NASM Chapter 13 Resistance Training Concepts

General Adaptation Syndrome

  • General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)
    1. A syndrome in which the kinetic chain responds and adapts to imposed demands.
    2. A term used to describe how the body responds and adapts to stress. (In this case the stress being placed on the body is the weight being lifted during training.)
  • “Eustress” is a term that is keyed to represent good stress (Such as that which is being placed on the body during training)
  • Strength training requires that the body be placed under some form of stress or a stessor which creates a need for response and adaptation.
  • There are three stages of response to stress:
    1. alarm reaction
    2. resistance development
    3. exhaustion




Alarm Reaction Stage

  • Alarm Reaction
    The first stage of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), the initial reaction to a stressor.
  • During alarm stage numerous physiologic responses occur, including increase in oxygen and blood supply as well as neural recruitment to the working muscles.
  • Initially, an individual’s body may be vey inefficient at responding to demands placed on it during resistance training, but over time applying principle of progressive overload, body increases its ability to meet demands being placed on it.
  • Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
    1.Pain or discomfort often felt 24 to 72 hours after intense exercise or unaccustomed physical activity. (During this period of DOMS, any attempt at replicating or advancing the soreness-inducing exercise will be limited by factors contributing to soreness.
    2.This could be considered an alarm reaction.
    3. With exercises that result in DOMS further resistance work will be met with less and less onset soreness.

Resistance Development Stage

  • Resistance Development
    The second stage of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), when the body increases its functional capacity to adapt to the stressor.
  • After repeated training sessions he Human Movement System will increase its capability to efficiently recruit muscle fibers and distribute oxygen and blood to proper areas of the body.
  • Personal trainers need to understand that it is improper to only manipulate the amount of weight the client uses when trying to understand the adaptation response. Discussed in chapter 14 will be more methods to increase resistance development.

Exhaustion Stage

  • Prolonged stress or intolerable amounts of stress can lead to exhaustion or distress.
  • Exhaustion
    prolonged stress or stress that is intolerable and will produce exhaustion or distress to the system.
  • When stressor is too much for any one of the physiologic systems to handle, it causes a breakdown or injury such as:
    1. Stress fractures
    2. Muscle strains
    3. Joint pain
    4. Emotional fatigue.
  • In turn many of these injuries can lead to the initiation of the cumulative injury cycle.
  • sports_diagram
  • Avoiding pitfalls of exhaustion stage is one of main reasons for using OPT model.
  • Periodization
    Division of a training program into smaller, progressive stages.
  • Training-related injuries occur more often to connective tissue (Such as ligaments and tendons) than muscles because connective tissues lack blood supply.
  • Different tissues in the body (Muscle fibers versus connective tissue) each have their own adaptive potential to stress.
  • If resistance is continually increased with intention of stressing specific muscles or muscle groups to produce increase in size and strength, it can lead to injury of the muscle, joint, or connective tissue, especially if resistance is added too quickly or inadequate rest and recovery periods are not planned for.

Principle of Specificity

  • Principle of Specificity or Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands(SAID principle)
    Principle that states the body will adapt to the specific demands that are placed on it – Example: If someone repeatedly lifts heavy weights, that person will produce higher levels of maximal strength. Conversly if a person repeatedly lifts lighter weights for many reps, that person will develop higher levels of muscular endurance.
  • Training programs should reflect desired outcomes.
  • REMEMBER: Type I slow twitch fibers are smaller in diameter, slower to produce maximal tension, and more resistant to fatigue. (More important for muscles that need to produce long-term contraction necessary for stabilization, endurance, and postural control)
  • REMEMBER: Type II are larger, fast twitch, quick to produce maximal tension, fatigue more quickly than type I. (Responsible for force and power such as sprint)
  • muscle-fiber-types-chart
  • The degree of adaptation that occurs during training is directly related to the mechanical, neuromuscular, and metabolic specificity of the training program.
  • To effectively achieve program goals for clients, trainers need to consistently evaluate the need to manipulate the exercise routine to meet actual training goals. The body can only adapt if it has a reason to adapt.
  • Mechanical Specificity
    The weight and movements placed on the body. 
  • To develop muscular endurance of legs requires light weights and high repetitions when performing leg-related exercises.
  • To develop maximal strength in the chest, heavy weights must be used during chest-related exercises.
  • Neuromuscular Specificity
    Refers to the speed of contraction and exercise selection.
  •  To develop higher levels of stability while pushing, chest exercises will need to be performed with controlled, unstable exercises, at slower speeds.
  • To develop strength, exercises should be performed in more stable environments with heavier loads to place more of an emphasis on the prime movers.
  • To develop higher levels of power, low-weight high-velocity contractions must be performed in a plyometric manner.
  • Metabolic Specificity
    Refers to the energy demand placed on the body.
  • To develop endurance, training will require prolonged bouts of exercise, with minimal rest between sets. Endurance training primarily uses aerobic pathways to supply energy to the body.
  • To develop maximal strength or power, training will require longer rest periods, so the intensity of each bout of exercise remains high. Energy will be supplied primarily via anaerobic pathways.
  • Trainers should remember that a client’s training program should be designed to meet the specific demands of their daily life and health and wellness goals.
  • Mechanically body burns more calories when movements are performed while standing versus seated or lying position.
  • From neuromuscular standpoint, body burns more calories when more muscles are being used for longer periods in controlled, unstable environments.
  • Metabolically, body burns more calories when rest periods are short to minimize full recuperation.

