. Set clear goals in regards to progression and resistance training
. Volume builds endurance and intensity builds power
. Work at your own pace
To make great progress with resistance training you first have to establish exactly what you’re trying to achieve because the target and the pace you move at is heavily intertwined with the specific goal in mind. That’s true for most things but especially in this regard because of the work and commitment required with strength training. This is probably why it’s not a bad idea to ease yourself into your work, lay the foundation and build a solid base before you really try and take it to the next level. Ideally you want to build your body for the long haul and not just attempt a quick fix or rapid fire program, which is rarely sustainable.
Over the course of this article we will look at some of the things to consider if you’re trying to develop a strong resistance platform and how you can connect the dots and progress at your own pace. The first thing we will look at is volume and intensity and what you’re trying to achieve when balancing those variables. As a general rule, volume in fitness is directed more towards improving and increasing endurance and cardio vascular performance while intensity is geared towards power, strength and explosiveness.
How you structure your resistance training program and specifically what you want to accomplish will be determined by the balance you’re trying to strike and there are different studies available that outline how different methods have performed. For instance, this study suggests that ‘high-intensity (3–5 RM), low-volume resistance training program utilizing a long rest interval (3 min) is more advantageous than a moderate intensity, high-volume (10–12 RM) program utilizing a short rest interval (1 min) for stimulating upper body strength gains and muscle hypertrophy in resistance-trained men.’
It goes on to say that ‘These results are consistent with previous comparative studies in resistance-trained individuals showing high-intensity programs were more conducive for increasing strength while producing similar magnitude of muscle hypertrophy.’ To sum up, a high intensity workout is the fastest way to burn fat, lose weight and build strength. But this is quite an intense, strenuous type of workout that you should ease yourself into and is not always suitable for those starting out and those susceptible to injury because of the high impact nature of the training.
As we said at the start, ideally you would build to this point and have at least a couple of months of training under your belt to get your body stronger and more resilient before you move into the high intensity phase. In terms of increasing repetition, increasing weight, it’s more a case of common sense. When you feel your body is strong enough to go the next phase of training that’s when you can start to add weight and add repetitions, but you should only do that when you feel confident enough to do so and always make it a point to progress at your own pace.
As this study states: ‘Progression in resistance training is a dynamic process that requires an exercise prescription process, evaluation of training progress, and careful development of target goals. The single workout must then be designed reflecting these targeted program goals including the choice of exercises, order of exercise, amount of rest used between sets and exercises, number of repetitions and sets used for each exercise, and the intensity of each exercise.’
They conclude by saying ‘The resistance training program design should be simple at first for untrained individuals but should become more specific with greater variation in the acute program variables during progression.’ So these are the basics of formulating and progressing through a resistance training program. We have talked about why resistance training is important and how you can vary the program but in regards to progression because of the specific nature of the activity the target area must be clearly defined, goals must be set, and common sense applied when moving through the ranks.
NCBI: The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men
NCBI: Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription