Monday, November 28, 2011

Strength Training Guidelines

Strength training is probably one of the most underrated aspects of any good fitness routine. Everyone should all incorporate some form of strength training into their routines at least 2-3 times a week. Women are especially wary of strength training. While the mass guidelines will allow you to build muscle mass, it's easy to lift for pure strength, or endurance as well. These guidelines may or may not work ideally for each person, but they are a good base to start a new program around. There are 3 mains focuses of anyone looking to start a strength training program, each with a different purpose, and slightly different programming.
  • Mass - This is also called Hypertrophy training, and is what people normally associate with strength training. If you're looking to have bigger muscles, this is the plan for you. 60-80% of your estimated 1 Rep Max* I'll outline how to figure this out at the end of the article. 60-80% of 1RM, 6-12 reps per set, for 3-6 sets. You should aim for 3-5 minutes of rest between strength exercises. 6-12 repetitions develops a balance of strength, muscle size, and endurance 

  • Strength - This is the focus of someone who's wanting to get stronger, but remain around their current weight without gaining a lot of muscle mass. Boxers, and Mixed Martial Arts fighters would benefit from this type of training. 80-90% of your 1RM, 1-5 reps per set, for 1-5 sets. This primarily develops strength, with more impact on muscle mass and none on endurance.

  • Endurance -  This should be a area of focus for anyone. Endurance training with weights is a great way to workout all the bodies different energy systems. Using a ideally light weight is best when training for endurance. These workouts may border on cardiovascular, although the added resistance makes for a great anaerobic workout as well! 40-60% of 1RM, 15-20 reps per set, for 2-4 sets. The exception with endurance training is the rest period, which should only be 1-3 minutes.
This should be a good basic guideline for strength routines for just about anyone. These workouts can be done with free weights, body weight, or machines.. the principles and guidelines stay the same for each principle.

1 Repetition Maximums are the maximum amount of weight that you can lift one time, this practice can be risky for beginners to weight lifting. I recommend using this formula.

1RM = ((Number of Reps / 30) + 1) x Weight Used
For example, if you were to lift 185 pounds 6 times, you calculate your one rep max as follows:
1RM = ((6 reps / 30) + 1) x 185 pounds
1RM = (0.2 + 1) x 185 pounds
1RM = 1.2 x 185 pounds
1RM = 222 pounds

For body weight exercises the 1RM can be a timed test to perform as many repetitions as you can of a specific calisthenic exercise (push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups) If you can do 100 Push-ups in 2 minutes, then a endurance workout for Push-ups would be 40-60 Push-ups, then rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat that 2-4 times.

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