Training to your genes

Your power/endurance profile can give you a deep insight into the way to get the maximum results out of your training by adjusting to where you fall on the spectrum. Here's everything you need to know about training to your genes.

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When you first see your power/endurance profile it is important to note that this spectrum does not suggest that you’ll be better at power sports than endurance sports or vice versa. What it gives us an indication of is what your body is likely to adapt to in terms of body fat % decrease and muscle mass development from a genetically predisposed point of view.

In terms of response we mean: if you focused more on endurance activities you would improve/increase/maintain in muscle tone/very lean muscle mass with endurance based weight (high repetition weight) training and will have a greater fatigue resistance ability over a longer period of time. If you focused on power training- the response you would see is favourable muscle growth and great muscular speed, power and explosive development.

You’ll know that the insights that genetic testing can offer you can be invaluable in terms of your athletic fitness and training programme. You’re able to move away from the one-size-fits-all approach and tackle your training empowered by the knowledge about your genetic information that the DNA test gives you. The main aspect of the DNAFit fitness report includes an algorithm based on a combination of genes that tells you whether you respond better to power, endurance or mixed training.

Mixed Bias

Here we’ll be taking you through some of the best exercises to do if you’re a mixed responder but first, what exactly does this mixed response mean?

Mixed responders fall somewhere in-between the power and endurance scale, sometimes right or close to the middle. You’re more likely to respond to exercises that can be considered more standard but are varied over doing intense cardio training and lifting weights. It’s important to find an exercise regime that works for you and stick to it for the best results. High intensity training across-the-board is a great way to condition your body to reach peak athletic fitness. 

Exercises

Crossfit – it is widely considered that full-body, challenging CrossFit exercises are the best way to target all of the muscle groups. CrossFit is known for pushing people’s limits while drawing from a number of exercises. It is a strength and conditioning system that is designed to promote both broad and targeted physical fitness. The system combines a wide variety of exercises to ensure that a total fitness level is achieved. It burns fat, is a great workout, always at high intensity. Examples of exercises include:

-       Running

-       Jumping

-       Various weight lifting exercises

-       Sprints

And some unconventional techniques such as:

-       Tire flips

-       Bodyweight squats

-       Clapping push-ups

-       Thrusters

-       Steady rings that gymnasts normally use

Full body gym workouts/circuits are also a great way to keep that intensity high while focusing on making gains. It’s not so much about the repetitions but the fact that you’re engaging your body from a consistently new perspective.

Exercises include:

-       Dumbbell bench press

-       Rows

-       Dips

-       Leg press

-       Super-sets (combining cable training with push-ups or lighter weights)

-       cardio

-       Raised lunges

-       Squats

Hypertrophy Weight Lifting - Individuals with close to a 50/50 response to power and endurance would respond well to the hypertrophy range which is generally set between 8-12 reps. Those who have a great response to power would respond well to heavy weight resistance training of reps between 1-6, while those with a great response to endurance are likely to see great benefits and adaptations to higher repetition weight lifting set at 14 - 20 + reps per set therefore making the 8-12 rep range for those close to the 50/50 mark well suited, genetically, to see great adaptations.

Power Bias

Here we’ll be taking you through some of the best exercises to do if you’re a power responder but first, what exactly does this power response mean?

Being a power responder, naturally, means that your body responds better to exercises that are high in intensity and short duration which can be centred around big movements and heavy weights. You can deal with the strain of lifting more and you thrive on the intensity of it. Although it’s all about the big, the DNA test doesn’t intend to disillusion you from doing exercises that you like. Essentially the power response means that you’ll see bigger gains if you do sets with lower reps and heavier weights, around 80-100% of 1RM. By taking this into account you’re able to refocus your efforts in the gym, changing the way you normally train without, for instance, moving away from the cardio that you love to becoming a weight lifter. 

Exercises

Olympic lifts require a high level of technique and skill. Its can improve your cardiovascular system, strength and muscular coordination, development and size as well as great improvements of rate of force development.

