Hi Everyone,
It’s Totally Tone Tuesday and it is the day we talk about strengthening, stretching and balance!
When it comes to resistance training there is not a one size fits all answer regarding how best to train, as the amount of weight lifted and the number of repetitions and sets completed depends on a variety of factors, including individual fitness goals and current conditioning level.


Ask Yourself What You Want to Achieve

There are a variety of objectives that can be attained through resistance training, including increased muscular strength (the maximum force that a muscle can produce against resistance in a single, maximal effort), increased muscular endurance (the capacity of a muscle to exert force repeatedly against resistance or to hold a fixed contraction over time) and increased muscle hypertrophy (physiological process of muscle-fiber enlargement).


What Does This Mean For Me?

  • If you’re new to resistance training and your goal is general muscle fitness and improved health, begin with lighter resistance and aim to complete 1-2 sets of 8-15 repetitions of each exercise with a 30-90 second rest interval between sets.

* Note: As you progress continue to increase the weight over the weeks. As your tendons, ligaments and muscles get stronger, you need to have the confidence that you will not get injured if you increase the weight amount. I often see people training in gyms who are reluctant to increase their weights. We need to improve muscle mass regardless of our age. It makes everything easier.

  • If your goal is increased muscular endurance,  use somewhat lighter resistance aim to complete 2-3 sets of 12-16 repetitions of each exercise (*the amount of weight used should fatigue the targeted muscle at the conclusion of the exercise set) with minimal rest (30 seconds or less) between sets.
* Note: Muscular endurance can be utilized by endurance athletes. It’s also important to note that given the two types of training, endurance training or strength training, a progressive strength  training plan should be preferred over an endurance training plan. Ideally, once one has mastered a high level of strength over a 10-12 week period, then implementing an endurance weight day periodically would be a smart compliment to a well rounded strength training routine. More on that in upcoming articles.
  • If muscular strength is your objective, use heavier resistance and strive to complete 2-6 sets of 4-8 repetitions of each exercise with a longer rest period (2-5 minutes) between sets.
*Note:  One should not start out with high weights and low reps. Equally important is that you weigh the pros and cons of increased injury with heavier weights. If weight training is implemented smartly and progressively there is no reason that people in their 60,70, and even 80’s cannot reap the physiological and psychological benefits of lifting heavy.
  • If you are seeking muscular hypertrophy, use somewhat heavier resistance (higher intensity than that used for muscular endurance, yet a lower weight than used for muscular strength ) and complete 3-6 sets of 6-12 repetitions of each exercise with a moderate 30-90 second rest interval between sets.
* Note: In my 15 years of training clients I have seen outstanding results in hypertrophy of muscle in persons of all ages. One of the things that inspires me the most is the attitude of many people over 40 years of age that want that muscular look. Skinny and frail is out- thank goodness. And lean and muscular is in- even for people well over 60!

Personally. Where Are You At? 

While fitness goals play a large role in determining appropriate training volume, your current ability level is also important to take into consideration. If you are new to resistance training, keeping the training volume relatively low, at least initially, will not only allow your body time to adapt to the training stress, it will also help to feel more successful which ultimately can lead to long-term adherence to the program.

While the exact program will vary from one individual to another, one of the main goals of any resistance training program should be to perform each exercise with proper technique. Focusing on the quality of the movement versus solely the quantity of repetitions will help reduce the risk of injury and also ensure that the muscle the exercise is designed to target is worked effectively.

All My Best,

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