Weight Lifting Workouts

by Jeff on May 8, 2011

How are you going to lift weights to reach your goals?

There are different reasons to lift weight, what is the outcome you want out of your weight lifting workouts?

  1. Are you training to make your muscles grow stronger?
  2. Are you training to make your muscles grow bigger?

Different workouts are focused to create different results, pick the one that creates the results you want. In this post, I’m going to talk about the difference in the two approaches.

Weight Lifting Workouts: Strength Training

In a Strength Training workout, you will:

1. Lift heavier weights
2. Do less repetitions
3. Take longer breaks in between sets

It’s almost the opposite to building bigger muscles. The 5×5 or 3×5 strength training routine is one of the most effective ways to gain strength. Do 5 sets of 5 repetitions or 3 sets of 5 repetitions, rest for 3 minutes in between sets. This may be a longer break than you’re used to. Always keep great form, never train to failure, only attempt a rep if you’re confident that you complete it. Ideally you want to keep one in the tank. Once you can confidently complete 5×5 with left 1 in the tank, add 10 pounds next time (5 on each side). Then work your way up to the 5×5 again, never training to failure and always leaving one in the tank.

You probably will not feel exhausted after your workout and have doubt abouts whether you worked hard enough. Continue training this way and you will make some fast strength gains. Strength training will make your muscles grow bigger, however, the progress is a lot slower than the approach purely focussed on size gains.

When you’re working to build strength, do the major compound exercises. These are exercises that requires multiple muscle groups to work together in order to execute the lift. Examples of compound exercises include:

Benchpress
Squats
Deadlift
Chin Ups
etc…

Some people only do the ‘Big 3’, the are Squats, Deadlifts and Benchpress. I like to include weighted chin ups in my strength training routine. To learn more, check out my post on Strength Training.

Franco Columbu, champion bodybuilder and powerlifter.

Weight Lifting Workouts: Training for Bigger Muscle Size

When building bigger muscles, you will:

1. Be using lower weights
2. Perform higher reps
3. Take shorter breaks in between sets

In order to create size gains, you need to train to fatigue your muscles through higher reps. To reach muscle fatigue, do two or three exercises that targets the same muscle group back to back. Higher rep schemes will involve eight to fifteen repetitions in each set.

Isolation exercises are mandatory in your workouts, they target individual muscle groups to create a greater degree of fatigue.

When you’re doing compound exercises, your muscles are working together to lift the weight. The individual muscle groups are not going to reach the same degree of fatigue. Isolation exercises also gives you some control over which muscles you want to develop. To look good, you need to create the right proportions. In the next section, I will talk about compound exercises. If you are only doing the ‘Big 3’, your lower body will end up developing at a faster rate. This does not create an attractive physique.

Creating a Visually Impressive Body

It turns out that visible muscles only makes up 20% of your entire muscle mass. However, this subset of muscles make up 80% of your perceived muscle size. This small subset of muscles are what makes you look ripped when they are developed properly.

This is how Hollywood actors transform their bodies in such a short time. They focus on developing 20% of the muscles that create 80% of the results. To learn more about developing these muscles fast to get ripped, check out my post on The Best Workout To Get Ripped


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam- Look Like An Athlete May 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Really good article. You really laid it out in a simple method.

So many find it hard to believe that higher reps is what gives muscle gains when the common belief is that it is the lower rep ranges.

However, what I have found works in my training is switching between rep ranges every couple of months. I don’t stay with a 5 X 5 method for example for months on end. Instead I do this then move to lower rep ranges at some point and back up to higher rep ranges. I cycle this way and see muscle gains better than I saw when I was starting out on my weight training over a decade ago.

-Sam

Reply

Jeff May 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Hi Sam, you’re absolutely right about the cycling. You will eventually hit a plateau if you follow the same workout for too long.

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