Strength Training Guidelines
- Always warm up prior to lifting: 5-10 minutes of light cardio will prepare your muscles and circulatory system for exercise. This will make it more safe and effective.
- Perform a warm up set for each exercise in your program: This further warms up the muscles and tendons in the exact way they are to be worked. It also preps your nervous system for the specific movements performed.
- Lift and lower your weights in a controlled manner: Don’t use momentum to lift the weight. 2 seconds up and 4 seconds down is sufficient to negate momentum. Think constant tension when working out.
- Breathe: Don’t hold your breath. Try to breathe out as you lift the weight up. If this is too much of a distraction just breathe normally.
- Pay attention to your posture and form: Stand upright or keep your back straight if bent over. Do not let your body sway out of your original posture in order to lift the weight. If you cannot lift the weight without swaying, you need to lighten the weight.
- Work large muscle groups first: The exercises that work the largest muscle groups demand the most energy so perform those first while you are fresh. The order I use is Legs, Chest, Back, Shoulders Arms, and Abs. You can throw in calves at the end if you like.
- Keep rest to a minimum: Only rest as long as it takes to catch your breath or until your muscles are recovered enough to lift the next weight for you planned rep range. Generally, the heavier I go, the longer I rest before hand.
Planning your workout.
For beginners, you want to choose about 8-10 exercises, which comes out to about one exercise per muscle group. Make sure to pick at least one exercise form each group in order to maintain muscular balance and injury prevention. Some examples are:
- Quadriceps: Squats, lunges, leg extension and leg press machines
- Hamstrings: deadlifts, lunges, leg curl machine
- Chest: bench press, chest press machine, pushups, pec deck machine
- Back: one-armed row, seated row machine, back extensions, lat pulldowns
- Shoulders: military press, lateral raise, front raise
- Biceps: bicep curls, hammer curls, concentration curls
- Triceps: triceps extensions, dips, kickbacks
- Abs: crunches, reverse crunches, oblique twists
Sequence of Exercises
- Work large muscle groups first. The exercises that work the largest muscle groups demand the most energy so perform those first while you are fresh. The order I use is Legs, Chest, Back, Shoulders Arms, and Abs. You can throw in calves at the end if you like.
Picking your weights
- Pick up a light weight and do a warm up set of the exercise of your choice, aiming for about 10 to 15 repetitions. I generally use 50% of my max weight.
- Perform an intermediate set for 5-8 reps. This allows you to prepare further for your heaviest weight without fatiguing the muscle. I generally use 75% of my max weight.
- Finally pick a weight you can perform 8-12 reps with slow perfect form. Quadriceps are an exception and respond well to 20 reps or so.