TRAINING GUIDELINES / PROGRAM DESIGN
survey of strength training programs implemented by strength coaches and
personal trainers would produce a wide array of training philosophies,
routines, and strength training jargon.
When it comes to evaluating the plethora of strength training
information available it is important to be an informed consumer.
The guidelines of safe, efficient, and
effective comprise a simple but comprehensive framework for understanding and
designing strength training programs.
activities in the strength training program must be performed in the safest
all exercises in a slow and controlled fashion. By performing exercises slowly, the muscles
being worked are forced to spend more time under tension (working). This is what allows for increases in
strength, not how much weight is lifted.
In addition the amount of stress on the joints is greatly reduced.
dangerous exercises. Some exercises are considered by some to
be superior because of their "sport specific", or "functional carry
over". These assumptions are based
not on scientific literature and findings but on weight lifting folklore
and anecdotal evidence. The bottom
line is any exercise will increase strength and power as long as the individual
works hard. Some exercises are
safer then others, our goal is to choose the safest possible (yet still
productive) exercises. An injury is
bad; a weight room injury is inexcusable.
through a pain free range of motion.
Choose exercises that
allow you to exercise through a full range of motion with no pain. Understand the difference between pain
and discomfort. Pain in the joints
is bad; discomfort in the muscles is good.
in this instance can be defined as the ability of the strength training program
to stimulate a desired response in the shortest amount of time. Hard working individuals are the best
kind. They are willing to spend
countless hours preparing for the sport, watching films, running drills, and
practicing skills. In these areas more
is defiantly better in order to have perfect execution of a skill. Unfortunately the same rule does not apply to
strength training. Intensity of effort
is the determining factor on improvement, not how many sets or how many
exercises. Work hard on all exercises
and strive to reach muscular fatigue in as few sets as possible. Muscular
fatigue is classified as the point when no more repetitions can be performed
with good form in a safe manner.
training is a great activity provided the individual is gaining the benefits
(stronger muscles and bones).
Unfortunately, just doing the exercises is not enough. One must strive for improvement on each
exercise if the workout is going to be effective.
In reality one tough workout means
nothing. In order to get stronger you
must commit to training and make it a habit and not miss workouts. On average you need to strength train 2-4
days each week. It is also important to
have a training program and stick to it; resist the temptation to change your
workouts too frequently. In addition use
whatever equipment you have available, whether it is barbells, dumbbells,
machines, rocks, or your bodyweight.
training must not only be intense but must also be progressive. Every workout, on every exercise, the
individual must try to either increase the amount of resistance lifted or
number of repetitions performed. (Progression does not have to be in
Herculean amounts. 2-5 pound increases
or 1-2 rep increases is fine. The
important thing is to make progression a priority)
Here is a
chart to guide you through when to increase the resistance and by how
much. This chart is broken down by
exercise modality and is based on a 12 repetition goal.
The repetition is the most important aspect of your
training program, since this is where strength is gained or lost. Unfortunately this is often the most over
looked, simply lifting weights up and down will not generate maximum strength.
the weight under control. It should take approximately 2-3 seconds to
raise the weight. This is important
early in exercise as the weight may seem light. As the set progresses and
fatigue sets in try to lift as fast as you can under control, this is how
maximum muscular strength is developed. (fast twitch muscle fibers)
in the contracted position. I will use the example of the leg
extension. Raise the weight and
then pause when the leg is extended.
This will cause every muscle in the quadriceps to contract
maximally and get stronger. With
out this pause some muscle fibers will not be reached and maximum strength
will be lost.
the weight slowly. Lowering the weight uses the same
muscles as raising the weight does.
Lowering the weight slowly allows the targeted muscle to work
harder and therefore get stronger.
Chart progress. A
workout chart is the most important workout tool. This is the only record you have to measure progress
and see what works and what doesn't.
Sample workout charts are enclosed.
of Movement. Essentially, there are
two types of movement single-joint and multiple-joint. A single joint exercise involves range of
motion around 1 joint. The advantage of
a single joint movement is that it usually provides muscle isolation. A multiple- joint movement involves more than
one joint, causing more muscle mass to be worked. As a rule of thumb most workout scripts
should include both multiple-joint and single joint movements.
of exercises. When ever possible exercise muscle groups from
largest to smallest: (hips, legs,
lower leg, chest, upper back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, forearms, abs,
lower back). Neck exercise should
be done at the beginning of the workout, since they are an injury prone
site that needs attention.
options. It does not matter whether you choose to use barbells,
dumbbells, machines, manual resistance, or rocks. The muscles do not have eyes, or
cognitive ability therefore can't determine where the stress is coming
from (what type of exercise). Use
what ever equipment you have available that can be done safely.
design / Workout Systems. An exercise routine can take numerous forms, the
only limitations are: available equipment and ones imagination. The order of exercises and equipment
used is not the most important factor when designing a program. The attention to how each exercised is
performed, and charted is the critical element. The following is a sample of some
commonly used designs, these are by no means perfect and the only way to
do things. Exercises can be added
or substituted, based on personal preference, and available equipment.
Barbell Bench Press
Db overhead press Press
Underhand Lat pulldown
Triceps Push downs
Low Back Extension
DB incline press
Db Bent over row
Db Lying Triceps Extension
Leg Curl (MR)
Lateral raise (MR)
DB overhead press
MB Ab Crunch
Sets / Reps.
There is a much heated debate among strength training
professionals on how many sets should be performed and for how many reps. Significant evidence exists supporting the
fact 1 set of each exercise can produce equal benefits as performing multiple
sets. As a general rule a comprehensive
workout can be performed using 12-18 sets per workout ( total body
How many repetitions preformed should be based
on an individuals goals, personal preference, and time of year (in season vs
off season). There is no difference between high reps and low reps as far
increasing strength. Ones genetics will
determine how much muscle is gained in regards to strength training. The biggest myth in strength training is low
reps with heavy weights will increase muscle size, and light weight for high
reps will tone muscles. In regards to
how many reps, the muscles don't have little rep counters to calculate the
appropriate amount of exercise needed to get stronger. Any muscle responds to tension and the longer
it is exposed the greater amount of strength will be achieved.
Time Under Tension
Reps ( 6 sec. each)
Post Fatiguing repetitions can be performed to
increase intensity of ones workout.
These can take the form of breakdowns or manual resistance.
Strength Trainings Bottom Lines:
- Strength training is vital to athletic success
- Training should be performed consistently throughout
- Train progressively and purposefully
- Specific exercises, sets and repetition schemes are not
- Intensity of effort should become you number one