Tag Archives: hypertrophy

Resistance Training, Part 7: Rest Periods

12 Oct

This, the final entry in my Resistance Training series, will discuss rest periods – the recovery time between sets and exercises.  Rest period length will depend on the athlete’s training goal, intensity, and status (physical condition).

Rest Periods, Based on Resistance Training Goal

The amount of rest recommended between sets is directly related to the load lifted; the heavier the load lifted, the longer the rest period the athlete should allow between sets.  Additionally, more complex lifts – core (multi-joint) exercises – will require more rest than assistance (single-joint) exercises.  The following are recommended rest period lengths for strength, power, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance training programs:

  • Strength and Power; 2-5 minutes
  • Hypertrophy; 30 seconds – 1.5 minutes
  • Muscular Endurance; 30 seconds or less


Your thoughts?

Resistance Training, Part 6: Volume

10 Oct

Volume – or volume load – refers to the total amount of weight lifted in a training session.  A set is a group of repetitions sequentially performed before the athlete stops to rest.  Volume is usually calculated by multiplying the number of sets by the number of repetitions times the weight lifted per repetition.

Single-set training may be appropriate for untrained individuals or during the first several months, but many studies indicate higher volumes are necessary to promote further gains in strength, especially for intermediate and advanced resistance-trained athletes.  Performing three sets of 10 repetitions without going to failure enhances strength better than one set to failure in 8 to 12 repetitions.

Primary Resistance Training Goal

Training volume is directly based on the athlete’s resistance training goal.  Below is a summary of guidelines for numbers of repetitions and sets commonly associated with strength, power, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance training programs:

  • Strength – 6 or fewer repetitions; 3-5 sets
  • Power – 2-4 repetitions; 3-5 sets
  • Hypertrophy – 6-12 repetitions; 3-6 sets
  • Muscular endurance – 12 or more repetitions; 2-3 sets


Your thoughts?

Next: Rest Periods

Resistance Training, Part 5: Training Load and Repetition

8 Oct

Load is the amount of weight lifted (pushed or pulled) during an exercise set.  It is an important component of a resistance training program.

There is an inverse relationship between load and repetitions.  The heavier the load lifted, the fewer the number of repetitions that can be performed.  Load is usually described in one of two ways:

  • One-repetition maximum (1RM) is the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with proper technique for only one repetition.
  • Repetition maximum (RM) is the most weight that can be lifted for a specified number of repetitions.  For example, if an athlete can perform 10 repetitions with 200 lbs in the bench press exercise, his or her 10RM is 200 lbs.

There are a few different ways for the Strength and Conditioning professional to assess and determine an athlete’s training load:

  • Actual 1RM (directly tested).
  • Estimated 1RM from a multiple-RM test; there are prediction equations and tables available to estimate the 1RM from multiple-RM loads. (see NSCA website)
  • Multiple-RM based on the number of repetitions planned for that exercise (the goal).

Load and repetition assignments should be based on the athlete’s training goal.

  • If the athlete’s goal is Strength development, loads (%1RM) should be 85% or more; repetitions should be 6 or fewer.
  • If the athlete’s goal is Power development, loads should be 75-90%; repetitions should be in the 2-4 range.
  • If the athlete’s goal is Hypertrophy (muscle growth), loads should be 67-85%; repetitions should be in the 6-12 range.
  • If the athlete’s goal is Muscular endurance, loads should be 67% or less; repetitions should be 12 or more.

As the athlete adapts to the training load and repetitions, it’s important for the Strength and Conditioning professional to have a progression strategy.  Advancing exercise loads ensures that improvements will continue over time.  It is necessary for the trainer and athlete to monitor and chart each workout and the athlete’s response to it.

A conservative method that can be used to increase an athlete’s training load is called the 2-for-2 rule.  If the athlete can perform two or more repetitions over his or her assigned repetition goal in the last set in two consecutive workouts for a certain exercise, weight should be added to that exercise for the next training session.  (Baechle, T. and Earle, R.; Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)

The quantity of load increases, when progression is warranted, should generally be about 2.5-10%.


Your thoughts?

Next: Volume

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