This article will give some guidance on what you need to take into account when considering various strength workouts. We will look at how a strength workout should form part of a good fitness and exercise program and examples of which strength exercises should be included. Also how strength workouts differ depending on the intended improvements required.
The first thing to realise when considering strength workouts is that they should not be considered in isolation. A strength workout should form part of your overall health and fitness program. For any workout to be really effective and achieve your desired results as quickly as possible you need to take the following factors into account:
What do you really want to achieve from a strength workout?
- Huge muscles and greatly increased strength, bodybuilding style.
This will require dedication and use of heavy weights, exercise machines and working with a partner or spotter. Strength workouts will consist of fewer reps with heavy weights. Generally there may be 4-8 reps and three or more sets. It is also important to have the correct rest periods to allow muscles to repair and grow. Diet and nutrition also play a vital part.
- Improved strength, lose fat and better muscle definition, a modern, lean and fit look.
Involves using comparatively less weight but doing more reps. Usually 10-12 reps and between one and three sets. Some of the newer workout programs claim to have better results with less reps, about 8-10. Rest period between sets should be less than one minute.
- Better strength but with really good muscle endurance, sports that require good strength and muscle endurance.
The amount of weight used now needs to allow you to complete between twelve to sixteen reps and 1-3 sets. A key factor for endurance is reducing the rest period between sets to roughly 30 seconds.
With any form of exercise it is important to get professional advice before starting and to build up gradually. This is important with strength workouts to avoid injury.
To increase strength means pushing your muscles hard, going beyond what they are normally used to, then as the muscles recover and repair they become bigger and stronger. This is why rest periods, diet and nutrition play a big part in you achieving your fitness goals. If the rest periods are too long or short and your body does not have the correct nutrients then results will most likely be poor.
Strength workouts will contain a variety of types of exercises to ensure that you workout the various muscle groups. You would start with a warm up, which may be light cardio or small weights, then move on to strength exercises for the larger muscle groups. Finally you might target some specific smaller muscle groups and then a warm down session.
Strength exercises may include lat pull downs, parallel bar dips, rowing, bench press, dumbbell press and dead lifts, these all generally require the use of some form of exercise equipment. This could involve joining a gym or alternatively buying equipment for home use.
Strength exercises that do not need special exercise equipment include push ups, pull ups, lunges and possibly squats. If you are only just starting strength training it can be good to start with a few of these, results will be limited and you should always get professional advice first.