General Guidelines for Strength Training 1. Train with a high level of intensity. It has been shown that the harder you train (intensity), the greater the adaptive response. A high level of intensity is characterized by performing an exercise to the point of concentric (positive) muscular failure, i. e., you " ve exhausted your muscles to the extent that the weight cannot be moved for any more repetitions. 2. Follow the 'double progression' technique in regards to repetitions and weight.

For a muscle to increase in size and strength it must be forced to do progressively harder work. Your muscles must be overloaded with a workload that is increased steadily throughout the course of your program, often referred to as progressive overload. Therefore every time you work out you should attempt to increase either the weight you use or the repetitions you perform relative to your previous workout. Each time you attain the maximum number of repetitions, you should increase the resistance for your next workout. The point to remember is that the weight must always be challenging. The resistance should be increased in an amount that you are comfortable with, usually approximately 5-10%3.

Perform one-two sets of each exercise. In order for a muscle to increase in size / strength it must be fatigued or overloaded for an adaptive response to occur. It really doesn't matter whether you fatigue your muscles in one set or several sets - as long as your muscles experience a certain level of exhaustion. Numerous research studies have shown that there are no significant differences when performing either one, two or three sets of an exercise, provided, of course, that one is done with an appropriate level of intensity, to the point of concentric muscular failure. 4. Reach concentric (lifting phase) muscular failure within a prescribed number of repetitions.

The general recommendation is 8-12 reps, but this can vary from individual to individual and for different body parts and depending on the individuals goals. Normally, a rep scheme may be anywhere from 6-10 to 12-15.5. Perform each repetition with proper form. This one we can't stress enough as it's such a common mistake, especially among young trainees. A repetition should be performed by raising and lowering the weight in a deliberate, controlled manner. So how many seconds per repetition?

The general guideline is a 6 second repetition consisting of a 2 second lifting (concentric) phase, followed by a 4 second lowering (eccentric) phase. The emphasis is placed on the lowering, or negative, as research has shown this to be the most productive part of the rep. Thus in a 8-12 rep scheme with the above guidelines, each set should take you between 48-72 seconds until you reach concentric muscular failure. NOTE: Do not pause at any point of the range of motion to let the muscles rest. 6. Train for no more than one hour per workout.

If you are training with a high level of intensity, more than one hour is counterproductive, as it increases the probability of over training due to a catabolic hormone called cortisol. Over training, next to injury, is your worst enemy. 7. Move quickly between sets. The transition time between each set varies with your level of conditioning. You should proceed from one exercise to the next as soon as you catch your breath or feel that you can produce a maximal level of effort.

After an initial period of adjustment, you should be able to recover adequately within 1 to 3 minutes. 8. Exercise the major muscle groups first. The emphasis of your exercises should be your major muscle groups (i.e. your hips, legs and upper torso).

9. Do not split your routine - do not work your body on successive days. First, split routines lead you to believe that more exercise is better exercise. Remember HARDER exercise is better. And if you train harder you MUST train briefer, not longer.

You cannot train hard for a long period of time. Thus, out of physiologic necessity, people who use a split routine have to reduce the intensity of their exercise which leads to less growth stimulation. Second, split routines use up more of your valuable RECOVERY ABILITY. Recovery is the chemistry that is necessary inside your body for the adaptive response to occur.

Thus split routines can lead to your worst enemy again - over training. 10. Get ample rest after each training session. Believe it or not, your muscles don't get stronger while you work out. Your muscles get stronger while you recover from your workout. After high intensity training your muscle tissue is broken down (although that's a very basic way of describing it) and the recovery process allows your muscle time to rebuild itself.

Therefore, it is suggested that you strength train 2 to 3 times per week on nonconsecutive days (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Monday, Thursday). 11. Perform a proper warm-up and cool-down. Warming up, including light aerobic activity and stretching is a safeguard against injury.

The change to higher temperature also augments speed of movement and power potential. A cool down can include stretching and light aerobic exercise. To help reduce soreness with resistance training, stretching can decrease any tightness in the muscles, tendons and ligaments and aerobic exercise can help prevent blood from pooling in your exercised muscles which may reduce lactic acid buildup. 12.

Keep accurate training records. Training records are a way to measure your progress. It is important that you keep an up-to-date, written record of each exercise that you perform during every workout.