How to Strength Training – A Comprehensive Guide!

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Hey everyone, I am so glad to have you reading this article! It is going to be super beneficial for anyone looking for a how to strength training explanation! All the major aspects of strength training that should be taken into consideration will be discussed in this article!

So sit back, and let’s get to the information! Below is a list of the strength training aspects that will be talked about within this article:

  1. Technique
  2. Heavy Training
  3. Progressive Overload
  4. Training Relative to You
  5. Factoring in Your Circumstances

Technique Technique Technique:

I have said this numerous times before, any and all training that you do needs to be laid with a strong foundation of technique. This is important for a variety of reasons such as reducing your risk for injury, having a constant to progress from and optimizing your performance. Let’s relate these ideas to the goal of strength training!

Any training you do has a risk for injury, no matter how properly you are doing it. However, using proper technique allows us to reduce the risks of acquiring an injury by putting our body in a safe position to handle the training stresses we are putting on it. This is especially important for strength training as the loads we use are typically higher than other styles of training. Being able to handle this load properly will be largely dependent on the utilization of proper technique.

Using proper form and keeping it consistent allows us to optimally apply progressive overload. For those of you who don’t know, progressive overload means gradually increasing the training stress you are putting on your body over time. The only way to ensure we are actually progressing these training stresses and not progressing through a slow degradation of form over time is to keep our technique consistent!

Lastly, using proper form is actually optimal for our performance. Yes, you may be able to squeak out that last rep of squats by allowing your knees to cave in. However, in the long run, using proper technique will be most optimal for overall performance. Looking acutely at things, many people simply aren’t proficient enough at executing proper form under heavy loads. When you become more proficient with technique, the proper form is much more optimal than improper form even in the short term when grinding out that last rep!

Moving That Weight:

In order to gain strength efficiently, we need to be training heavy! You can only progress so much using lighter weights, and they still don’t work as well for gaining strength as heavyweights do. Let’s dive into these points a little more!

If we are constantly using lighter weights and training for higher reps, eventually we will apply progressive overload so much through those avenues that we are training with super high reps and or sets. Not only is this not efficient for gaining strength directly, but it also comes at a huge recovery cost, all while achieving little strength gains!

When using lighter weights (typically below 80% of your one-rep max), your body doesn’t efficiently recruit your type 2 muscle fibres. These type 2 muscle fibres are what produce the most force output and are the most conducive to strength and size adaptations. So if we aren’t training with heavyweights, and therefore are not applying progressive overload through weight, we are not efficiently stimulating the muscle fibres that are responsible for producing force and are most likely to gain strength!

Moral of the story, use heavy weights with proper technique as your foundation for building true strength. This increases your bodies capacity to produce force and handle load! Keep in mind that lighter loads still have their applications during strength training!

The Progressive Overload Principle:

The main driver of any training progress you obtain will always be progressive overload. How you achieve this progress/how you progress depends on your goals. For example, with the goal of hypertrophy, you should be focusing on progression via volume, while as for strength training your focus should be on progressing through an increase in weight being used.

This means that from week to week/session to session for a particular lift (namely the squat, bench and deadlift), you need to be focusing your progression on increasing weight. The reason for this relates to the previous principle of using heavyweight. If our focus is on training heavy, then our progression focus should be on gradually increasing the weights we are lifting.

Now, this isn’t to say that all other aspects of progression are useless, they all have practical applications when it comes to strength training. For example, you may be at the maximum weight you can safely lift for 3 reps. However, if you increased your reps to 4, it would serve as a useful transition to increasing weight if you started at a lower weight again, but built back up from a slightly higher weight.

Increasing weight, reps and sets aren’t the only way to apply progressive overload. If you kept technique consistent and used lower rest times (I don’t recommend this for strength training), moved a weight quicker or added in things like pauses, those are all example of progressive overload in more “minimal” ways.

Training Relative to You:

Once you have your foundation set up, it is time to work on optimizing your training by relating it to you. Of course, if you are strength training, your actual training will already be related to your goals. However, what about weak points in your lifts or exercises you respond well to? These are all things to be taken into account when developing a strength training program. Or any program for that matter. Let’s explain these ideas in a little more detail below!

