I’m often asked about how to approach weight training, so I’ve pulled together some pointers to help get you started.
What will you be doing? Unless you are already very experienced with strength training and are happy to look at “splits”, I find that most of my clients enjoy and benefit from completing a full body routine. Ideally, a routine should be comprised of at least one exercise for your quads (front of your legs), glutes and hamstrings (back of your legs), your “push” muscles (think chest or shoulder press etc), your pull muscles (rows and pull ups) and your core (cores is not just abs guys- don’t forget that lower back!). This framework should enable you to develop a full body routine.
Some exercise ideas include:
Quads – squats, lunges, one legged squats, box jumps.
Glutes and Hamstrings– glute bridges, deadlifts, good mornings, step ups.
Push (chest, shoulders, and triceps) – overhead press, bench press, incline dumbbell press, push ups, dips.
Pull (back, biceps, and forearms) – chin ups, pull ups, dumbbell rows.
Core (abs and lower back) – planks, side planks, crunches, mountain climbers.
Remember to add some variety! It can be so easy to just keep going through the motions and complete the same routine month after month. But, your muscles will get bored, and so will you. Mix up your exercises regularly, and remember rest allows your muscles to grow! Allow sufficient time for your muscles time to recover (at least 24 hours for a moderate session, 72 hours for a more intense session) Progressing your programme is also important- if you start to get to 10 push ups with relative ease- change it up! Aim for 15, or for push up variations such as a staggered hand position, or a narrow grip push up.
There are 4 big “how’s?” when designing your own resistance sessions:
How many reps should I do?
This depends on your goal- whether it is strength, endurance or hypertrophy (or a combination of all 3!) The below is a quick guide to rep’s ranges:
· 1-5 Reps: build muscle and strength
· 6-12 Reps: build muscular strength AND endurance
· 12+ Reps: build muscular endurance and size
How much weight should I lift?This is easier than you may think to answer- you should try to lift enough weight so that you can complete your reps without losing form, without going too heavy so that you lose form and are unable to compete your reps. The best way to determine how much weight you can lift is through simple trial and error. Important: if you are new to weight lifting or you are trying an exercise for the first time, please always exercise caution, and go lighter.
How Many Sets Should I Do?3-5 sets is usually a good amount to aim for- this should ensure you are working hard, without causing excess fatigue.
How long should I rest for?
Below are some standard suggested rest times dependent on the amount of reps completed. Of course, these can be shortened or lengthened depending on your energy levels (although, if you aren’t feeling fatigued at all, it’s time to up that weight!)
· 1-3 Reps: Rest for 3-5 minutes
· 4-7 Reps: Rest for 2-3 minutes
· 8-12 Reps: Rest for 1-2 minutes
· 12 reps+: 45 seconds to 1 minute
And there you go! A lengthy post but one that I hope will provide a useful frame work for your resistance training programme.
“But what about cardio?” I hear you ask. Well, that blog post will be landing tomorrow…however in the meantime- weights BEFORE cardio (yep, really) and please, no more 30 minutes sessions on the x-trainer at level 1 resistance (You KNOW you aren’t working that hard 😊)