Strength training is not just for bodybuilders and power lifters.
Strength training, to me, is a fundamental part of any training cycle. It is the foundation for a stronger end result. When training for strength, you should mainly stick with the big compound movements like squats, bench press, dead lift etc. I've always felt that these exercises are the “bread and butter” of any training routine.
When starting from scratch (new to training altogether), I would not advise jumping into a strength training program. The best thing to do is to start with a general fitness program. The length of this fitness program will vary from person to person. Some may only do this for 3 – 4 weeks, whereas someone who is extremely unconditioned may need a few extra weeks.
Once you have had a few weeks or months of general fitness conditioning, you can then move on to strength training.
Guys who train year-in-year-out should also, in my opinion, have a strength training program thrown in as part of their macro cycle. When training for strength, you would typically use a 3 sets of 10 reps range, and, to start with, should do an all-over-body routine 3 times per week. Again, 8 – 12 weeks will be a good timescale for this.
When training on this type of program, you need to look at the amount of weight that you are lifting. You should be performing 10 reps of the exercise at about 75-80 % of what you can lift for 1 rep using the correct form.
I am once again going use advice that I have gleaned from one of my most valued mentors…. Rocky Balboa. 🙂
In one of his most recent films; “Rocky Balboa,” there is a great example of strength training. Rocky's coach is deciding on Rocky's training program for his fight. His coach decides that he has too many problems to train for endurance so they decide to build Rocky for strength.
Now this is not the usual “Rocky Montage” where you see him running up mountains, catching chickens, working a speedball and killing it with a skipping rope — This is Rocky throwing some big weights around and building some big strength with squats, barbell bench press, shoulder press and some Olympic lifts.
Rocky's coach on strength training:
“To beat this guy, you need speed… You don’t have it, and your knees can’t take the pounding, so hard running’s out. So what we're calling on is good old fashioned blunt force trauma… horse power, heavy-duty cast-iron pile-driving punches that will have to hurt so much they’ll rattle his ancestors! Every time you hit him with a shot, it's gotta feel like he's tried kissing the express train!”
An example of a beginner’s strength training program would be something like the below:
5 MINS EXERCISE BIKE
|FLAT BENCH PRESS|
|REVERSE GRIP PULL DOWNS|
|LEG PRESS MACHINE|
|LYING LEG CURL|
|MACHINE SHOULDER PRESS|
|TRICEP PUSH DOWNS|
5 MINS EXERCISE BIKE
Remember that strength training can provide a very solid foundation for any type of resistance routine. With this strength training foundation in place, you will find that it is a great precursor to a bodybuilding routine or body toning routine.
As you have built the strength in your muscles, these muscles are ready to take up more intense workouts and you will find that you develop quicker than someone that has skipped the strength training stage
If you give it a go, or try any of the sample programs, please let me know about your progress. I will answer any questions as soon as I can. Best of luck!
If you want to know more about how you can incorporate strength training into a full year of progressive training to optimise your fitness goals, follow this link and feel free to ask any questions. I will always help out where I can.
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