Planning your Weight Training Regimen
Before you embark on a strength-training programme, determine your goals. In addition to increasing your muscle tone and definition, do you want to improve your muscular endurance?
Or are you interested primarily in increasing your strength? Although most weight-training programmes will improve both your strength and endurance, generally speaking, if you want to emphasize 'endurance, you should lift light weights for a high number of reps. To emphasize strength, you should go for few reps but lift close to your maximum load .
To increase both your strength and your endurance, you should lift an intermediate amount of weight for a mode rate number of reps.
How Much Weight?
Once you have determined your goals in a weightlifting programme, you should find out how much weight you can lift in a single repetition. This will take some experimentation . Since you will be lifting a weight at your maximum ability, you should arrange for a partner to stand by as a spotter in case you lose control.
To develop both strength and endurance, you should then try to lift about 75 to 85 per cent of the maximum weight you can handle. (If you are able to lift 45 kilograms once, for example , you should work out with 35 to 40 kilograms.)
To develop strength, you should lift weights amounting to about 80 to 90 per cent of your maximum; for endurance, you should lift about 55 to 75 percent of your maximum. Over time, you will be able to use your experience and your instincts to judge how much weight you need .
How Many Reps?
To develop strength, you should lift 80 to 90 per cent of your maximum weight in a set of three to six repetitions. To train for endurance, lift 55 to 75 percent of your maximum for as many repetitions as you can - as many as 20 or even 40. Those training for both strength and endurance should aim to complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Increasing The Weight
Weight training entails progressive resistance. Once you can perform more than the specified reps of a particular exercise in two consecutive workout sessions, increase the weight used by 5 per cent.
Try to exercise three times a week. You should get no less than 48 hours' rest between each workout to allow the muscles to recover.
For the best results, you should not rest for longer than 96 hours between workouts. You can work out on Mondays , Wednesdays and Fridays, for example, resting on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends.
If you wish, you may divide your workout schedule into alternate days of lower body and upper body routines. For instance, you can do a lower body workout on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and an upper body routine on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.