When thinking about starting a resistance training program there are a few things to consider. Making sure you have the right order for exercises, determining the appropriate number of reps/sets to perform, and making sure you get enough rest are what we will be going over in this blog. With any program you start, make sure that you are warming up properly before performing any type of lift. The great thing about resistance training is it can provide you with muscular strength and endurance gains no matter your age.
1. Making sure you have the right order.
There are thousands and thousands of exercises that can help increase strength in certain muscles around the body, but what is the best order to do them? Most programs will have you start with compound exercises. Compound exercises like the title suggest recruits multiple muscle groups to help preform the lift. Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlifts are examples of compound exercises that should be performed first. After the compound exercises you can do what are called accessory lifts. These lifts will typically only activate one muscle. Biceps Curls, Triceps Push Downs, and any machine exercise are examples of accessory lifts.
2. Determining the number of sets and reps.
Before starting a program, you have to figure out why you want to do this in the first place. Establishing goals can gear you towards keeping you on track and building the perfect program. For example, if your goal is to do the most exercises in a row, you would want to build your program around muscular endurance. ACSM suggest to perform at least 12 reps (how many times you perform the exercise) for 2 to 3 sets (How many rounds you perform the exercise) with little or no rest in-between sets. There are 2 different resistance training programs. To gain muscular endurance, perform 6-12 reps for 2-3 sets with 1-2 minutes of rest in between and to gain muscular strength, perform >6 rep for 2-6 sets with 3 minutes of rest in between.
3. Why is rest so important?
When starting a weight lifting program, after the first couple of weeks you can be experiencing some soreness due to the muscles being used. Now making sure that your soreness doesn’t become an injury is making sure you build in rest days around your program. ACSM recommends the amount of time you should rest a muscle group before performing resistance training again is 24-48 hours.
Interested in getting started with a resistance training program, seeking support from a qualified fitness professional can be a great step. There are fitness assessments you can complete to evaluate your current strength and fitness levels that can be used to design a resistance training program unique to your goals and needs.