turn to supplements when diet, rest, and training aren't enough to make the kind progress one would like to see (South). Many popular supplements include protein powders, creatine, testosterone boosters, estrogen blockers, prohormones and anabolic steroids. All of these products have several different pros and cons, ranging from very serious to none at all. Many common side effects are increased acne, hair loss, closer of growth plates, joint problems, testicular atrophy, gynecomastia, cholesterol imbalances, high blood pressure, etc. Drinking plenty of water and eating enough protein in one's diet would be a general guideline to follow. If one wanted to take it a level higher, taking creatine monohydrate or nitric oxide would also be very beneficial in making better gains. Creatine allows one to lift heavier for a longer period of time, by supplying one's body with more nutrients. Nitric oxide is a free form gas, so supplementing it to one's body would increase blood flow, promote growth in certain areas, and get one pumped up for a workout. Testosterone boosters, prohormones and anabolic steroids have many similar characteristics; they range from the side effects, to how they work, to what they do and how much progress they allow one to make in a cycle. However they do have many differences, mainly being to how they work in one's body.
Many people are tricked into thinking that the difference between prohormones and anabolic steroids are that prohormones aren't illegal; well, they are. The real difference is how they work when they enter one's body (South). Prohormones are precursors to hormones, so they convert to actual hormones through many different chemical processes in one's body. Many athletes take them to increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat levels. Prohormones have the same side effects as anabolic steroids, since they are converted to the hormone testosterone once they enter one's body. The difference with anabolic steroids is that they do not have to be converted to testosterone in one's body; they are in a ready form to be used. Specifically they are called anabolic-androgenic steroids, since they increase the androgenic affects of the hormone testosterone. They are anabolic because they prevent one's body to go into catabolism, the breakdown of metabolic pathways into smaller units (basically our muscles are decreasing in size and strength). Testosterone boosters (also known as estrogen blockers) help in post cycle therapy, reducing estrogen levels and optimizing testosterone production. They are typically taken after a prohormone/steroid cycle is finished so that one can keep most of the gains they have maid. Estrogen blockers and testosterone boosters do this by balancing out one's estrogen and testosterone levels in the body; it's necessary because after a cycle is completed, estrogen levels are high and testosterone levels are low. By themselves, testosterone boosters help one in making gains, however the gains are significantly less noticeable than steroids or prohormones. They are important in helping with keeping all of the progress made after a cycle is up. Post cycle therapy is critical if one wishes to keep up the size and strength that is made on a cycle.
As one can see, all weightlifters share the fact that strength increases in proportion to muscle mass. Whatever the goal of each person is, brute power, explosive strength, muscle mass or a hybrid of size and strength, one must understand that one must incorporate some of each type of lifting in order to be successful. However, training routine is not the only thing that affects progress, as diet and rest are just as important (Arrieta). One must understand that working hard and keeping the intensity up in the weight room is important, but when diet and rest cannot support the training, it is all a waste of time. Diet is critical because without the proper nutrition, our body won't b able to carry out muscular hypertrophy, or an increase in muscular cells. Rest is just as important because that is the time when our body recuperates and recovers. Supplements help one speed up recovery time, strength gains, and accelerate changes in physique. By implementing different training styles, the body is continuously forced to change, encouraging the best progress.
This is my Senior Project essay for my english class, my topic is The Various Types of Weightlifting. I've gone ahead and cited throughout the essay because it's supposed to be a research paper. Any suggestions are very welcome!