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When it comes to strength training there are dozens of paths you can follow. There’s everything from high repetition to low repetition, dumbbells to machines, heavy weight to low weight. How can anyone choose the right program?

The choice should be based on your wants and needs. Whether your goal is muscular strength, power, size or endurance, there are proven guidelines based in science to help you get results.

If your training has lacked results and/or focus, utilize these recommendations to guide you on the path to success.

Developing Muscular Strength

If your goal is to develop muscular strength (the ability to exert more force) to improve how you lift, move or handle items, this requires moderate to maximum effort training program often with higher weights and lower repetitions.

Developing Muscular Power

Developing muscular power (the ability to use the highest power possible during a movement) requires a light to medium resistance at low to medium repetitions for several sets. Muscular power is often what is required for sports and work activities.

Developing Muscular Hypertrophy

Muscular hypertrophy is simply the increase in muscle size. This can often benefit those who wish to gain weight. Remember that hypertrophy does not always equal an increase in power or strength. They can happen, but less than if you were training specifically for power or strength. Training for hypertrophy involves moderate to high resistance with low to high repetitions depending on experience.

Developing Muscular Endurance

Finally there is muscular endurance, which is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to do repetitive work at submaximal resistance over time. Those wanting to work over a long period of time at a lower intensity will want to train at low to moderate resistance with high repetitions. Think of this as practice for the endurance activities you might do.

Rest is an important factor in all paths of resistance training. Although an often-neglected component of success, rest should come between sets to allow the muscle to recover and be ready to perform another set with significant effort and safety. Without proper rest between sets, you will not receive the expected results.

The American College of Sports Medicine provides us a nice breakdown of these areas of training with specific recommendations to achieve success.

If your training has lacked results and/or focus, utilize these recommendations to guide you on the path to success.

What are your strength training goals? What is your strategy in getting results?

Contributed by

Phil Hardesty
Exercise Physiologist

Have a healthy, happy and fit week!!

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