Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Muscular fitness

One of the main components of fitness is muscular fitness (go here to read all about components of fitness).

Muscular fitness includes muscular strength, which is defined as the amount of force a muscle can produce in a single effort. It also includes muscular endurance, the ability of a muscle to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance over a period of time.

Both muscular strength and endurance are important in every day life. We need them both to do daily activities without injury, to increase our functional ability, increase motor performance and many other reasons.

So, how do we gain muscular strength and endurance? Resistance training! Before you click off of this blog, this does not mean we have to spend all of our free time at the gym. You don't even need to go to a gym. You can use your own body weight!

Simple exercises like pushups, squats, crunches and plank (see picture), are just a few exercises that can be performed without any equipment.

Some guidelines to remember:
Add resistance training for all major muscles, at least twice per week
Perform 8-15 repetitions per exercise
Perform 1-3 sets per exercise
The last 2-3 repetitions should feel very difficult (without breaking form)

One last thing about muscular fitness. The more muscle you have, the more calories you're going to burn, even at rest! And, who doesn't like that?!