Strength Training Principles and Guidelines : Part 5
Almost any form of exercise will stimulate some degree of strength and muscle development. Unfortunately, misconceptions, myths, and misunderstandings plague the fitness industry, especially in regard to strength training. There is a huge attrition rate among those starting a strength training program primarily because most people are not taught the principles essential for a safe and effective program.
This feature article is in two parts, use the arrows below to navigate each section.
This article is part five of a five part series discussing the very important principles and guidelines of a safe and effective strength training program. This article discusses exactly how to avoid the common mistake of over training.
The previous article, part four of this five part series, discusses the importance of using the right amount of weight and number of repetitions for each set, so you can achieve the results you desire. The following exercise guidelines are extremely important for your safety and the effectiveness of your strength training program.
If you feel burnt out, weak, and / or sore, you are probably over training. Not providing your muscles with enough rest will often prevent you from making improvements. Training the wrong muscle groups on consecutive days will also counteract your good results. Doing too many sets and exercises per muscle group will also cause over training.
Remember that weightlifting, especially in an intense program, produces tissue micro trauma, those tiny tears in the muscles that temporarily decrease strength and cause varying degrees of muscle soreness.
It is absolutely necessary to provide ample rest time between successive training sessions. Muscles generally require about 48 hours for the resting and rebuilding process before you work them again.
You Should Never Train the Same Muscle Groups on Two or More Days in a Row
You should never train the same muscle groups on two or more days in a row (abdominals are the exception).
Hypothetically then, you would do your chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominals on Monday; on Tuesday you would train your legs, back, biceps, and abdominals; you would take Wednesday off to give all your muscle groups extra rest; on Thursday you’d do chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominals again; and on Friday you’d do legs, back, biceps, and abdominals again.
This would allow two days (48 hours) of rest for each muscle between training days.
Those of you who train very intensely, would benefit greatly by taking even more rest time between sessions. A week does not have to be limited to only seven days–you can expand it to eight, nine, or even ten days.
Think about it: why not? Day one could consist of chest, shoulders, triceps, (pushing muscles) and abdominals on Monday. Take Tuesday off. On day two, Wednesday, the routine could consist of legs, back, biceps, (pulling muscles) and abdominals. Take Thursday off.
On Friday you do chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominals again–and so on. This is especially important when mixing pushing and pulling muscles for different sessions.
For example, if you train your chest on Monday and then triceps the next day, your triceps never really get a complete rest because they are indirectly trained with your chest on Monday and directly trained on Tuesday. But if you split up chest/shoulders/triceps or back/biceps, working them on different days, you can implement this eight day program for maximum muscle resting time.