Building a strength training routine can be one of the
trickiest parts of a fitness program. Ask 10 personal
trainers what the best strength training routine is and you
will get 10 different answers. Below are 7 must-know
guidelines to use when building a strength training
program. Each guideline provides the basic foundation that
all strength training programs abide by. Learning the
proper way to use free weights will greatly improve your
strength, fitness, and health levels.
1) We cannot strength train a muscle today and tomorrow. We
have to allow at least 24-36 hours of rest. Lifting on
consecutive days leads to overtraining, muscle fatigue, and
possible injury. All of our strength gains are made during
the rest time!
2) We cannot spot reduce. This means if we want to lose
weight in our stomach, doing 100 crunches a day will not
make our stomach flab disappear. To reduce stomach fat, we
need an overall reduction in body fat. Reducing overall
body fat results from eating well, regular exercise, and
3) We can spot tone. If we want bigger biceps, we can
strength train for hypertrophy (fancy word for muscle
growth). It is possible for us to focus on one specific
muscle group. This is sometimes called targeted training.
Studies have shown that machines isolate a muscle better
than free weights.
4) Our strength training routines must be regular and
consistent for results to take place. It took us years to
put on the weight. We shouldn’t expect it to all fall off
in three weeks. The best outcome from your fitness and
strength training program should be a lifestyle change.
Replace bad habits with healthy ones and reap the rewards.
5) Realize that our strength training routine must be
changed every 4-6 weeks. This will prevent our body from
hitting a plateau and it will keep things interesting. We
can change our method, our exercise or our intensity level.
Not changing our routine on a regular basis will
eventually stop producing results. We will continually
grow stronger as we progress with our fitness program. Be
sure your body is challenged on every workout.
6) Our strength training routines must be built according
to our specific goals. Specific goals may be: fat loss,
hypertrophy, maintaining weight or adding bulk. Each goal
will have a different method that is best suited for
optimal results. Someone who is interested in losing body
fat will strength train differently than someone looking to
increase muscle bulk. Knowing what your specific goals are
will aid in creating the best strength training program
7) Our strength training routines must work all of the
major muscle groups in our body 1-3 times per week. This
includes our biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs,
quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Leaving out muscle
groups will create an imbalance.
By using these 7 guidelines, anyone should be able to build
a decent and effective program. The idea is to develop a
safe strength training routine that provides us with major
health and fitness benefits. Strength training has
certainly increased in popularity over the past few years.
Knowing how to build a strength training routine for our
specific goals will move us one step closer to a fit body.