Selection, Frequency and Intensity are of the Essence
Weight training is one of the most efficient forms of physical activity when it comes to fat loss and the general reshaping of the body. However, in order to achieve maximum results, you must plan your exercise routine very carefully, respecting the four governing principles of strength training: the proper selection of the exercises, the frequency, the intensity and the volume of the trainings.
Selecting the Right Exercises
The optimal duration of a weight training session is about 30 minutes, so you need to select the exercises that work the major muscle groups with maximum efficiency. When selecting the exercises, it is generally recommended to go for the more life-like exercises, like the ones that move several joints and muscle groups instead of the ones that focus on only one, isolated muscle group like biceps curls.
Proper Training Intensity and Matching Volume
The intensity of the weight training session is determined by the number of exercise sets, the number of repetitions performed in each set and the size of the weights used. When deciding upon the intensity of your training session, you must always take into account your general level of fitness.
If you are a beginner in weight training, you cannot expect yourself to be able to lift heavy weights in long sets, so it is a good idea to start with multiple sets and smaller weights and to increase the workload gradually.
You always need to focus on how your body reacts to the training load: if you reach a level when you do all the exercises in your plan without getting tired, you must increase the intensity of the training. Higher volume training usually goes with lower intensity – in other words, if you perform a set of 8 repetitions of biceps curls, you can do it with larger weights, but if you start doing 10 repetitions, then you must decrease the weight.
Adequate Frequency for Well-Defined Training Goals
The greatest myth in bodybuilding is that you must lift everyday to gain muscle.
Weight training is efficient only if you allow your joints and muscles to respond to the training, that is, if you let your body recover after you worked it hard. The process of muscle building does not stop at the end of session – the body continues to generate muscle fibers for several days after a really exhausting session, so if you want the workout to take effect, you need to alternate intensive trainings with days when you rest and don’t work out. Similarly, you must introduce pauses between the exercise sets as well, to allow your cardiovascular system to recover after the exercise.
Frequency, intensity, volume and the types of exercises selected are all interdependent, making exercise planning a very complex process. If you want your training to be as efficient as it can be, you must always design your trainings with your training goals and physical fitness in view. If your exercise plan respects your individual needs and you respect the training plan strictly, you will be able to avoid undertraining, overtraining and injuries, and you will obtain amazing results in a short period of time.