Weight Lifting Routines

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Weight Lifting Routines

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Anyone can lift weights in the gym and get a medium quality response. But you want to get great results and that too in a little time right? That requires a weight lifting routines based on scientific principles. Making serious gains requires a systematic plan as well as hard work in the gym. This article gets right to the heart of weight lifting routine and shows you, step by step, how to build your weight lifting routine to meet your goals. It explains the essential concepts of overload, progression, training volume and intensity. These form the core of weight lifting routine. You can then use the scientifically­ researched training techniques described in the SMART approach to design your weight lifting routine. This approach shows you how to select and marshall your exercises, how to manipulate the weights used, sets, repetitions and rest periods, and how to increase your training intensity to achieve specific goals. The article also describes a variety of proven training methods - basic and advanced - designed to stimulate maximum muscle growth and help you make continual gains.

Building Muscle with Weight Lifting Routine

Before proceeding further, I think it's important that you read over the following information. Understanding these basic terms of weight lifting will help you make sense of your weight lifting routine.

Repetition or 'rep'

A repetition is one complete movement in the exercise, from the starting position to a position of maximum contraction and then back to the starting position. This ensures that you complete what is called full range of movement (ROM). On the bench press, for example, lowering the bar to your chest (the eccentric, or negative part of the rep) and pushing it back up from your chest (the concentric, or positive part of the rep) is one repetition.

One-rep max

One-rep max (lRM) is the heaviest weight that you can lift for one - and just one - repetition. In other words, you can do a maximum of one repetition only for a given weight. This can be calculated either directly (by performing your lRM after a thorough warm-up) or indirectly by performing a 3RM (which is safer), then guessing what your lRM should be from standardized tables. Alternatively, find a weight with which you can just perform six repetitions. That is equivalent to approximately 70-80% of your lRM.


A set is a group of repetitions. If you per­formed ten repetitions of the bench press before taking a rest, those ten repetitions constitute a set.

Training to Failure 

When training to failure, you perform repetitions until you can no longer lift the weight through the concentric (or positive) part of the movement using proper form. Each exercise has a 'sticking point' during the concentric phase - the part of the movement where gravity and unfavorable leverage make it hardest, and this is usually the part of the movement at which the point of muscular failure is reached. Training to the point of failure allows you to recruit the largest number of motor units, which in turn results in maximal muscle-fibre stimulation.

Overload Training

Overload training is a calculated method of progressively working your muscles harder and harder to induce gains in strength, mass or endurance. When you strength train hard, you cause slight damage to the muscle fibres by overloading them. Your body then rebuilds the muscle fibres, making them stronger than they were before.


As you become stronger, fewer motor units (and therefore fewer muscle fibres) are needed to perform the same exercise. In other words, your muscles become more efficient at performing particular movements. To achieve continued gains in strength, mass or endurance, your weight lifting routine has to be progressive. If you were to stick to the same workout - the same exercises, weights, sets, rep schemes and rep speeds - your muscles would stop adapting and growing and you would only maintain your strength.

How to Design a Weight Lifting Programme

A weight lifting routine contains five key variables, which you can manipulate to meet your goals. These can be summarized by the abbreviation, SMART:

S = selection of exercises
M = marshalling of exercises
A = amount of sets
R = rest periods
T = training intensity

for complete information on setting SMART goals Click Here.

Selection of Exercises

The exercises you select for your workout depend on your specific goals and your level of experience.

Your Specific Goals

For strength and mass or muscular endurance, you should select those exercises that cause greatest stimulation of the muscle fibres. Thus, your weight lifting routine should include mostly compound exercises. For each muscle group, select two compound exercises and a maximum of one isolation exercise.

Alternatively, you may wish to emphasis an underdeveloped muscle group to achieve good symmetry and a balance of strength between opposing muscle groups. For example, many footballers and cyclists have an imbalance of strength between the quadriceps and hamstrings such that the hamstrings are comparatively weak. In this case, the solution is to add additional hamstring exercises to your weight lifting routine, and perhaps reduce the workload performed by the quadriceps in order to re balance the strength between the two muscle groups.

