Here’s a very brief guide to the different types of weight training for different goals. Following this I’ll do an overview of gym and fitness training for sports.
As usual, excuse my typing!
Hypertrophy (muscle size gain).
As it says, the goal of hypertrophy training is primarily size (and the muscular ‘look’). Often people think strength come with size, which it can, but they are not always directly related – most body builders on stage when in full display are very weak – the goal at this time is visual, not performance based. Compare them to a power lifter, who will typically be smaller or less lean, the power lifter will be stronger every time, hence being a big difference in training styles.The keys to Hypertrophy training is rest, control, and fatigue. Resting 1 min between sets is ideal, if supersets, this can be extended to 1:30. Three to Four sets on each exercise is adequate, and 8-10 reps is ideal. Your weight selection should be that on your last set, you can barely perform the exercise (if you can only do 6, you are going too heavy). 3 exercises per body part is the real minimum- 4 is better to cover all aspects of each group (Back, Chest, shoulders, arms, quads, hammys, calves, abs) generally arms will need more like 6 (2 bi, 2 tri, 1 reverse, 1 forearm). Also remember: Traps and serratus anterior are extra and not to be forgotten- a 3 day split is fine for most people, though the split is up to you –grouping opposing muscles or assisting muscle groups are both valid option – here’s an example: Day 1: Shoulders (4) Traps (3) Back (4) / Day 2: Quads (3) Hammy’s (3) Calves (3) Abs (4) / Day 3: Arms (6) Chest (4) Serratus Ant. (2). That’s everything covered in a 3 day split, meaning you can hit it once or twice a week. Note: this is the real basics, there is so much more detail that can be added and so many more options, it is practically never ending.
The key here is minimizing rest. 30 seconds will do, not just between sets, but between exercises. Set a MAX of 30 seconds, and if it’s too tough, then drop the weight! The idea is to maintain the high heart rate, which is where you will be using the most energy, and therefore shifting the most weight.The exercises themselves have less importance in weight loss, just try to keep it as balanced as possible over the muscle groups. A 2 day split is fine (1 day split is ok too, but its gets boring! 2-3 days gives some variation). Again I can’t stress enough, minimizing rest is KEY.
Strength is essentially moving BIG weights. Not fast, nor frequently. The most important part here is RECOVERY. A set of 3-6, with a recovery of 3-4 minutes will be best with most exercises. Training to fatigue with a spotter is very important to get the most benefits, and slow movements are fine – its about moving the weight, not moving it fast. Targeting the BIG muscles is most important, though that doesn’t mean you skip the small ones – it means start with the big, and then the small at the end of the workout. Also rest and recovery between workouts is crucial. After a chest day for example, let your body have at least 3 days before your next chest day (in extreme situations, 5 days is even better! Remember, RECOVERY!!
Endurance is to keep going and going, lighter and longer, so the training should be the same. 5 sets of 15 reps is fine! There isn’t much benefit going higher than this though. Rest should be small- 30-45 seconds is fine. Supersets, Dropsets, Pyramid sets are all perfect for endurance. The most important thing about endurance is to make sure the exercises are as relatable to your sport or activity as possible!
Power is simple. Strength + Speed = Power. You want to move solid weight, and move it quick. This is the best training for most sports as it is the most relatable. Think of a boxer throwing a punch – he wants it to go fast, and hard. Fast and light wont do much, and slow and hard won’t work either! When training power you should feel muscularly fatigued AND cardiovascularly fatigued. Yep, it’s hard! If you can’t push a weight fast, then drop the weight! Think about your movement – a bench press is like a punch, a squat or lunge is like a sprint. That’s what you are training for, so make the movement as fluid and smooth, and matching the ‘real life’ situation as possible!
Toning is a strange one. Toning is not a different style of training. Muscle tone is increasing muscle size pushing through a decreasing amount of fat, and the workouts should be the same. Simply? its Hypertrophy plus fat loss. Reps? 8-10. sets? 3-4. Rest? 30 seconds. The weights will be a little heavier than fat loss alone, and the rest will be shorter than hypertrophy alone. The result being you feel more ‘tired’ from the high heart rate, and although your muscles feel sore, you don’t get to the stage where you can’t walk or lift your arms!
As I say, this really is the basics of it, and there is so much more detail depending on your goals or training phase. Next up I’ll detail some more sport specific and sport effective trainings!