Exercises include:

-       Power/hang cleans

-       Squats

-       Clean pulls

-       Push-presses

-       Bench presses

-       Deadlifts

-       Snatch

-       Split jerk

Make sure proper technique is followed or you may pick up an injury.

Plyometric exercises are designed to train your muscles for maximum force production in the smallest period of time, which is exactly what you’re designed for. The reps are normally low, while the intensity and effort is high. Ideal for improving muscular power, speed and explosiveness and rate of force development.

Exercises include:

-       Plyometric push-ups

-       Box jumps

-       Burpees

-       Bounding

-       Plyo squats

-       Depth jumps

-       Hurdle jumps

-       Medicine ball throws

Sprints - To run a short distance at near maximal speed definitely taxes your anaerobic system, making it one of the purest power activities there is to do. A way to include sprinting for its purpose of demolishing your anaerobic system can come about in 2 general ways: SIT or Sprint Interval Training - this includes sprinting at maximal effort for a duration between 8 - 20 seconds then resting between 3 - 8 minutes then repeating this sequence for about  12 times in a session. An easier variation to include, especially useful for beginners is just your general HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training where you’ll run at near maximal speed (about 80% of your max heart rate) for 20 seconds then resting for 20 seconds and repeating the sequence for a duration between 15 - 30 minutes. Feel free to adjust the work to rest ratio to suit your fitness level!

Exercise circuits like modifications of tabata or circuit training are also a great way to train the genetically predisposed power responders. The major benefit is that they can be done anywhere, help burn fat, are time efficient and are a good combination of cardio and strength. You get a great workout since it involves compound movements meaning numerous joints and muscles are engaged.

Generally those with a high response to power can include relatively heavy weights within these sessions and exercises can vary from simplistic lifts to more complex lifts.

Exercises include:

-       Push-ups

-       Lunges

-       Squats

-       Burpees

-       Mountain climbers

Endurance Bias

Here we’ll be taking you through some of the best exercises to do if you’re an endurance responder but first, what exactly does this endurance response mean?

Having a better endurance response can give an indication that your muscles are designed for repetitive work like high repetition weight training or longer duration cardio sessions. Your genes predispose you to find it easier to do exercises that require large amounts of oxygen and a continuous state of workout and results in leaner muscle mass development compared to bulky muscle mass development. If you are an endurance responder then you’ll find that you achieve your best results when training with many reps, over the usual 8-10, with slightly lowered weight. Your body will also thrive on cardio exercises, which you can split into varying forms of intensity for longer durations.

Exercises

Running – it’s the most affordable exercise and you can do it anytime. The benefits include improving your cardiovascular system, strengthening muscles, burning calories and helping to build strong bones as it is a weight-bearing exercise. You don’t need any special equipment. Ideally just get appropriate running shoes.

Cycling – a good way to exercise and anyone can ride a bike. Benefits include the fact that it is low impact and causes less strain on your joints. It is also a good muscle workout because you use all of the major muscle groups in your lower body as you pedal. Cycling helps to increase stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.

Water aerobics – type of resistance training done in a swimming pool. Swimming is also a fantastic way to increase your endurance while training major muscle groups but water aerobics requires less intensity. While working out in the pool the water provides your body with resistance that will activate different muscle groups. Helps improve cardio, low impact on joints and it's fun because anyone, of any age, can do water aerobics. 

Zumba/spinning – is an interval training workout that varies between high intensity and low intensity. It is designed to get the heart rate up and boost your aerobic endurance. Sessions can last up to 60 min. 

Yoga/Pilates - Some might say that these exercises bring the body and the mind together. The general concepts of these activities include exercise, breathing and meditation. However it will also be counted as an endurance activity and can result in great core, balance and proprioception development and will stimulate the development of leaner muscle mass.

High repetition weight training - This is lifting a light to moderately heavy weight for a rep range of 14 to plus 20 per set. This sort of weight lifting session improves muscular endurance capacity more than muscular strength and power capacity but will still result in muscle size development!

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