How to develop your strength training plan.
Working out can do wonders for your health. Adding exercise to your lifestyle can help improve your overall well-being, allowing you to become stronger, fitter, and healthier. That said, working out and training your body is much more complex than it sounds. Many assume that starting a strength training plan is enough to bulk up and gain the muscles they want, but there are many other factors to consider.
Understanding how strength training works is important in choosing the right program and in avoiding common mistakes. Many people have experienced hitting the gym regularly and abiding by a strict workout routine, only to see no results. It can be incredibly frustrating. Instead of getting discouraged, try to take it as a sign that you may have to change something in your plan.
Below, you will find a step-by-step guide to building your strength training plan to help you reach your fitness goals.
Understanding Strength-Training and Muscle Physiology
Before you get started with planning your workout program, it’s important to take the time to learn about how strength training works. As its name suggests, strength training is designed to increase your overall body strength, which entails the following things:
Lower Reps, Increase Weight
When you lift weights, your goal is to push your muscles to the extent of its capabilities, so lower reps will allow you to choose heavier options. Regardless of your level or strength, weight will always play a bigger role than sets or reps. Over time, you will learn how to balance this with weight intensity and volume.
Resistance training is an important, yet often overlooked aspect of strength training. It uses resistance to challenge your muscles so that they eventually become stronger. Whether you use dumbbells, resistance bands, body weight, or even makeshift weights, your muscles will contract and gradually gain more strength.
There’s a common assumption you can build strength faster if you train longer and more frequently. While this also factors into the results you achieve, it doesn’t mean that you should push yourself to train for hours each day. In fact, allotting rest periods in your strength training plan is a must since you have to make sure you give your body enough time to recover between sessions.
Steps to Creating a Strength-Training Plan
Now that you have a better idea on how strength training works, you can create a plan that will help you meet your goals.
Determine Your Goals
Before you hit the gym or even attempt to lift a heavy weight, it’s important to determine your goals for your strength training plan. What specific changes do you want to see in a certain period? Knowing your goals from the very beginning gives you direction for your workout program. It also helps you prepare your meal plans to ensure you hit your nutritional targets.
For this step, you can create one general “vision”; then think of specific and measurable goals to achieve it. For example, your overall goal could be to become fit and gain muscle. Then you can set milestones like how many pounds of muscle you want to gain, or how much body fat you want to shed.
Decide on Frequency
How many days will you be training each week? Get started by answering this question to get a good idea of how you can map out your schedule. While there is no fixed rule as to how many days you need to work out, two days a week would be ideal for starting out. It gives you ample time to target different muscle groups and rest at the same time.
Experienced lifters usually train three to five days a week; but as a beginner, you have to be careful not to overwork yourself. Take it gently and slowly. As mentioned above, don’t forget to give yourself rest days. While you want to schedule regular workout days, you also need to let your body recover and get yourself used to the program.
Divide Your Training Days
After deciding how many times you will work out per week, you can proceed to assign specific areas or muscle groups for each day. Again, it is up to you to decide how you want to split your training days, but you have to make sure to give each area at least 24 hours to recover.
One way of designing your strength training plan is by splitting the muscle groups evenly throughout the week. For example, you can dedicate one day for your upper body to target your arms, shoulders, and chest. Then allot another day for your lower body or legs. Do not forget to also make time for your core, as this is crucial to building your strength and improving your balance.
Once you know where to focus on for each training day, you can plan out the exercises you can do for each muscle group. As a beginner, it helps to have a structured routine to follow along since you are still learning the ropes of strength training. However, over time, you’ll get used to it and become so familiar with how it works that you might not need to plan exercises in advance anymore.
To know what exercises will best fit your routine, think about your fitness level, where you plan to work out, and what equipment you have access to. Include around 6-10 exercises per day, and make sure to incorporate some compound movements to work your muscles together.
Choose Your Lifts and Routine
Next, you will have to decide on the amount of weight you want to start out with. The rule of thumb is to go for a weight that will challenge you, but not to the point of messing up your form. There’s no need to rush the process. As you go along your journey, you will slowly be able to lift heavier and heavier weights.
In terms of routine, you can start with a basic setup, where you do 3 sets and 8-10 reps of each exercise. Make sure to give yourself a minute break in between each set to avoid overexerting your muscles while still pushing them to become stronger.
Add a Post-Workout Stretch
As much as possible, try to squeeze in around 10 minutes to cool down after you train. This time will be used for stretching to improve blood circulation, which will help with recovery. At the same time, a post-workout stretch can feel great, especially when your body and muscles are still warm from training.
Get Started on Your Strength-Training Plan Today
Ready to get started on your fitness plans today? Our fitness center in Palm Harbor and Trinity is here to provide a top facility with all the equipment you need to achieve your goals. Whether you opt for body training, weight training, or any other form of training, we are here to help you every step of the way!
Contact Fitness 360 today at (727) 797-5100 to get started on your membership. Our team will be happy to tell you about our offers, give you a tour through our gym, and view our fitness classes in Palm Harbor and Trinity if you are interested in learning more.