Principles of Weight Lifting

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Fitness, Training

There are two very basic principles of weight lifting — building strength or building endurance.  Of course, there’s more to it than that, but if you’re just starting out, we’ll keep the information in short, bite-sized pieces.

Building endurance is also in the same field as building and maintaining lean muscle, rather than mass or volume.  Building strength, on the other hand, is the opposite and is typically the route for “buffing up” or “bulking up.”

In either case, the first principle being weight lifting is to lift as many times as it takes per set to become fatiguing with the last three reps.  A rep is a single lift, or push, or pull; one motion of moving the weight.  A set is a number of reps.  Sets can consist of anything from 6 reps on up to 15 or even 20, which we’ll discuss now.

Building endurance is often termed in lifting as “lifting light.”  This means picking a weight that will enable you to do around 15 reps per set (remembering that the last three should be difficult to complete).  This increases your muscle groups’ stamina but won’t necessarily bulk up in size or mass.

Building strength, or “lifting heavy,” involves lower reps but higher weight.  A set should tire you out around 10 reps at the most.

A typical weight lifting routine will look something like this, then:

  1. Perform your reps (8-10 or 12-15, depending on your goals).
  2. Rest for 1-2 minutes, or work out a different muscle group.
  3. Repeat the set.
  4. Rest again.
  5. Optionally do a third set, depending your routine.

Typically, it is also best to allow muscle groups to recuperate and recover for about 48 hours before working them out again, so include a day of rest in between working out the same muscle groups.

  1. Brooke says:

    And women should not be skipping weight lifting. It will not turn you into a scary female body builder. Our bodies were not designed like that. Weight lifting builds muscles and more muscles help burn more calories.