Strength Training Exercises

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Strength Training

What do you do if you’re an athlete and your goal is not to build a competition worthy set of muscles but to build strength to better compete in your sport?  There a few basic principles that should guide how you approach weight training.

Basically, you should look do five sets of five repetitions of every exercise you do. If that doesn’t sound like much in the way of wear and tear,  the idea is to add weight each time you perform the exercise. For instance, if in your first set of squats you work with 185 pounds,  in your second set you would use 225 pounds. By the last set, you would work with 365 pounds. Your last set should always be your top weight.

If you’re able to successively do the final set at the highest weight, you can increase the starting weight next time.  It’s important to begin this program by working with weights light enough to allow one to maintain proper form during the lifts. More advanced lifters can perform a series of sets in which he ends up by doing 5 sets at maximum weight.

What actual strength training exercises should be performed?  First, all of them are exercises involving free weights.  This entails doing squats, bench presses, rows, deadlifts, and chins. These are exercises that work the major muscle groups.  Squats are for leg strength. Bench presses develop the pectoral muscles, while the others build shoulder, arm, and back strength.

The program is a three day program of strength training.  Here’s an idea of how to configure your workout over the course of those days, if you begin the week on Monday.

             Monday:  Squats, Bench Press,  Rows
             Tuesday:  Squats,  Military Presses, Rows
             Friday:    Squates,  Bench Presses,  Rows

If either time or exhausted muscles are a problem, the program can be done twice a week. In fact, a beginner might find that he can only do it once a week.
It should be noted that that while the goal is to complete five sets of five reps, it might only be possible to do two or three reps in the final set for each exercise.

Also, if you’re going to do the program three times a week, you should drop the weight you use on Wednesday by 10- 20%.  On Friday, you can push the weight back up toward what you used on Monday. Your body needs to recuperate. Additionally, you must be very careful when choosing a starting weight for your sessions. Be conservative.  Remember: You’ll be increasing the weight as you continue.

Keep in mind that this is specially a strength building program, not a general conditioning program.  Cardio exercise is important and can be done on other days.

Such activities as running or bicycling can be added so as to provide the body with cardio conditioning. Since most people who opt for this kind of weight training will be actively playing a sport, it can be assumed that their team or individual practices will include much cardiovascular exercise.

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