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The Scoop on Strength Training!


For 40 years the Academy powered by Heavens Fitness has been at the leading edge of international fitness trends and research. Our goal has been to bring the latest researched information on health and wellness to our community, encouraging safety and knowledge, bringing our Training Right for life philosophy to life.


Last week we started our journey through the “fitness decades” by looking at the 80’s and the popularity of cardiovascular training. This week let’s continue our journey into the 90’s and the resurgence of strength training.


Strength training is not a modern invention. Egyptian tombs depict drawings of men lifting bags filled with sand and stone doing swinging and throwing exercises. Weightlifting competitions date back to early Greek civilizations and these events originated the games that later became known as the modern Olympics. However, the movie “PUMPING IRON” and the fame of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early 1990’s brought awareness back to weight/strength training.

What is strength training?

Strength training — also known as weight or resistance training — is physical activity designed to improve muscular strength and fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, including free-weights, weight machines, or your own body weight.


Three important variables of strength training are intensity, volume, and frequency. Intensity is the amount of work required to achieve the activity and is often measured by the percentage of an individual one-repetition maximum. The intensity limits the number of repetitions that can be carried out in one set, and is correlated with the repetition ranges chosen, traditionally divided as follows.

· 1 to 5 repetitions per set at 80% to 100% of 1RM—heavy, may have an advantage in strength development

· 8 to 12 repetitions per set with 60% to 80% of 1RM—moderate, traditionally thought to maximize hypertrophy, although more recent research has shown that hypertrophy can be maximized with a wide range loading schemes equal or greater than 30% 1RM of assuming the set is taken to failure

· 15+ repetitions per set with loads below 60% of 1RM—light, traditionally recommended to increase endurance

Volume refers to the total number of muscles worked, exercises, sets, and reps, either during a single session or measured over a longer period. Frequency refers to how many training sessions are performed per week. A training frequency of two or three times per week has greater effect on muscle size than once per week.


A common training strategy is to set the volume and frequency the same each week (e.g. training 3 times per week, with 2 sets of 12 reps each workout), and steadily increase the resistance on a weekly basis. However, to maximize progress to specific goals, individual programs may require different manipulations, such as decreasing the resistance, and increase volume or frequency.


Why is strength training important?

Strength training is not just about body building or getting big muscles. Regular strength or resistance training is good for people of all ages and fitness levels to help prevent the natural loss of lean muscle mass that comes with aging. A strong body enables us to maintain functional movement, allowing us to maintain daily activities such as getting in and out of a chair or up and down off the floor. It can also benefit people with chronic health conditions, like obesity, arthritis, or a heart condition.


Interested in getting starting in a strength training program? Contact personaltraining@heavensacademy.com and get set up with a free strategy sessions with one of our experts.


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