Strength Training

Strength Training is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles. There are different methods when it comes to strength training. The use of gravity or elastic / hydraulic forces to oppose muscle contraction.  When properly performed, strength training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health, and well-being including increased bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength and toughness, improved joint function, reduced potential for injury, increased bone density, and a temporary increase in metabolism.  Training commonly uses the technique of progressively increasing the force output of the muscle through incremental increases of weight, elastic tension or other resistance, and uses a variety of exercises and types of equipment to target specific muscle groups.  Strength training is primarily and anaerobic activity, although some proponents have adapted it to provide the benefits of aerobic exercise through circuit training.  Strength training differs from bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting and strongman, which are sports rather than froms of exercise.  However, participants in these and many other sports often use strength training as part of their training regiment.

For developing endurance, gradual increases in volume and gradual decreases in intensity is the most effective program.

It has been shown that for beginners, multiple-set training offers minimal benefits over single-set training with respect to either strength gain or muscle mass increase, but for the experienced athlete multiple-set systems are required for optimal progress. However, one study shows that for leg muscles, three sets are more effective than one set.

Beginning weight-trainers are in the process of training the neurological aspects of strength, the ability of the brain to generate a rate of neuronal action potentials that will produce a muscular contraction that is close to the maximum of the muscle's potential.

Variable Training goal
Strength Power Hypertrophy Endurance
Load (% of 1RM) 80-100 70-100 60-80 40-60
Reps per set 1-5 1-5 8-15 25-60
Sets per exercise 4-7 3-5 4-8 2-4
Rest between sets (mins) 2-6 2-6 2-5 1-2
Duration (seconds per set) 5-10 4-8 20-60 80-150
Speed per rep (% of max) 60-100 90-100 60-90 60-80
Training sessions per week 3-6 3-6 5-7 8-14

Table reproduced from Siff, 2003

Weights for each exercise should be chosen so that the desired number of repetitions can just be achieved.

Strength training is the key to maintaining good flexibility. It takes your body parts through a full range of motion and if you use the right technique, you will be able to develop strength throughout an entire range of movement. The ability of the body to resist the stresses that can result from an injury can be increased by obtaining a greater amount of strength. That is true in the athletic world and it has its advantages in performing everyday activities, such as lifting or carrying objects. Strength contributes to the overall efficiency of the human body. Starting a strength training program, means you have started a new lifestyle because strength is reversible. It will decline if you do not continue to obtain a strength stimulus throughout your entire life