Success with Strength Training

Strength training is the most effective way to turn your body into a fat burningmachine and stay in great shape! It is the most productive form of exercise thereis! In order to be successful with strength training there are some basic principlesthat must be followed if you want to receive the many benefits which strengthtraining has to offer! The three most critical factors are progressive overload, intensity, and recovery. Progressive overload simply means that you must force your muscles to work hardereach time. That means you can’t use the same weight every workout, regardless of howmany sets or reps you do. The best way to do this is by attempting to increase theresistance / weight used and, or increase the number of repetitions performed ateach workout.

Intensity is also very important. You must force your body to increase its strength.For example, if you typically do 3 sets of 10 reps on the leg press at 115 pounds,and your legs are capable of doing 16 reps, why is your body going to make anyimprovements? Your body will only add muscle if you force it to work at a higherlevel than it is used to. The most effective way to overload your muscles is toperform one or two sets per exercise, and continue each set to muscular failure.That means continuing each set until no more repetitions are possible. Challengeyourself!

Once you have overloaded the target muscle group you must then allow for properrecovery and over compensation. This means you must rest long enough to allow forrecovery of the targeted muscle group, the nervous system, refill glycogen stores(Energy stored within your muscles), and also allow enough time for the muscles tomake improvements or increases. This process takes time. Generally, it takes between2-7 days to recover from a strength workout! The harder you work the longer it takesyour body to repair. Don’t short-circuit your progress by strength training toooften!

Basic Guidelines for Successful Strength Training

· Strength train no more than three times per week!

· Perform 1-2 sets per exercise!

· Choose 1-2 exercises for small muscle groups and 2-3 for large muscle groups. (ex.2-3 exercises for legs, back, chest, and 1-2 for arms, shoulders, etc.)

· Choose no more than 8-10 exercises and work hard on them! . Always keep a recordof all workouts! . Take each set to failure or fatigue!

· Perform each exercise SLOWL V! Force the muscle to do the work — NOT momentum!

· As soon as you see a slow down in progress it’s time to make a change to yourprogram!

Below are some sample workouts and frequently asked questions regarding strengthtraining.

Full-body Workout 1-2 x per week (approx. 30-40 mins.)
Lat pull-down 2 sets Chest press 2 sets Leg press 2 sets
Lateral raise 1 set Bicep curl 1 set
Triceps pushdown 1 set Leg curl 1 set
Leg extension 1 set

Upper / Lower Split
2-3 x per week (approx. 25-40 mins)

A. Upper
Seated row 2 sets
Shoulder press 2 sets
Lat pull-down 1 set
Pectoral fly 1 set
Lateral raise 1 set
Bicep curl 1 set
Triceps pushdown 1 set

B. Lower
Leg curl 2 sets
Glute machine 1 set
Leg press 2 sets
Leg extension 1 set

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I lose the flab on the back of my arm or my spare tire?
A. It is physically impossible to only lose fat in one area. What you can do isdecrease body fat by burning more calories than you consume. Increase muscle tissuewith strength training and burn more calories all day long, even while you aresleeping!

Q. How often should I strength train if my goal is to burn fat?
A. 2-3 times per week would be great! You will build muscle tissue, which burnscalories 24 hours a day, and you will decrease the chance for excess calories to bestored as fat!

Q. What if I don’t want to bulk up? I just want to tone.
A. If it were that easy to bulk or get big nearly every guy in the gym would behuge] Women generally don’t have the genetic potential to build large muscles due tohormonal differences. Plus, don’t forget that adding muscle tissue to your body is agood thing! It makes everything you do much easier, reduces the chance for injury,and increases your metabolism!

Q. How many sets and repetitions should I do?
A. This will vary depending upon your goal. If you are training to increasestrength, due fewer sets but higher intensity (1-2 sets to failure per exercise).If training for muscle size, perform multiple sets (2-4 sets, but only 1 tofailure). The number of repetitions will vary also depending upon the speed at whichyou move the weight and your goals. In general, shoot for 8-12 reps.

Q. What are the benefits of strength training?
A. Strength training, if done correctly, can make some major changes to your bodyand mind! Here are just a few:1. Increased metabolism2. Increased strength and flexibility3. Increased muscle tone4. Reduced stress levels

Jesse Cannone is a certified personal fitness trainer, post-rehab specialist, nutritionist, and a national fitness presenter. He is also the author of Burn Fat FAST and A Bride’s Guide To Fast Fitness + Weight Loss in addition to many other popular fitness articles. He is known for his hard-hitting and to the point style and offers a great free email newsletter called Fitness Success News, which you can subscribe to at his website