If you’re trying to come up with your strength training programming, here are five places to start that have all proven to be effective for athletes.
Bodybuilding, also called hypertrophy training, is the use of resistance training to build muscle and manipulate body composition. This is why athletes often use it for aesthetic purposes. The focus is largely on the size and aesthetics of your muscle mass.
If you’re a bodybuilder, your programming will indeed incorporate infinite kinds of exercises. Importantly, bodybuilding includes both compound exercises and accessory work. Compound exercises tackle more than one muscle/muscle group. For instance, squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are compound movements. For accessory work, you can focus on isolating more specific areas. For example, pull-ups, curls, and planks all target particular muscles in more isolation.
Bodybuilding/hypertrophy training typically entails lighter weights and higher reps — somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-12 reps with shorter rest in between rounds. The advantage this approach offers is that it greatly increases the fuel (made of glycogen and enzymes) stored in your muscles. This is ultimately what increases muscle size.
2. Brute Strength Powerlifting
Think about the main goal for powerlifters: to move as much weight as possible. That’s the aim of brute strength powerlifting. This requires one key factor: going heavy. Compared to bodybuilding, the weights you use will go up significantly, and you’ll cut the reps down to approximately 3-8.
This concept can be applied to just about everything you do in the gym, from squats to deadlifts to dumbbell presses. Progressive overload is going to be important, meaning that ideally, you slowly increase your weight over time. This way, you’re constantly taxing your muscles, which is when growth happens.
Why is powerlifting so good for getting stronger? It’s going to increase your nerve and muscle function, which means that you’re going to be able to lift more. If you want to squat 300lbs, your body needs to get used to that stimulus. So, that’s why powerlifters move incredibly heavy loads for fewer reps.
3. Circuit Training
Circuit training involves rotating between anywhere from five to 10 exercises that complete one “circuit.” You do this for either a set number of rounds or for a designated amount of time. Exercises are performed back-to-back, with a short period of rest between circuits. For example, you might go through a circuit of 30 seconds each of dumbbell squats, push-ups, sit-ups, curls, and lunges. Rest for two minutes and then repeat twice more.
Circuit training is a great way to challenge the whole body even with a limited amount of time. While the exercises included are typically lower in weight (or are even bodyweight) and higher in reps, you can tailor circuit training to help you meet your own goals. Just about anything can be turned into circuit training.
4. Isometric Weight Training
Isometric training is also called static training. This means that a muscle (or muscles) contract for a period of time, but they’re not actually moving. In other words, you hold a specific position. For example, a wall sit is an isometric exercise. You can up the challenge by adding weight to any isometric movement. For instance, you can put a plate on your back and perform a push-up, holding at the bottom position with your chest an inch off the ground.
The benefit of isometric weight training is simple and powerful: It’s an easy way to increase time under tension. And time under tension is what tears your muscles down so that they can build back up and be stronger than before.
Important to note, though, is that of the five main types of weight training, the gains from isometric work don’t come close to the other methods. However, this is great to incorporate as a low-impact form of training. If you’re injured, have joint issues, or it’s an active rest day, isometric training can work.
5. High-Volume Training
High-volume training is pretty self-explanatory! The number of reps/rounds will increase, which means that the weight needs to decrease. For instance, instead of performing a 5x5 of squats at a moderate weight (maybe 150lbs), you might go down to 120lbs and do 3x10.
Again, in collecting reps, you’re also collecting time under tension, which is going to build strength. Progressive overload also plays a role in this type of weight training. As you get stronger, you’re going to be able to lift more weight for the same number of reps (or you can lift the same weight for more reps).
Which Type of Weight Training is Right for You?
Well, there are two things to consider here:
1. Personal Preference
What do you enjoy? Pick something that’s going to make you happy, because your weight training will only work if you stay consistent with it.
2. Your Goals
Here’s the good news: No matter which type of weight training you focus on, you’re going to see results. As we mentioned, isometric training won’t yield results that are as noticeable. However, it makes a great supplement to your other weight training. If you focus on getting in enough reps and lifting progressively heavier weights, you will get stronger and your muscles will grow in size.
These five main types of weight training all trigger hypertrophy to some extent. The difference in results is quite minimal. So, it’s really about finding what feels like the right fit for you.
Start Your Weight Training with Tempo
So, you’re ready to get started on your weight training journey. Where do you go next? With over 1,000 workouts (and new ones always being added), Tempo is a powerful way to get fit right in the comfort of your own home.
Work with your own body weight as well as dumbbells and barbells to achieve your strength goals and perfect your physique. And with our 3D Tempo Vision, you have a personal trainer always keeping a watchful eye on you, making recommendations for technique adjustments and which weights to use. Choose from our strength, hypertrophy, and power classes to find the programming that meets your needs.
Getting fit and maintaining your health no longer requires a gym membership or rows of machines. With Tempo, you can get your sweat on without stepping outside your front door.
Ready to take that next step? Shop with Tempo today.