Progressive Adaptations from Resistance Training

  • The 5 main adaptations that occur are from resistance training are:
    1. Stabilization
    2. Muscular Endurance
    3. Hypertrophy
    4. Strength
    5. Power
  • Stabilization1. Stabilization is the human movement system’s ability to provide optimal dynamic joint support to maintain correct posture during all movements.
    2. Getting right muscles to fire, with right amount of force, in the proper plane of motion, at the right time. (This requires high levels of muscular endurance)
    3. Repeated training with controlled, unstable exercises increases the body’s ability to stabilize.
    4. If training is not performed with controlled unstable exercises, clients will not gain the same level of stability and may even worsen.
  • Muscular Endurance
    1. The ability to produce and maintain force production for prolonged periods of time.
    2. Improving muscular endurance is integral component of all fitness programs.
    3. Research has shown that resistance training protocols using high reps are the most effective way to improve muscular endurance as well and after an initial training effect in previously untrained individuals, multiple sets of periodized training may prove superior to single-set training for improving muscular endurance.
  • Muscular Hypertrophy
    1. Enlargement of skeletal muscle fibers in response to overcoming force from high volumes of tension. Seen in resistance training.
    2. Visible signs of hypertrophy may not be apparent for many weeks(4-8 weeks), in an untrained client, process begins in the early stages of training, regardless of the intensity of training used.
    3. Resistance training protocols that use low to intermediate rep ranges with progressive overload lead to muscular hypertrophy.
    4. Structured progressive training programs use multiple sets to help increase musculoskeletal hypertrophy in both younger and older men and women alike.
    5. Progressive resistance training programs using moderate to low rep protocols with progressively higher loads will result in increased hypertrophy in older adults and men and women.
  • Strength
    1. Ability of neuromuscular system to produce internal tension to overcome an external load. Degree of internal tension produced is the result of strength adaptations.
    2. Resistance training programs have traditionally focused on developing maximal strength in individual muscles, emphasizing one plane of motion, mainly sagittal.
    3. Because all muscles function eccentrially, isometrically, and concentrially on all three planes of motion at different speeds, training programs should be designed using a progressive approach that emphasizes the appropriate exercise selection, all muscle actions, and repetition tempos.
    4. Because muscle operates under the control of the CNS, strength needs to be thought of not as a function of muscle, but as a result of activating the neuromuscular system. Strength gains can occur rapidly in beginning clients and can increase with structured, progressive resistance training program.
    One factor in increased strength is an increase in number of motor units recruited, especially early in the training program.
    5. Strength is built on foundation of stabilization requiring muscles, tendons, and ligaments to be prepared for the load that will be required to increase strength beyond initial stages of training.
    6. Focused on increasing the load placed upon the tissues
    of the body, improving:
    1. Recruitment of more motor units
    2. Rate of Force production
    3. Motor unit synchronization
    4. Can help increase the benefits of forms of power
    training used in Phase 5.
  • Power
    1. Ability of neuromuscular system to produce the greatest force in the shortest time. Force multiplied by velocity.
    2. defined as force multiplied by velocity (P = F x V)
    3. Therefore increase in force or velocity will increase power, accomplished by either increasing the load (or force) or increasing speed with which you move the load (velocity)
    4. Train with both heavy loads (85 to 100%) and light loads (30 to 45%) at high speeds, focus is to increase rate of force production by increasing the # of motor units activated, the synchrony between them, and the speed at which they are excited.
    5. Power adaptations build on stabilization and strength adaptations and then apply them at more realistic speeds and forces seen in everyday life and sporting activities.
    6. Increase in either force or velocity will produce increase in power.
    7. Training for power can be achieved by increasing weight(force) or increasing the speed at which weight is moved(velocity).
Type Definition
Single-Set Performing one set of each exercise
Multiple-set Performing a multiple number of sets for each exercise
Pyramid Increasing (or decreasing) weight with each set
Superset Performing two set to failure, then removing a small percentage of the load and continuing with the set
Drop-sets Performing a series of exercises, one after the other, with minimal rest
Circuit training Performing a series of exercises, one after the other with minimal rest
Peripheral heart action A variation of circuit training that uses different exercises (upper and lower body) for each set through the circuit
Split-routine A routine that trains different body parts on separate days
Vertical loading Performing exercises on the OPT template one after the other, in a vertical manner down the template
Horizontal loading Performing all sets of an exercise (or body part) before moving on to the next exercise (or body part)
  • Single-Set System
    1. Uses 1 set per exercise.
    2. Usually recommended that single-set workouts be performed two times a week to promote sufficient development and maintenance of muscle mass.
    3. When reviewing physiology of how human movement system operates, notion that single set is not enough may not be true.
    4. Helps avoid synergistic dominance
    5. Most beginning clients could follow a single-set program to allow for proper adaptive responses
  • Multiple-Set System
    1. Consists of performing multiple numbers of sets of exercise.
    2. Appropriate for both novice and advanced clients.
    3. Superior to single set training for advanced clients.
  • Pyramid System
    1. Progressive or regressive step approach that either increases weight with each set or decreases weight with each set.
    2. In light-to-heavy system, individual typically performs 10 to 12 reps with light load and increases resistance for each following set, until individual can perform 1 to 2 reps, usually in 4 to 6 sets.
    3. This system can easily be used for workouts that involve only 2 to 4 sets or higher rep schemes(12 to 20 reps).
    4. The heavy to light system works in opposite direction.
  • Superset System
    1.Two exercises, performed in rapid succession.
    2, There are multiple variations of superset systems.
    3. First variation includes performing two exercises for same muscle group back to back. Example bench press immediately followed by push-ups.
    4. Other variations involves two exercises back to back that involve antagonist muscle groups.
    5. Involves 8-12 reps with no rest between sets or exercises.
    6. The greater number of exercises used, the greater degree of fatigue experienced and demands on muscular endurance.
  • Drop-Sets
    1. Allows client to continue a set past point at which it usually terminates.
    2. Performing set to failure, removing small percentage of load(5-20%), continuing with the set, completing a small number of reps(2-4), repeated several times(2-3 drops per set).
    3. Drop- sets are considered an advanced for of resistance training suitable for experienced lifters.
  • Circuit Training
    1. Series of exercises that an individual performs one after the other, minimal rest between each exercise. Low to moderate number of sets, moderate to high reps(8-20), short rest periods(15-60 secs).
    2. Circuit training is a great system for individual’s with limited time and for those who want to alter body composition.

