As far as I am concerned failure is a positive thing on so many levels. During boot camp endurance type events until you may reach your failure point but if you don’t you will never really know what your true potential is. This blog is going to look at ‘failure’ within the boot camp strength environment.
I currently see two types of people in the gym and at fitness boot camps who are getting it wrong, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Firstly, you have those that don’t lift weights heavy enough to improve strength. They have probably read an article or blog about exercises that will get rid of bingo wings or love handles. They then select a weight that they could easily carry out dozens of repetitions but limit themselves to maybe 3 sets of 10. This will not improve their strength but it may burn ½ a calorie.
Secondly, you have those that select a weight that is far too heavy and therefore prevents them from performing the exercise through correct range of movement. The outcome may improve strength but more likely cause injury.
So let’s begin by understanding why we want to improve our strength. It is a great form of exercise for burning fat and, once your body has increased muscle size, all it wants to do is munch away at fat stores, even when you are resting. More importantly, however, when we have an effective and balanced strength training regime it increases performance and also prevents injury. One of the most important groups of people that should carry out strength training is women, especially as they age, as it will assist in combating osteoporosis.
Hopefully we can agree that there are benefits to strength training, so now let’s look at the actual process and see the importance of finding and accepting failure.
Your body is an amazing machine and will always adapt to its surroundings, but this does not always provide a positive outcome. If you are sedentary, and spend most of your day sat behind a computer, always using a vehicle to get from A to B, your body will adapt by increasing your body fat. The fat will be stored mainly around your ass to improve the comfort of sitting for hours on end. Fat will also store around your shoulders to assist you in reaching your keyboard and your body will decrease muscle mass for efficiency.
However, there is some good news …. it is never too late to start strength training and gain the associated benefits.
If you want to get stronger you need to ask your body to do something that it cannot achieve. Here are several points to follow to ensure that your Boot Camp strength training session is safe and effective.
Above and beyond all these 5 points, finding failure and accepting it is paramount to improving your strength. Let me explain … you do not get any fitter or stronger during the boot camp strength training session; you simply distribute oxygen to the muscles and break the muscles down. Depending on how much you break your body down will determine how much fitter and stronger your body will develop. If you train with a weight that you can perform 10 repetitions but stop at 8, 9 or even 10 reps then you are simply maintaining your current ability.
So next time you carry out a boot camp style strength session I suggest you select a weight that you can lift 8 times and challenge yourself to complete 10 reps. Now it is important that when you get to the failure you point you do not adjust your stance, bend your back or twist to allow yourself to complete the rep but rather pull at that failure point for 3 seconds. What you are actually doing is asking your body to achieve something that it cannot currently achieve and this is when your body will adapt and get stronger. At a physiological level you will slightly break down your muscle fibers and after several days of DOMS (Delayed Onset Of Muscle Soreness) you muscles will become stronger.
So there you have it – be a Boot Camp Failure during strength training sessions and achieve the results you deserve.
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