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Weight Training Guidelines and Programs

One of the most important things you can do for your body to maintain health is lift weights. Diet and aerobic (cardio) activity are equally important, but strength training provides many major benefits, including:

Getting started with strength training can be confusing - what exercises should you do? How many sets and reps? How much weight? The routine you choose will be based on your fitness goals as well as the equipment you have available and the time you have for workouts.

WHAT IS THE RIGHT ROUTINE?

HOW MANY EXERCISES SHOULD I DO?
At least 1 exercise for each major muscle group (upper body, lower body, and core).

HOW MUCH WEIGHT?
The correct weight should produce fatigue by the last repetition in each set, or determine resistance by using a percentage (typically 60-80%) of your one repetition maximum. (Example: If you can lift a maximum of 50 lbs. one time during leg extension, 70% of that would be 35 lbs.)

HOW MUCH TIME BETWEEN WORKOUTS?
Rest: 48 to 72 hours between workout sessions for each muscle group.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO MY WORKOUT
The number of sessions per week for each muscle group - 2 to 3 sessions, on non-consecutive days.

WHAT IS THE CORRECT LIFTING TECHNIQUE
Maintain proper postures and move through the lift in a slow, controlled manner (usually 2-4 count for the push/pull/contraction with a 4-6 count for the relax/recovery phase).

WHAT IS RANGE OF MOTION?
Each lift should be done through a joint's entire range of motion.

HOW DO I MAINTAIN MUSCLE BALANCE?
Balance the program to include opposing muscle groups (Example: hamstrings oppose quadriceps.)

HOW SHOULD I PROGRESS?
Increase the resistance or weight of an exercise when you are able to complete all repetitions of the last set without muscle fatigue.

WHY WARM UP AND COOL DOWN?
Brief aerobic exercise will warm the muscles, making them flexible and ready for activity. Cool-down exercises are important to return the body to resting level.

"NO PAIN, NO GAIN”
Wrong! Pain is your body's warning signal to stop before you hurt yourself.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE LENGTH OF MY PROGRAM?
It takes approximately 8-12 weeks to achieve gains in strength.

WEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAMS

Program Goal Sets Repetitions Resistance Rest Between Sets
Endurance 3 15 to 25 50-65% of 1 Rep. Max 30 to 60 seconds
Health/Fitness 1 to 3 8 to 12 60-80% of 1 Rep. Max 30 to 60 seconds
Strength 3 to 6 5 to 6 80-88% of 1 Rep. Max 3 to 5 minutes
Size 3 to 6 8 to 12 80-85% of 1 Rep. Max 30 to 60 seconds
Power 3 to 6 2 to 4 80-90% of 1 Rep. Max 3 to 4 minutes

Table content taken from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, edited by Thomas Baechle for the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

KEYNOTES TO REMEMBER


If you are a registered University of Illinois student and you have questions or concerns,
or need to make an appointment, please call: Dial-A-Nurse at 333-2700

 

If you are concerned about any difference in your treatment plan and the information in this handout,

you are advised to contact your health care provider.

 

Visit the McKinley Health Center Web site at: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu


HEd. III-180

© The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 2007.

09-19-07

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