Peripheral Heart Action System

  • This system is another variation of circuit training that alternates upper body, and lower body exercises through circuit
  • Distributes blood flow between upper and lower extremities potentially improving circulation.
  • The number of exercises varies with the program- but the number of reps per exercise is about 8-20.
  • NASM-Table-13.4
  • The Peripheral Heart Action System has 3 main adaptations
    1. The Split-Routine System
    ♦This involves breaking body up into parts to be trained on separate days.
    ♦Bodybuilders use mass dominant and strength athletes use split routine system. Numerous exercises on same day for same body part to bring optimal muscular hypertrophy.
    2. Vertical Loading
    ♦Alternating body parts trained from set to set, starting from upper extremity and moving to the lower extremity.
    ♦Resistance training that involves: total body exercise, chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, legs
    ♦In vertically loaded workout client performs total body workout, then to chest, then to back, and so forth until all exercises have been completed- the client should then start back at full body.
    ♦Can be very beneficial in allowing for maximal recovery of each body part while minimizing amount of time wasted on rest. (if it takes 1 minute to perform each exercise, by the time the client returns to the 1st exercise 7 minutes have passed given adequate time for recovery.)
  • 3. Horizontal Loading
    ♦Performing all sets of exercise or body part before moving on to next exercise or body part.
    ♦This method is most commonly seen in health clubs
    ♦Appropriate for maximal strength and power training.
    ♦Horizontal loading drawback is that the system typically has a large amount of rest time.

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