Yesterday, June 30th, I put on a workshop for the clients at March Wellness called Strength 101. I wanted to provide some basics to getting stronger and I wanted to share those basics from the workshop with the readers of my site.
First, it started with definitions. Many of these are shortened variations that my virtual training comrade Brad Gatens used in his Strength Blueprint:
Strength: The ability to exert a force against a resistance.
Reps (repetitions): The number of times you perform an exercise
Sets: A cluster of repetitions separated by rest.
Rest: Time taken between sets.
Intensity: How hard a set or rep is to perform/complete.
Volume: How many sets and reps performed at a particular weight for each exercise during a single session. (Sets x Reps) x Weight = Volume.
Warm-up: Preparing the body for the training to come. More weight to lift = more warm-up.
Work Sets: Sets that use your goal weight for that day (aka are not warm-up sets).
Frequency: How many training sessions are performed each week.
Tempo: How fast a lift is executed. Typically, eccentric is slower by 1-3 seconds.
Overload Principle: In order for tissues to adapt, a sufficient stimulus is required.
Hypertrophy: When a muscle increases in size.
Concentric: A muscle, or group of muscles, shortening while contracting.
Eccentric: A muscle, or group of muscles, lengthening while contracting.
Isometric: A muscle, or group of muscles, not moving while contracting.
Then I added a repetition continuum to show appropriate rep ranges depending on your training goals.
Then I wanted to be sure to address a couple misconceptions (some of them also adapted from Brad’s work):
Muscle tone: The best way to get muscle tone is to create high tension in muscles, which is best accomplished with strength training. Diet will play biggest role in leanness.
“Big and bulky”: Many female clients are afraid of becoming too muscular from weight training. Very difficult for females to add muscle mass: only ~1/10th testosterone as males. Haven’t made anyone too bulky, especially by accident, in my training career. Bodybuilders and powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters are not competitions containing the same people.
Then I wanted to get into building a 3-day-per-week strength training basics training template. I started it with a quote from Dan John to let them know that they should mix things up every 6 weeks or so, so they can get the benefit of seeing progress, but not get stagnant or bored. The idea came from Ben Bruno’s training 101 article he posted onto Livestrong.com.
“I’m convinced that everything works. And, if you read my work, I think everything works for about six weeks.” – Dan John
- Perform the workout 3 days per week.
One week will be Workout A, Workout B, Workout A.
The next week will be Workout B, Workout A, Workout B.
- You will alternate A1 and A2 until finished with your sets.
Then you will alternate B1, B2, & B3 until you are finished with your sets.
Knee dominant: Any of the squat, lunge, & step-up movements along with the leg curl, leg extension, and leg press machines.
Hip dominant: Any of the deadlift variations, bridge variations, the 45 degree back extension, and our glute machine.
Upper body pull: Pull-ups, chin-ups, assisted pull-up machine, and any of the rowing variations (dumbbell, cable, machines, etc.).
Upper body push: Bench press, shoulder press, push-ups, chest flies and chest press machines.
Core strength: Any core stabilization exercise: planks, side planks, sit ups, crunches, dead bugs, etc.
I finished it up with an example program template and movement pattern practice, where I wanted to dial in the hinge, squat, dead bug, and arm/shoulder blade movement for push/pull movements.
Movement Pattern Practice:
- Dead bug
A1: Goblet Squat
A2. Inverted Row/TRX Row
B1. Glute Bridge
B2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
B3. Plank/Plank knees-to-elbow
A1. Dumbbell Deadlift
B2. Renegade Row
B3. Dead Bug
All said and done, I felt like this went really well and I was given positive feedback from the attendees, so I hope you may find some useful information, as well. If you have questions, feel free to ask.