The number of methods and patterns for weight training are vast. Many are grounded in the competitive world of bodybuilding. It is important when you train with weights that you understand that there are different ways to train, dependent on what you want to achieve. How a body sculptor, a member of the general public or a competitive sportsperson use weights, and other methods to improve strength and power, can be dramatically different.
Weight Training Tips:
There are a number of key points to consider before engaging in any weight training program.
- If there are any exercises you don’t know in these programs ask a trainer at your gym for assistance.
- Rotational strength and stability, including abdominal strength, are important for both sport and everyday life. Ask your trainer for ideas on different exercises
- Make sure that your program addresses all parts of your fitness needs e.g. strength / aerobic / flexibility. Balance is important. This goes for your diet as well as your exercise / training program.
- Traditional weight-training exercises are only safe if they are performed properly with the correct technique. Don’t copy other people and assume that they are doing it right. Ask someone who knows.
- Don’t do a particular weight program simply because it works for the ‘big guy’. Individual differences, genetics, training history and nutrition are just a few of the factors that will affect how you respond to a program.
Basic Rules of a Weight Training Program:
There are a number of rules that define how weight programs are put together. In the interests of learning proper technique we strongly recommend that you enlist the help of a trainer. For those that have been training for a long time, don’t presume that your way is the only way. Many people have good ideas that you can incorporate into your training patterns.
- Exercise is progress from large muscle groups to small (e.g. squats before hamstring curls, bench press before triceps press-down, legs before upper body, chest before shoulders, back / chest / shoulders before arms)
- The number of reps per set will affect the training result (e.g. 8-12 for building muscle, 4-8 for building strength, 1-4 for building maximal strength)
- Most exercises have 3-4 sets. Occasionally more or less are appropriate
- Most programs have 4-8 exercises with 3-4 sets per exercise
- The body can be split into individual body parts (body building) or whole body or, whole body / upper body splits
- Weight training can be mixed with other training like cycling or can be performed in a circuit, but mixing training modalities generally results in compromised results (e.g. a pump class saves time but has lower results than a strength and aerobic session performed separately)
- Your strength program should be changed every 4-8 weeks to maintain a stimulus for strength gains. Variety is the spice (e.g. change bench press for dumbbell press every other week)
- As a general rule your movements should be controlled coming down and more aggressive going up. There are exceptions to this rule.
- A muscle needs a minimum of 48 hours to recover from a weights session so bear this in mind when you plan your weekly training schedule
- All weight programs should be balanced within the individual session to include all major muscle groups or be balanced between the sessions that make up a split routine.