Building a weight training program

Gemeente Vianen
Gemeente Vianen Netherlands

Building a weight training program is not that complicated, just get started! Below is a simple 3 step guide to building your own basic weight training program. This program will give you a structure to help you progress and achieve your goals. Once you have got a bit more experience in resistance training you can adjust and improve your program as you see fit.

1. Firstly, you need to decide what your goals are. Here are the 4 basic goals that a weight training program can cater to…

Goal Types

1. Maintaining strength – This is just if you want to keep your fitness at a certain level. You won’t get huge gains with this but if you’re short for a time then it’s perfect for staying on top of your fitness.
2. Muscular endurance – Do this if you want your muscles to be able to keep going for long periods of time.
3. Strength – This is if you want to develop strong muscles. Basically this means you can exert more force. Push, pull or punch harder.
4. Building muscle mass – If huge muscles are your thing then this is the way to go.

Notice that losing weight isn’t on this list. If you want to lose weight you’ll have to combine one of these goals with aerobic exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.

2. Next, decide on what area of your body you would like to improve. Legs, arms, core or entire body?? It’s all up to you…

3. You then use the table below to design your weight training program.

Weight Training Program Designer

wdt_ID Goal Times per week Weights to use Sets Reps Rest Time (Seconds)
1 Maintaining Strength 3 Medium 2-3 10-15 15-30
2 Muscular Endurance 3-4 Light/Medium 3-4 15-20 10-15
3 Building Strength 3-4 Heavy 2-3 8-12 30-45
4 Building Muscle Mass 4 Very Heavy 3-5 4-8 60

If there’s anything you’re unsure of in the table above then have a read through these to help you understand it.

Times per week – This is how many times per week you should train a muscle group if you want to reach your goals.

Weights to use – It’s pretty hard to define this. Your best bet is to use your own judgment…
Light would be a weight that doesn’t stress your muscles too much.
Medium would be quite a difficult weight.
Heavy would be a weight that you find really hard.
Very heavy would be a weight that makes you feel like you’re going to pop!
Note that a lot of home exercises don’t use weights… Instead, find an exercise that you think corresponds to light, medium, heavy, etc.
Reps – This stands for repetitions. So if you do ten pushups in a row then this is ten reps.
Sets – A set is a group of repetitions. So ten pushups in a row are counted as 1 set.

Rest time – This is the time you rest between sets. Make sure you’re not resting between reps… 😉 So if you had to do 3 sets of 10 reps of pushups with a rest time of 15 seconds you would: Do ten pushups rest 15 seconds, do ten pushups rest 15 seconds, do ten pushups rest 15 seconds…

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