There are various strength exercises you can do, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
However, whichever strength exercises you choose to do, there are a number of basic principles you have to follow in order to be successful. The core principles of all strength exercises are as follows:
- Progressive overload
So what do these mean in practice?
- Intensity: Intensity is a key to success in all types of workouts. Quite simply, many people don't work out hard enough. And with more and more research indicating that intense workouts are more effective than more moderate ones, it's time to start working a little harder!
- Duration: The other side of the coin from intensity - long workouts aren't necessarily more productive than shorter ones. Unless you are training for an endurance event, it's not necessary to train for more than an hour at a time.
- Frequency: When you train a muscle, it needs time to recover - in general, you should allow 48 hours rest for a muscle group after a workout.
- Adaptation: Your body is smart - over time it will adapt and learn how to do any given exercise more efficiently. That means you need to keep changing your workouts to challenge your body.
- Progressive Overload: The partner of adaptation - the way you challenge your body is by progressive overload. Over time, increase the weight, the reps, the number of sets you do, or shorten your rest periods. Your body will adapt and grow.
- Periodisation: Long practiced by pro athletes, periodisation simply means that you change your workouts through the year. A typical program has a heavy lifting phase through the winter, then lighter loads and more cardio work in the summer months.