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Expert Guides

All You Need to Know About Strength Training

Publish date: 20/07/2013

All You Need to Know About Strength Training

When you are starting out with your fitness routine, there might not be a whole lot of difference between training for muscle gain and training for strength gain. However, these two are distinct goals and required specific focus, training and nutrition once you advance in your workout programme. In this article we focus on the basics of strength building.

The Steps to Follow to Come up with a Good Strength Training Programme

The very first thing that you need to do is draw up a basic to-do-list. It could look like this:

  1. Defining the Goals:

    It is important to define your goals along with a time frame for achievement of the same. Its best to write down your long term goals so that you can draw up a plan later on which helps you achieve those goals. Remember to keep your goals realistic yet challenging.

  2. Listing up the Primary Strength Building Exercise:

    Most strength building routines will broadly comprise the following seven primary natural movements.

    • Bench press and close grip bench press.
    • Squat and front squat.
    • Deadlift and Romanian deadlift
    • Military press and push press.
    • Barbell and dumbbell rows.
    • Power cleans and Olympic lift variations.

    In addition to this some other exercises that are particularly good for beginners looking to rapidly build their strength like chin ups, pull ups, dips, etc. Usually more experienced trainers need to look at a lower rep (1-5 per set) training routine and beginners should be doing a higher rep (8-10 per set) routine for optimum results. In addition to the broad list given here, your fitness instructor needs to be consulted to come up with a more specific list that is tailored for your specific needs and goals.

  3. Making an Exercise Plan to Follow:

    It is extremely important that you make a plan of your exercise routine. This will be focused on your specific goals and will also include the timelines that you/your trainer have set for your desired results. It is important to include a progression plan in-built into this plan of yours. A focused plan with quantified goals, and timeline will help you to keep motivated and help you reach your goal faster.

  4. Drawing a Nutrition and Supplementation Plan:

    Nutrition is an extremely vital and important aspect of any training routine and unless you take appropriate care of your nutrition, your hard work will never give you the desired results. For this you have to draw up a plan that will include your food and supplement requirements, their dosages and timings. You will need to understand the calorie needs of your body, the food intake that you need and also a detailed plan for supplements that will help you in achieving your goals. It is important to remember that you will need to take appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals, fat and other nutrients to fuel your body. In addition you can take supplements to get quicker results. The basic supplements that you will need to look at are:

    • Whey protein - Fast digesting protein with high bioavailability and a quick source of energy.
    • Casein protein - Slow digesting protein to keep you going through long periods of no-food or stringent diet
    • Creatine -  Helps in regenerating ATP which is primary source for your workout which in turn helps you do more reps and sets leading to overall muscle mass increasing
    • Multivitamins - They are important for overall growth of muscle and strength building. They work more in the background but are equally important.
    • Glutamine - Helps in slowing down and decreasing muscle catabolism and improves muscle recovery. It also boosts the immune system
    • Nitric Oxide Enhancer - Helps increase blood flow delivering more nutrients to muscle tissue thereby prompting their growth.
    • Testosterone Booster - Helps to gain muscle, lift mood and enhances libido.  
    • BCAAs - Essential amino acids that help in muscle repair, growth, and recovery.
  5. Being Persistent:

    Conditioning and boosting your mindset is probably as important as your exercise routine and nutrition. It is important to remember that no matter how hard you work and how many supplements you take, it is only with time and persistence that real results will show. You cannot expect results to manifest overnight and so persistence with your plans and having the right mindset is extremely crucial to ultimately reach your goals.

    Some of the Most Popular Workout Systems and Routines:

    There are a variety of training programmes, systems and routines. They have their own advantages and can be adopted depending upon your specific needs and goals. However we have listed some of the most popular and notable workout systems that fitness enthusiasts swear by all over the world. Some of these are:

    • Starting Strength programme - More suited for beginners who wish to gain strength and muscles quickly
    • Westside Barbell Training - More advanced form of training suited to experienced lifters
    • Wendler’s 531 - A good combination of power-lifting and strength building routine
    • John Christy’s AB Split - An excellent strength building routine for the natural trainee
    • Smolov Squat Building - Specifically focuses on improving the squat and is not for beginners
    • Bill Starr’s 5x5 - A very popular routine with a 5x5 training approach revolving around 3 primary exercises
    • The Texas Method - Uses a limited number of compound movements and involves a 3 days per week routine
    • 3 Day Powerlifting Format - 3 day a week routine that is principally based around the big 3 lifts, viz. squats, deadlifts and bench press

Author: Susie