One main factor that affects one’s ability to move weight in a lift is their weak points, or sticking points. An example of this would be a weak point in getting the bar off your chest in the bench press. This may make the lift fail there, or midway through the range of motion due to loss of momentum.

What could you do about this? Something like pause reps help take away the stretch reflex at the bottom of the lift and reinforce recruiting your muscle fibres to explode the weight off your chest!

Certain people simply have exercises that they respond well to. The reasoning for this could be due to training experience or how they’re built, amongst other things. Implementing exercises that are highly beneficial for a strength athlete, while not neglecting other exercises that need to be done is important for creating an efficient strength program!

Factoring in Your Circumstances:

This concept is similar to the one I previously talked about. However, it is more discussing outside factors such as sustainability and injuries. What someone has going on in their life will heavily influence how their training should be setup. In addition to that, any injuries that are sustained need to be addressed. Let’s discuss more about this below!

People oftentimes have busy lives, this means that training 6 days a week for 2 hours each session may not be practical for some people. In order to achieve the results you are looking for, you need to execute the plan you have to achieve them. What this means is you need to factor in any life circumstances that may affect your ability to stay consistent with your training.

Injuries arise. You need to set up your workload in a way that is reflective of your recovery needs to help prevent overtraining type injuries. However, sometimes injuries just come out of the blue!

Figuring out how to work around injuries once you have established a safe plan to do so if cleared by medical professionals, and with the help of proper medical advice can help progress to continue along.

Wrapping Up:

All in all, even though strength training has quite a few moving parts, the basic premise is simple. Use proper technique, train heavy and gradually progress over time. Make sure you are factoring in your own individual needs and circumstances to ensure optimal progress. But most importantly, be safe!

What parts of strength training are you doing well with? What parts do you have some room for improvement on? Let me know below! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!

 

Until Next Time,

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:
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Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

8 Responses

  1. Great Article on How to Strength Training Kohl!! I like that you mentioned life circumstances, it is often a forgotten factor. I agree that all training should fit a persons lifestyle and not the other way around. I personally love strength training and biologically I am better at certain movements due to the length of certain limbs as well as muscle insertions. An article on how one may be better at one exercise vs another due to biological factors would be awesome!!

    • Hi Marvin, I am so glad you thought the information in my article was applicable! The other factors that you mentioned certainly do play a role, so I will be sure to do some research and make an article! I appreciate you stopping by and giving a suggestion!

  2. Thank you for your post. It is a timely article for me. I am 56 years old now and feel week on my arm. I want to strength my upper arm, but never bother taking time to do the investigation.

    Here comes your article. I agree with you from my own experience that technique is ultimate importance for strength training. Occasionally, I practice my strength training just based my own imagination, which resulted in injury.

    I bookmarked your webpage and will study the proper ways to perform strength training. 

    It is kind of you sharing this useful information with us. This information will help us to achieve out physical training goal without injury.

    • Hi Anthony, best of luck in your pursuit of strength! I am so glad you found this article beneficial and thank you very much for the support. I will be sure to keep producing content on strength training!

  3. Thank you for this informative post.  I’ve been doing mostly cardio now for so long and it’s time to change things up a bit.  I’d like to go for some strength but not so much as to get too bulky if you know what I mean.

    To be honest, I suppose I should study up on muscles in general.  I didn’t even know there was a type 2 muscle fiber.

    So, when it comes to technique, should I enlish a personal trainer or head to a local gym until I have it down or do you think I can learn it in-house?

    Thanks again,

    Scott

    • Hi Scott, thanks for checking out the article! Anyone can always benefit from more knowledge in the world of fitness! As for technique, hiring a reputable personal trainer certainly wouldn’t hurt. However, with proper research and using super lightweights at the start (even starting with bodyweight for some things) can be effective as well for learning proper technique! I created a whole article talking about the Fundamentals of Weight Training if you would like to check it out! There is a whole section on learning technique! I hope this helps!

  4. This is really a helpful and educating article. As someone who loves bodybuilding, I have learned so much through this article.In this article I really enjoyed the section that talked about the Progressive Overload Principle. I have learned many good things in this section. Thank you very much and wish you all the best.

    Baraka

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