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Weight Training Guidelines

 

 

SELECTING YOUR PROGRAM
Before getting started, select a weight training program that fits your goals, level of fitness, and time availabe.

  • Beginning Program
    If you are just beginning or getting started after a long layoff, easing your muscles, tendons, and ligaments into working out is essential.  Workouts are 2-3 days a week, 30-45 minutes, lifting light weights many times (15-20 repetitions.)

  • General Weight Training Program
    This maintenance program used by most weight trainers develops muscle tone, endurance, strength, and improves your shape.  Workouts are typically 3 days a week, 45-60 minutes, lifting medium weights a medium number of times (8-12 repetitions).

  • Body-Building Program
    For those wanting to continually improve his or her body, not just maintain.  Depending upon the level, workouts can vary from 3 times a week for 45-60 minutes for a beginner to 6 times a week for 2-3 hours for an advanced or competitive body-builder.

  • Strength & Power Program
    Athletes and power lifters wanting to make great increases in strength, power, and size.  Workouts are designed to lift heavy weight very few times (2.5 repetitions).

BEFORE YOU START
If you are in your mid 30's or older, overweight, or haven't exercised in a while, you need to get a physical from your doctor before you start a weight training program.

WARM UP & COOL DOWN
A good warm up of 5 minutes of stretching exercises or mild calisthenics increases your blood flow to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments - and helps prepare them for your upcoming workout.  You should also start your workout by lifting a light weight or your first set and add weight on your following sets.  At the end of your workout cool down with another 5 minutes of stretching which helps reduce muscle soreness.

LIFTING PROPERLY
To increase your strength, flexibility, and improve your shape in the shortest amount of time - proper technique is a must!  You need to keep the weight you are lifting under control at all time, avoiding swinging, jerking, arching, or bouncing movements.  Pull or press the weight evenly through your full range of motion.  Don't be concerned with how much you lift, but how you lift it!

LENGTH OF WORKOUT
Your workout can vary from 20 minutes if you are just beginning, 45-60 for most weight trainers, or 2-3 hours for an advanced body-builder.  The length of your workout will depend upon your program, number of exercises, sets, repetitions, and the amount of rest you take between sets.

NUMBER OF SETS
A set is a fixed number of repetitions (reps) or repeated movements of an exercise.  Most weight trainers attain their desired results in 2-3 sets.  If you are just getting started, 1-2 sets is recommended, and whereas serious lifters might perform 4-5 sets for each exercise.

NUMBER OF REPETITIONS
The general rule for most weight trainers is 8-12 repetitions (reps).  Beginning weight trainers should start out easy by performing 15-20 reps with light weight and gradually work toward 8-12 reps.  In contrast, a power lifter will only lift a heavy weight 2-5 times.

WORKOUTS PER WEEK
Three workouts a week is the preferred number for most weight trainers.  A typical workout schedule is M-W-F or T-TH-S, with rest days following each workout.  If you are beginning or coming back after a long layoff, you might train 2-3 times a week, whereas a hard-core body-builder might train 4-6 times a week.

RESTING BETWEEN WORKOUTS
It is important to have days off, or rest days, between you workout days.  This allows your muscles the time needed to recover and build for the next workout.  Training too often and too much is counterproductive, a tremendous waste of time, and greatly increases your risk for injuries.

REST TIME BETWEEN SETS
Resting between sets, usually 1-2 minutes, helps your muscles recover and get prepared for the next exercise.  However, if you want to burn more calories and attain greater stamina, reduce your rest time to 20-30 seconds.  Those lifting heavy weights need more time and require 2-3 minutes, or more to get ready.

HOW MUCH WEIGHT TO LIFT
Use the first couple of workouts to determine how much weight you should start out with.  Us as much weight as you can comfortably handle (with the last rep being difficult)  15-20 reps for beginners; 8-12 reps for most weight trainers; and 2-5 reps for pure strength and power lifters.

WHEN TO INCREASE WEIGHT
Once you are able to perform your sets and reps fairly easily, increase the weight.  Repeat, until sets and reps once again become easy - add weight and continue to repeat this pattern.

HOW TO BREATHE
Inhale at the beginning of each repetition, momentarily holding your breath at the most difficult part, exhaling at the end of the repetition.  DO NOT hold your breath for the entire repetition, which can cause you to pass out, especially if you are lifting weights over your head.

KEEP A RECORD
To help you plan out your weight training program, write down your exercises, sets, reps, and weight you lift for each workout.  This will help you stay on course and allow you to see how you are progressing.

FREE WEIGHTS vs. MACHINES
Free weights (barbells and dumbbells) and machines (Universal, Nautilus, Paramount, etc.) are both very effective for achieving excellent results in strength and improving your shape.  However, free weights develop coordination, balance, and strength machines can not, and are therefore preferred by many weight trainers, coaches, and athletes.

PREVENTING INJURY
Most injuries occur when trying to lift too much too soon, missing workouts, using improper techniques, and by die hard weight trainers working so hard they exhaust their muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Having consistent workouts, giving your muscles time to develop, the rest they need, and warming up properly greatly reduces your chance of injuries.

 

 
     
 

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