3 Basic Strength Training Key Concepts Before You Begin

If you‘re about to get started with a basic strength training program, there are a number of important concepts that you should be taking into account to ensure that you see the success that you‘re after.

Learning the basic strength training foundational elements that need to be in place can help make sure that you not only perform a workout that is going to bring you results, but that you also stay safe while doing so.

Many people rush into a strength training program without learning what they really need to know about how to do this exercise correctly.

Let‘s take a look at the main basic strength training concepts that you should take note of as you design your first training program.

Exercise Selection

The very first thing that you need to be considering is the exercise selection you‘ll choose to use. If there is one of the basic strength training concepts that does often go overlooked, this would most definitely be it.

Exercise selection is hugely important because this ensures that you are working all the main muscle groups in the body and, if chosen correctly, allows you to get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible.

Choose the wrong exercises and you‘ll be in the gym for at least an hour trying to work all the muscles in the body.

So which exercises are best?

The key thing to remember is that you must think multi-muscle. Basically, you want to aim to work at least two muscle groups at once with each and every movement that you do. If you‘re just working a single muscle at once, such as you would if you were doing a bicep curl for example, this is referred to as an isolation exercise.

While these can be beneficial for bringing out extra muscle definition and really targeting a lagging muscle group, they aren‘t going to be ideal for most beginners looking to get that foundation of strength that you‘re likely going for.

This said, better exercise choices to include in your strength training workouts would be moves such as the bench press, the push-up, the shoulder press, the bent over row, the pull-up, the squat, the lunge, the deadlift, the leg press, and the step-up.

Notice how those work more than one muscle at once, therefore you‘ll have to do fewer exercises overall to see similar results.

When forming your basic strength training program, you‘ll want to choose just one or two exercises for each muscle group in order to keep things balanced and ensure that you don‘t start to overtrain.

Reps, Rest, And Sets

Moving along, the next of the basic strength training concepts to note are reps, rest, and sets. These are the variables that are often adjusted as you progress onwards to ensure that you continue to see success with each week that passes on.

Reps refers to how many times you move from start to finish of the exercise before stopping to rest and all the reps you perform constitutes as a set.

So if you move from start to finish ten times before resting, you‘ve just done one set of 10 reps.

Rest, as the name suggests, is how much time you take between each set you perform.

Each of these variables can be further tweaked based on your goal set. The basic strength training guidelines are:

  • For maximum strength you want to be looking at performing in the 5-8 rep range, performing 3-5 sets per exercise and resting for 2-3 minutes between sets
  • For muscle size gains, you want to take the rep range slightly higher, up to 8-12 reps, performing 2-6 sets per exercise (depending on the exercise), and resting for 90-120 seconds. Size gains still need to revolve around lifting a heavier weight, but you need to evoke a slightly different stimulus in the body for it to occur
  • For muscular endurance, take the rep range to around 12-15 sets, perform 2-4 sets per exercise and rest just 30-60 seconds. This will involve using slightly lighter weights while you learn how to tolerate a higher rate of fatigue build-up.

Keep in mind that you don‘t have to just use one protocol each workout either. It‘s perfectly fine to mix and match them slightly for different exercises you‘re using in the program plan.

Progression And Periodization

The next of the basic strength training concepts to remember is with regards to progression and periodization.

Progression refers to making sure that you‘re improving from workout to workout. To ensure that you are in fact making progress, make sure that you are constantly doing something to create change and raise the intensity of the program.

This could come in the form of reduced rest, increased sets, increased reps, or a different level of weight. As long as you make a few improvements on one of these things each session, you‘re headed in the right direction.

Periodization on the other hand refers to structuring your workout program over time so that you focus on different elements at different times.

For instance, you might spend three months of your training primarily focused on gaining more muscle strength and training with heavy weights in the lowest rep range.

Then after that‘s finished you‘ll focus for three months on muscle size, taking things up a bit higher and adding more volume to the program.

Then finally, you‘ll spend a period of time focused on fat loss, really revealing all that hard-earned muscle you‘ve developed.

Periodization keeps your program more interesting and ensures that you never hit a progress plateau.

So there you have the key basic strength training concepts that you must keep in mind at all times. Strength training can provide you with so many benefits and is definitely the type of exercise to do if you want to make a complete body transformation.

That said, you need to formulate a proper program set-up and stay committed. It‘s when you do that that you will see results from your basic strength training workout.

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