When starting out with strength training it can be a little confusing and daunting. One of the simplest ways to determine how much weight you need to be using is to identify your goals. Are you performing strength training exercises to battle the bulge, to increase your muscle bulk, or to increase your strength? Each goal will require a different weight range and technique. Read on for further clarification.
* Starting out.
When just starting it is vital to get the movements right. A personal trainer, or a gym supplied trainer will be able to help you. It is important to remember that you cannot do weight training on consecutive days. You must have at least 1 day of rest in between. 1-3 sessions per week is the recommended frequency.
To determine your starting weight you should select a weight that allows you to only perform the selected number of repetitions in 1 set while maintaining the correct motion. The last exercise in the repetition should feel impossible, but still be achievable. Start off with a reasonably light weight and keep adding the pounds until you reach your starting weight, as we have just described.
* Increase strength. Your ideal weight will only allow you to perform 12-16 repetitions, resting for 20-30 seconds between 1-3 sets.
* Increase muscle mass. Your ideal weight will only allow you to perform 4-8 repetitions, resting for 1-2 minutes between a minimum of 3 sets. Beginners will need to work up to these sorts of weights and will also need to have a spotter looking out for them to prevent accidents and to ensure correct form.
* Tone up, lose fat. Your ideal weight will allow you to perform 10-12 repetitions, resting for 30-60 seconds between 1 and 3 sets.
* Warming up is essential to prevent strains, tears, and other injuries. Your first set of exercises should be done with very light weights to warm the muscles up and get the blood flowing. Your second set of exercises should be done with heavier weights that are going to start to tire your muscles.
* Momentary muscle failure (MMF). Unlike organ failure, this condition will not kill you. (Although it may well feel like it at the time.) MMF is what serious strength trainers set out to achieve, because it is at this point that the muscle group you are working will not be able to continue with the exercise. At this stage it is important to not cheat or alter your form. Just stop. Your muscle has just been stimulated into doing something it couldn’t, and it will reward you by adding extra fiber and strength.
MMF is a serious technique used by strength trainers to increase the lean muscle tissue. MMF is not to be confused with muscle fatigue, when your muscles are tired but still capable of performing. MMF is at that moment when you cannot physically do anymore and follows on from muscles that are tired.
* Upping the weight. Roughly every week, you should be adding extra weight and repetitions. Once you can comfortably perform 16 repetitions perfectly, it is time to add on more weight. Once you are lifting considerable weights you can drop your repetitions back to 12. Strength training will only succeed if you keep your body challenged. Change your routine about every 6 weeks to keep your muscles challenged.
The weight that you should be using for your strength training exercises will be determined by both your goals and your initial levels of fitness and strength.