Strength training, also called resistance training, is an important method for controlling blood sugars without drugs in folks with diabetes.
A few months ago I read Hillfit: Stength, an ebook by Chris Highcock of Conditioning Research. It’s about improvement of hiking skills and enjoyment via strength training with without having to join a gym or buy lots of equipment. I’ve been on Chris’s program for the last five weeks.
One of the scientific review articles he cites in support of his recommendations is an eye-opener. Evidence-Based Resistance Training Recommendations is available free online. It’s published in Medicina Sportiva, which I’m not familiar with. I’ll confess I’ve read little of the hard-core literature on the science of strength training. It’s one of my more recent interests.
We recommend that appreciably the same muscular strength and endurance adaptations can be attained by performing a single set of ~8-12 repetitions to momentary muscular failure, at a repetition duration that maintains muscular tension throughout the entire range of motion, for most major muscle groups once or twice each week. All resistance types (e.g. free-weights, resistance machines, bodyweight, etc.) show potential for increases in strength, with no significant difference between them, although resistance machines appear to pose a lower risk of injury.
The article has got me questioning some of my long-held notions, such as how often to work out, number of reps moving a weight, speed of moving a weight, and whether I should stick with the free weights I tend to prefer. Why not see if your dogma is supported? Worth a look.
Fisher, James, et al. Evidence-based resistance training recommendations. Medicina Sportiva, 15 (2011): 147-162.