Like nutrition, Strength Training is not a “one size fits all” proposition. Not only do we all have different body types, we also have different goals for our bodies. Some want to add size, others fear getting too big. Some want more strength, and are unconcerned with their appearance, while others simply want to look good.
At the end of the day, there are base models that apply for each type of training objectives. And there are also approaches for people on the go, whose exercise time is limited, and therefore want the most “bang for the buck”.
The following is brief overview of the training model endorsed by the American Council on Exercise:
General muscle fitness: 1-2 sets, 8-15 reps, 30-90 seconds rest, varied intensity
Muscular endurance: 2-3 sets, over 12 reps, less than 30 seconds rest, 60-70% of 1 rep maximum
Muscular Hypertrophy (increased size): 3-6 sets, 6-12 reps, 30-90 seconds rest, 70-80% of 1 rep maximum
Muscular Strength: 2-6 sets, less than 6 reps, 2-5 minutes rest, 80-90% of 1 rep maximum
The majority of the population is either looking for general muscle fitness, or muscular hypertrophy. If you have been sedentary for any period of time, the general muscle fitness model is your best bet, so let’s start there.
From a time standpoint, figure the following:
- Each repetition should be slow and controlled, approximately 6 seconds in length: 2 seconds up, 4 seconds down
- Each set will probably average around 10 reps, which equates to 60 seconds.
- Adding in an average of 60 seconds rest, if you are diligent, you can approximate each set to take up 2 full minutes
- If you are limited on time, you should have multiple workouts from which to draw, and choose the one that matches your time available (i.e. if you have 20 minutes available for strength training, pick the workout that totals 10 sets)
- The shorter the workout, the higher the number of compound movements (involving multiple muscle groups, such as a chest press or seated row), versus isolation movements (such as triceps extension or biceps curls).
- The best rule of thumb is, the less time you have, the higher the workload (total weight) you should lift in any given workout.
For more information, or to consult with a personal trainer, please email us at Info@FitnessWellnessHealth.com.