Types of Exercises

  • Compound, or multijoint exercise involve one or more large muscle areas (i.e. the chest , legs, shoulders, back, abdominals, arms) and work across two or more major joints. For example, the bench press is a compound exercise that is used primarily to target the pectoral muscles but also involves the triceps and front deltoids. Therefore, the exercise stimulates three muscle groups. It is a multijoint exercise because the movement involves both arm flexion (the shoulder joint) and extension of the forearm (the elbow joint).
  • Isolation, or single joint exercises involve smaller muscle groups (i.e. biceps, triceps, brachio radialis, erector spinae) and only one main joint. For example, the dumbbell flye is an isolation exercise that is used primarily to target the pectorals. The elbows are kept at a fixed angle throughout the range of movement and so no other muscle groups are worked. It is a single-joint exercise as it only works around the shoulder joint.

Your training experience

Beginners generally achieve better results from isolation exercises. This is mainly due to the fact that these exercises are easier to learn and execute using good form. Once you have mastered the basic movement patterns, plan your weight lifting routine around compound exercises that stimulate a greater number of muscle fibres. The final selection of your routine should result in equal stimulation of each muscle group, and ensure that no muscle group is left out.

For Advanced Weight Lifters, the goal is to avoid lack of training progress and achieve continued gains in strength and muscle mass. Keep your muscles growing by having a greater repertoire of exercises from which to choose. You can do this by:

  • Frequently changing the exercises you perform for each muscle group.
  • Using variations of standard exercises in different body positions to emphasis different parts of the muscle group.

Click here for full range of bodybuilding exercises for almost every body part.

Marshalling of Exercises

The marshalling of your exercises means the order in which you perform your exercises during a particular workout. You need to get the right order because it will affect the energy and effort you are able to put into the next exercise. For example, performing two consecutive exercises that both stimulate the same muscle group reduces the effort you can put into the second one.

The order can be changed according to the aspect of strength you wish to develop, and there are four methods.

Largest to Smallest

The most usual way of ordering exercises in beginners and advanced weight lifting routines is to work from the largest muscle groups to the smallest. Therefore, compound exercises that stimulate the largest muscle groups are performed first in your weight lifting routine, followed by the isolation exercises. This is because the compound exercises require the most effort and concentration, and are very difficult to perform correctly and safely if your muscles are fatigued. For example, in a leg workout you would perform compound exercises such as squats and leg presses before isolation exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls.

Advanced weight lifters sometimes reverse this order so as to break through a training plateau. This is called 'pre-exhaustion' and involves deliberately tiring a large muscle group by performing isolation exercises before the compound exercise (see above).

Alternating Upper and Lower-Body Circuit

Alternating upper and lower-body exercises is particularly suitable for beginners who would otherwise find performing several exercises for one area in one go too demanding. This method allows each muscle group to recover more fully between exercises, and is also good for people with limited training time available because it minimizes rest intervals - you can perform an upper-body exercise straight after a lower­body exercise without resting. Because rest periods are minimized, you also get a greater cardio-vascular effect compared with more conventional weight lifting programmes. On the downside, this method generally results in less stimulation of each muscle group and can result in slower strength and mass gains. Therefore, it would be less suitable for advanced weight trainers.

Alternating 'Push' and 'Pull' Exercises

Alternating pushing exercises (e.g. bench,
press) and pulling exercises (e.g. seated row) is also suitable for beginners, those resuming weight lifting and those with limited training time available. As with alternating upper and lower-body exercises this method is a very good way of reducing your rest periods because, while you are performing a pulling exercise (the seated row), the opposing muscle group used in the pushing exercise (the bench press) is recovering. You will not need to rest, yet you can still use maximum effort for each set. If you were to arrange several pushing exercises together (e.g. bench press, shoulder press, triceps extensions), you might have to reduce the amount of weight or number of repetitions used because the triceps (a muscle used in all three exercises) will become fatigued.


This training method involves two or more sets of different exercises performed consecutively with no rest period between. Supersets are very demanding nowadays and are best suited to advanced weight trainers and therefore here is the sample workout.

Find out more!!! at our next page. It is all about amount of sets, rest periods between workouts, training intensity and duration, training experience, your diet, power, muscle size, muscular endurance, advanced training methods and much more...

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