We know that programming your workouts and picking which exercises to perform can be a challenge. Our 10 Essential Components of Strength Training are designed to help you make better decisions when you go to the gym:
1) Move optimally
Before jumping into a training program, I recommend an assessment by a qualified trainer or physical therapist. We can screen for any issues that may limit your progress or predispose you to injury.
2) Core training
Spend a few minutes as part of your warm-up developing core stability. It will help prevent low back pain and act as the foundation to move more weight with your big exercises.
Along with spending a few minutes on core stability, I recommend addressing some pertinent mobility and activation work before jumping into your big movement patterns. A good rule of thumb is to focus on drills that will prepare your body for the exercises you plan to perform in that workout.
The goals of the first three items on this list all lead to the main exercises in the gym. These exercises are what should make up the foundation of your training program.
4) Focus on big compound exercises
By working many big muscles with each lift, you are able to burn more calories during your workout and increase your metabolism for many hours after due to the recovery process. These exercises include squat and deadlift variations, lunge variations, along with horizontal and vertical pulling and pressing for the upper body.
5) Focus on your posterior chain
Many of the common dysfunctions and injuries I see as a physical therapist revolve from people neglecting the back side of their body. To help minimize injuries, while also performing and looking better, incorporate more hip dominant patterns and upper body pulling patterns into your training program.
6) Focus on getting strong
Adding strength on top of efficient movement is a great way to minimize injury risk and maintain mobility. Getting stronger with deadlifts, squatting, pressing, rows and pull-ups will also allow you to perform sets with more weight for higher reps when you are trying to gain muscle mass.
7) Progressive overload
The concept of training is pretty simple. We are stressing the body and forcing it to adapt in a specific way. The main ways to progress your exercises are intensity (more weight on the bar), volume (amount of total work you perform), and shorter rest periods between sets. Utilize these different progression models to get the specific results you are looking for.
8) Consistency and Effort
If all else is equal, the person that trains four times per week will see better results than the person who trains one to two times per week. The lifting game is a long-term process that takes years to excel at. Enjoy the ride and continually look to make small gains, they add up over time!
9) Try a variety of exercises, rep/set schemes, rest periods
It’s pretty typical to focus on the lifts we are good at in the gym. If your goal is to perform better, look better, and feel better overall, then try to pull from all different aspects of training. Getting out of your comfort zone in the gym is a great way to develop some new skills and give your body the stimulus it needs to make new gains.
Nutrition may be the biggest player involved when it comes to making the gains you are striving for. There is an old quote that says you can’t out-work a bad diet. Some say that 80% of your results come from how you eat, while only 20% come from training. Registered dietitian, Ashley Pearson, can help you achieve your nutrition goals.
Do you have an injury that prevents you from reaching your training goals?