Workouts: Strength training rules you must follow


We diligently practice cardio exercises and workouts for weight loss, but we rarely focus onstrength training which is equally important for weight loss. Following are the general rules and principles for training to keep you in good shape in the long run and the six rules you must keep in mind for strength training.

images (1)Workouts: Strength training rulesBasic principles of training
Intense strength training helps to build strength and build/maintain muscle. While in the 80’s we were told how doing only cardio is sufficient and the be all and end all for fitness, in reality overall fitness requires a lot more than that. And strength training is an important part of it. Without muscular strength your chances of injuries in day to day activities are greater, and simple activities tire you faster as you will be weak. Plus, let’s not forget about joint and bone health and density, which is maintained by regular strength training.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Basic principles of training

Intense cardio for conditioning. Even though the benefits of cardio training are at times exaggerated, it cannot be denied that for overall health purposes, some amount of cardio training is a must. Having said that, it does not have to be long, slow and painfully boring cardio, you have a lot more interesting options that require much lesser time. Good examples being bodyweight finishers, kettlebell swings, etc.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Basic principles of training

Maintaining ideal body composition. Even though you maybe in decent shape right now, making sure that you do not get out of shape ever, should be kept in mind. For this of course your diet will play a vital role too, as will keeping stress levels in check.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Basic principles of training

Having good joint mobility and being flexible. As you age, your joint mobility and flexibility will tend to decrease, that is unless you do the required exercises to maintain good flexibility and mobility, and maybe even improve upon it.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Do compound exercises primarily- while this point has been made many times by top strength coaches around the world, it still remains one of the most important lessons that you can learn. Exercises like squats, rows, military presses will give you a lot more bang for your buck than what isolation workouts like crunches, leg extensions will ever give you. This is not to say that you should never do any isolation exercise, but just that keep the compound work the main focus and the majority of your workout.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Modify exercises where needed – you will not be tested on deadlifts, squats, Olympic lifts, etc and neither does your career depend on doing so. And since staying strong and injury-free is your goal, you might need to do modified versions of some classic exercises. For eg: if you do not have great mobility, then you may want to do deadlifts from a rack instead off from the floor, similarly squatting to parallel might be safer for you to stick to, rather than going any lower. Of course you can work overtime while doing these with the full range of motion as your mobility and strength improves, but till then, stay safe.

dumbbell-curl-2Workouts: Strength training rules

Avoid pushing to failure all the time- while most professional athletes work very hard, it is a myth that they train till they drop. Yes, you will need to push yourself, but trying to kill yourself at every workout, will only help to make you feel worse and cut back on progress. Instead of trying to feel that a truck ran over you after a workout, focus on working hard and stopping a rep or two short of failure. After all, considering that you got to go to office/look after your home and do other such work outside the gym, it will not feel too good if you have to drag your sore legs all the time since your workouts always make you too sore. Also be sure to focus on developing strength, rather than testing it all the time.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Train in the 5-12 rep range- going too heavy and doing single, double or triple reps is very challenging, and you need to have good technique to be able to avoid any injury. Also such heavyweights done often can be very stressful on your joints. On the other hand doing nothing but high reps with light weights is not really going to stimulate strength gains, and if overdone, then the isolation exercises can cause overuse injuries too.

So the ideal range in my opinion for general fitness enthusiasts is the 5-12 reps range. This rep range helps you to go heavy enough for gains, without hurting yourself. And yes, you should use the whole rep range, meaning do some exercises in the lower end like 5-7, some in the mid range (8-10 reps) and some in the higher end (11-12). This way you will stimulate the different muscle fibres for best benefits.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Make progress gradually- it’s a very common sight in a gym to see a skinny guy with poor muscular development trying to lift weights beyond his strength levels. And the results is, people laughing behind his back, and him accepting being in pain all the time as a way of living. If you wish to avoid becoming like one of these gym clowns, then be patient when trying to make progress.

In the first few months of training you will be able to add weight pretty rapidly, but thereafter it might take you 3-4 weeks before you can add a few pounds, and for the more advanced trainees it may take months before you can add more weight to the bar. However, listening to your body always works in your favour in the long term, so be patient.

Workouts: Strength training rules

Take deload weeks – while you may not be able to deadlift like Konstantin Konstantinov, your body still needs some back off weeks to be able to heal itself and keep progressing. No, don’t worry taking the scheduled deload weeks will not make you weak. On the other hand, you are likely to come back stronger since you would be fresher and the odd niggle here and there will be gone. So how often should you take a deload week?

In my opinion taking one every 4-8 weeks is a good idea. The more advanced you are the more frequently you need to deload, and the newer you are to strength training, the longer you can wait to take a deload week. And during these weeks cut back to lifting about 60% of the weights that you normally use.




Rachel C.
Research Scientist Consultant @ U-VIB
PhD, Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling
NREMT-P (National Registry of Paramedics)
– 911 Medic for over 10 years
– Search Scientist for over 7 years
– Runner for LIFE

source: The Times of India by Arnav Sarkar


Categories: Health|Fitness

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2 replies


  1. How to Start Strength Training | Pieces_Of_Meg
  2. How to Start Strength Training | Beyond Being Well

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