Most believe that that strength training is beneficial – it’s fantastic.
Besides looking good and feeling great, integrating strength training into your fitness program has numerous benefits, including:
- Increased Muscle Mass
- Denser Bones
- Better Balance
- Healthier Weight
However, belief alone can sustain you for only so long without results. Converting belief into results requires a challenging planning process. Fundamental questions arise within the planning process.
- Where do you begin?
- How often should you workout?
- How long should you workout?
- How many exercises should your workout include?
- Do you follow a whole-body routine three times per week or do a split routine with one day rest in the middle?
- How many reps and sets do you perform?
There is a wealth of knowledge available, as well as numerous approaches to training. We’ll talk about how many workouts you should do each muscle group and how often you should do them throughout this post.
What’s the quick and dirty answer? What is the magic number?
Before you think that I am implying there is no such a thing, let me tell you that there is.
The problem is not that you are searching for a mythical beast like a unicorn; the problem is that you are unique in every sense of the word.
You need to find the magic number for yourself, often through trials and errors. Fortunately, thousands of others are willing to share their results with you. Their results are not yours, but you can use them as starting point.
For example, research has demonstrated that the more weight you lift and the weekly frequency, the greater the amount of muscle hypertrophy — or size increase — you will notice.
You can translate that research to a goal of gradually lifting more often and using more weight if you want bigger muscles.
Alternatively, how about muscular endurance?
The general answer is lighter weights for more extended periods within a session.
What happens if you want to get stronger?
When it comes to building strength, it’s ideal for sticking to a few fundamental exercises and concentrating your reps and sets on those.
What is the bigger picture? Exercise selection, workout plan, weekly routine?
None of the above. The bigger picture is your vision.
In practical terms, you break down the steps to your vision into three parts: Short-term, medium-term, and long-term.
Weekly routines fall under the short term.
Your progress every week depends on improving training volume, which is repetitions x sets x weight.
The appropriate exercise volume for you will be determined by several criteria, including your current fitness level and desired results.
Training volume is best approached as a weekly goal, as it takes into account how many exercises per week you intend to devote to a specific muscle group in each session.
Your volume objective remains the same whether you train each muscle group once a week or three times a week. Change the number of reps and sets for each session.
What are reps and sets?
Reps refer to how many repetitions of a motion you perform before you rest. Sets refer to how many times you repeat the cycle of reps.
Consider the following when planning your weekly training volume: the greater the number of reps you perform, the lower the number of sets you’ll need to complete. This will almost certainly result in a lower weight load.
However, the fewer reps you accomplish — most likely with a higher weight — the more sets you’ll be required to perform.
Here you have to be careful with the math of exercise, which is different from school math.
Let me explain. In math 30X10X3= 900. The same is true for 900X1X1=900.
However, the person who lifts a 30-pound dumbbell ten times for three sets is not the same as the person who lifts 900 pounds barbell once.
The progression for strength and muscle mass is higher loads, more sets, and fewer reps.
Here’s where your objectives come into play:
• Lower rep ranges of 5 and under with correct intensity (weight) are the most effective for increasing strength.
• For a combination of strength and muscular size, rep ranges of 6 to 12 are the most effective (hypertrophy).
For muscle endurance, high rep ranges of 13 to 20 reps are the most helpful.
Once you’ve determined your objectives, you’ll be able to decide on whether your workouts will be set- or rep-heavy.
Volume vs. Frequency
Another essential issue is whether you want to complete your weekly training volume in a single session or whether you want to stretch it out over several sessions.
The frequency with which you train your muscle groups — or the number of sessions you complete each week — can have an impact on your results.
More is not necessarily better. Only through trials and keeping notes can you find what works best for you. Some people respond to heavy workouts once per week. Any more frequently sets them back.
The time needed to recover has something to do with it. It would help if you found out what works for you mentally, emotionally, and physically.
It is safer, to begin with, three days per week, then split four days and test how you recover and how you improve.
Whole Body Routine Vs Split Routines
Right off the bat, let me clarify the “split.” Often when someone hears the word split, they automatically think of lower body vs. upper body.
That is only one way to split your workout routine. Push and pull is another, front vs. back is another, and so on.
When compared to a “whole body” approach to training, workout divides specific muscle groups or regions throughout different workouts, taking a weekly or even monthly approach to your training regimen.
For example, an upper body-lower body split routine would be the most fundamental of all.
Alternatively, you could break it down even further, with a chest/triceps/abs day, a back/biceps day, a leg day, and a shoulder day scheduled each week for different muscle groups.
An essential goal of a workout split is to give certain muscle groups time to recover before taxing them again while pounding the entire body consistently.
Taking these breaks is vital for recovery, especially as your training load increases.
A whole-body routine works all of the major muscle groups.
This method is particularly beneficial for novices or those limited in their available time, as the training volume will be more manageable.
Below is an example of a full-body routine:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday whole body
- • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday are rest days.
Allow your body one or two days rest and keep notes of the result. Are you stronger, more motivated after one day or two days? Adjust according to the answer.
If you are a novice, you should aim for three sets of 10 to 12 reps for each exercise in these routines, which will target major muscle groups in the body: legs, back, and chest.
Upper-Lower Split Routine
In a split training routine, different workouts target distinct muscle groups throughout the week.
An example of a split routine is this:
- Monday: Upper Body
- Tuesday: Lower Body
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Upper Body
- Friday: Lower Body
Upper-Lower Split Routine Exercise Samples
The following is an example of a routine for size:
Even though other methods are available, an upper-lower body split is a common approach to building muscle size.
Attempt to maintain a schedule of four days per week. Maintain a modest rep range of 8 to 12 reps for three sets of exercises.
- Monday and Thursday – Upper Body Exercises
- Lat pulldown
- Bench press
- Overhead Shoulder Press
- Tripes Extension
- Biceps Curls
- Tuesday and Friday – Lower Body Exercises
- Lateral Lunges
- Leg Curls
- Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday Rest.
Push-pull Split Routine
An effective push-pull workout split will target the “push” muscles (chest, triceps, shoulders, quads, and calves) in one session and the “pull” muscles (back, biceps, and hamstrings) in the other.
In addition, four days per week works well for a push-pull split since it allows for two push and two pull workouts on each day.
A sample workout routine might look something like this:
- Monday and Thursday: Push
- Rest on Wednesday
- Tuesday and Friday: Pull
- Rest Saturday and Sunday
Three sets of 10-12 reps is a safe and effective start for beginners.
In general, a decent rule of thumb is that the more weight you’re lifting, the longer the rest period between sets should be
When working with lower rep ranges, aim for a minimum of 2 minutes between sets. In higher rep ranges, strive for 30 seconds to 1 minute rest periods between sets.
Low-, moderate-, and high-rep ranges are all founded on the idea that you’re pushing yourself to the limit until the very last rep is completed.
If doing the last rep isn’t tricky, you’re not lifting enough weight to complete the set.
Recovery does not just relate to the act of spacing out workouts so that you can have time to relax. Nutrition and sleep are also essential components of a healthy lifestyle.
Make sure you’ve got the complete package in place, including a well-balanced diet and plenty of shut-eye, to guarantee you’re getting the most out of your workout.
Remember that recovery is a vital aspect of seeing results — especially as your training load increases — and that taking pauses like this is essential to that process.