We have lost many great posts on strength training/weight training recently. Many of the old guard that made so many great posts on this forum are no longer with us. In light of this, I thought that I'd try to post something on weight training. I'll also give a little of my own advice, for what it's worth.
I use two programs in my training that I will share with you. Bill Starr's 5x5 is my favorite program. It can be worked by beginners through advanced lifters. There are various modified programs, but the basics of it include 5 sets of 5 reps of key lifts. Deadlifts, squats, bench press, military press, power cleans, and barbell rows make up the core of the program. The most popular version of this program (in my opinion) is doing the heaviest weight possible that challenges you do get 5 sets of 5 reps. On the deadlift, you may do 5 sets of 3 reps. (I do this quite often.) When you can get all 25 reps then it is time to add 10lb to the barbell. Continue adding weight every time you achieve all 25 reps.
There is no definitive answer as to how long to stick with a program, but I like to switch it up about every 4 months. The other program I use is one I was introduced to by a coach in high school. It's a 3x3 ramping/ascending program. It uses the same core exercises as the Starr program. The first set will be around 75% of your max and ascending up 10% each set. (1st set 75%, 2nd set 85%, 3rd set 95%) Itâ€™s okay if you only get 1 rep on your last set when you first start out. Do some assistance work to help out. If you complete all 9 reps then it's time to add some weight.
You can work any assistance exercises into the above programs that you wish. When doing assistance work start with dumbbells, then barbells, and lastly use machines. Do your assistance in that order. (It goes without saying that all exercises in the program are preformed with barbells.)
There are many lifting programs out there, but I like these. The Starr program can also be done with ramping sets instead of sets across (same weight every set). You could do a 3x3 with sets across also. The key is to use heavy weight. If you want to gain strength you shouldn't be doing high reps. Low reps and heavy weights make you stronger.
Don't neglect deadlifting and squats. Front squat and back squat, not just one. Try doing front squats for 4 months and then do back squats for 4 months. (Stay away from Smith Machines too.) These exercises basically make your whole body stronger. They are not fun, but they are worth it when you are stronger than your opponent.
Warm up before you begin your work sets. Do some light weight stuff before you get into the programs listed here. I usually warm up with 135lb then I get into my work sets. You don't want any injuries.
I also end some of my workouts with the 135lb warm up weight. I will do one set of as many reps as I can until I achieve failure. Some call this a burn out set, others a failure set. Some do not like lifting to failure but I do. I don't always do it, but I often do.
Make sure that your form/technique is correct before you attempt to lift heavy weight. Correct form is of the utmost importance. You will hurt yourself and make a fool of yourself at the gym if you topple over when squatting or throw your back out deadlifting. Do yourself a favor and learn the proper techniques before attempting one of these programs.
Recovery is very important when weight training. You will need to feel your body out and decide how many days a week your body can take lifting. I lift four days a week, but other guys I know can only lift three days a week. Some men lift five days a week, but I would suggest no more than four. Rest and recovery is essential.
Having a deload week is also very important. A deload week is simply a week spent recovering from exercise. Rest is not just a break from going to the gym. Itâ€™s an absolutely essential part of training! The older I get the more necessary it is that I take a deload week from time to time. Some like to deload once every four weeks. I like to take a deload week once every 6-8 weeks. Again, feel your body out and decide what works for you. Take a deload week every so often. It will help!
Last edited by Acepitbull
on Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.-Mark Twain
Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.- Confucius