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Weight Training Basics

How to weight train:

Determining Your Goals


Without training goals you will just flounder and no progress will bemade. It is critical to any fitness program to have well identified goals, sothat you can then set objectives to be met. In this way you can have awell-developed fitness program that will meet your needs specifically!Below are several major goals with regard to strength training:

1. Muscular Endurance

If your goal is to be able to perform or moveloads over a sustained period of time, then you must identify this andtrain accordingly with weights; i. e. if you are involved in work or sportwhere the movement is highly repetitive (discrete, or continuous andclosed skills) in nature utilizing small amounts of force over sustainedperiods of time - then your strength training should reflect this. The normal load ranges for this purpose are between 70% 1RMand 50% 1RM, for approximately 2-3 exercise sets. The average rep range is approximately 12-20 repetitions. However, it is best to test for your rep ranges and perform asmany repetitions as possible with these loads. (You can increasethe load weekly or bi-weekly after re-testing your 1RM. ) In thisway the load and rep scheme is always specific to your individual muscular output. In general your rest periods should be about 20-30 secondsbetween sets.

2. Muscular Strength

If your goal is to be able to perform or movelarger loads over short periods of time and relatively short distances, then you must identify this and train accordingly with weights; i. e. if youare involved in work or sport where the movement skill is discrete andeither unpredictable (open skill) or predictable (closed skill), yet alwaysinvolving relatively heavy lifting (large force) - then your strength trainingshould reflect this. The normal load ranges for this purpose are between 90% 1RMand 80% 1RM, for approximately 3-5 exercise sets. The average rep range is approximately 1-8 repetitions. However, it is best to test for your rep ranges and perform as manyrepetitions as possible with these loads. (You can increase theload weekly or bi-weekly after re-testing your 1RM. ) In this waythe load and rep scheme is always specific to your individualmuscular output. In general your rest periods should be 2-5 minutes between sets.

3. Muscular Hypertrophy (Size Gains)

If your goal is to be able to maximize muscle size and move loads over a sustained period of time, then you must identify this and train accordingly with weights; i. e. , if youare involved in work or sport where the movement is a combination ofdiscrete or continuous, open and closed skills utilizing moderateamounts of force over sustained periods of time - then your strengthtraining should reflect this. The normal load ranges for this purpose are between 80%1RMand 70%1RM, for approximately 2-3 exercise sets. The average rep range is approximately 8-12 repetitions. However, it is best to test for your rep ranges and perform asmany repetitions as possible with these loads. (You can increasethe load weekly or bi-weekly after re-testing your 1RM. ) In thisway the load and rep scheme is always specific to your individual muscular output. In general your rest periods should be about 30-90 secondsbetween sets.

4. Re-proportioning (Body Shaping)

If your goal is to do what quitefew people these days would like to do and that is just look and feelhealthier, then you must identify this and train with a mixture of theabove goals and loads. If, as is more than likely, you feel that you arecarrying too much body fat or not enough muscle (yes guys and girlssuffer from both of these problems) then you should consider fourpossible things when setting goals: a) using a hypertrophy program toincrease your lean muscle mass; b) selecting or choosing relatively lowfat foods and eating more frequent meals (eat more lose weight and eatmore gain weight principle); c) selecting and performing greater amountsof cardiovascular exercise to promote the fat burning process. ; and d)utilizing a combination of endurance strength training and hypertrophytrainingThe normal load ranges for this purpose are between 80%1RMand 60% 1RM, for approximately 3-4 exercise sets. The average rep range is approximately 8-20 repetitions. However, it is best to test for your rep ranges and perform asmany repetitions as possible with these loads (increasing weeklyor bi-weekly) after re-testing your 1RM. In this way the load andrep scheme is always specific to your individual muscular output. In general your rest periods should be about 30-90 secondsbetween sets.


Determining Your Training Frequency

Without training frequency guidelines you will just flounder and noprogress will be made. It is critical to any fitness program to have wellidentified guidelines as to training frequency, so you can then setobjectives to be met. In this way you can have a well-developed fitnessprogram that will meet your needs specifically! Training frequencydetermines the outcome of any health and fitness regime and it is one ofthe most essential objectives. It determines the success of your routinebecause it determines your ability to recover from the physical andmental stresses of your workouts. Most exercise enthusiasts overtrainand flounder with little if any quality results for the effort put forth. Below are several major objectives with regard to frequency of strengthtraining:Ensure your body has time to recover between training days, therecovery system used in physical activity is the same system thathelps us fight the flu - it must be treated with a little respect!Be sure your body has the time to clear metabolic waste productsfrom exercise so the muscles can rebuild and utilize nutrients andthereby increase in size, strength and endurance.   Be sure to get the adequate rest and nutrition that is essential tocontinued progress. Always allow for at least 48-72 hours rest between performanceof the same exercise or working that muscle group again. MOREIS NOT BETTER!Do not perform split routines unless they are designed by aprofessional fitness consultant. Because rates of recovery forspecific muscle groups differ, poorly designed splits lead to asevere violation of the above guidelines! They arecounterproductive and the return on your time and energy is poorto say the least. Learn to recognize the signs of overtraining!


Determining your 1 RM and Training Loads


Without determining training loads you will just flounder and no progresswill be made. It is critical to any fitness program to have well identifiedloads, so you can then set objectives to be met. In this way you canhave a well-developed fitness program that will meet your needsspecifically! In order to effectively calculate your loads, you mustunderstand what 1RM is. 1RM (1 rep max) is the maximum amount ofweight you can handle for one repetition in good form. From this figureyou can determine all of your sets and their different load ranges. Determining loads is perhaps the most important and misunderstoodobjective for young old and athletes alike. The load used for a givenexercise set will determine the specific adaptation of the musclesinvolved in the exercise and hence the results derived from the exercise. The ability to predetermine your loads and the associated rep schemesper set influences the frequency of your training, the length of rest periodbetween sets, as well as the overall progress made through training! Youdo not go to a gun fight armed with only a knife. The general rep range is approximately 1-8 repetitions for strength, 8-12for hypertrophy and 12-20 reps for muscular endurance. However, it isbetter to use a load based on a percentage of your 1RM and to performas many repetitions as you possibly can without tiring. Every week ortwo, you should re-test your 1RM using the steps below and increaseyour loads appropriately. In this way the load and rep scheme is alwaysspecific to your individual muscular output. Although this method issomewhat tedious and time consuming you will only have to do thisevery couple of weeks and the results will be astounding. Rememberthat as you train your muscle energy systems also change and adapt. Your rest periods should be from about 30 seconds up to 5 minutes between sets.


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