Designing a Resistance Training Program

Supervised physical therapy may be helpful to ...

Supervised physical therapy may be helpful to overcome some symptoms. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s Illinois University quide for designing a resistance training program according to your goals.

Your fitness goal

The first step to designing a resistance training program is establishing your fitness goal. The type and number of exercises, as well as the number of sets and repetitions will differ based on your fitness goal.

WEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAMS

Program Goal
Sets
Repetitions
Resistance
Rest between Sets
Endurance
3
15 to 25
50-65% of 1 Rep. Max
30 to 60 seconds
Health/Fitness
1 to 3
10 to 15
60-80% of 1 Rep. Max
30 to 60 seconds
Strength
3 to 6
5 to 6
80-88% of 1 Rep. Max
3 to 5 minutes
Size
3 to 6
8 to 12
80-85% of 1 Rep. Max
30 to 60 seconds
Power
3 to 6
2 to 4
80-90% of 1 Rep. Max
3 to 4 minutes

 

Table content taken from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning,
edited by Thomas Baechle for the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Endurance and Health/Fitness programs are appropriate for inexperienced or currently inactive individuals. Strength and Power programs are appropriate for individuals training for sports. The Size Program is appropriate for individuals who wish to participate in bodybuilding.

Your fitness plan

The next step in designing your program is determining how many exercises you will include for each of the muscle groups. Below are 2 sample programs that will work well for nearly everyone. They can be adjusted based on your fitness goal. Each rotation should last 4-6 weeks.

Rotation 1

  • Rest 60 – 90 seconds between sets.
  • Try to maximize your last set (i.e. select a weight that let’s you complete your last few repetitions, although it’s difficult).
  • Include abdominal and low back exercises 3 days per week.
DAY 1

Muscle group

# of exercises

Chest
2
Back
2
Biceps
1
Triceps
1
DAY 2

Muscle group

# of exercises

Shoulders
2-3
Quadriceps
1
Hamstrings
1
Whole leg
1
Calves
1
DAY 3

Muscle group

# of exercises

Chest
2
Back
2
Biceps
1
Triceps
1

Rotation 2

  • Rest 60 – 90 seconds between sets.
  • Try to maximize your last set (i.e. select a weight that let’s you complete your last few repetitions, although it’s difficult).
  • Include abdominal and low back exercises 3 days per week.
DAY 1

Muscle group

# of exercises

Chest
2-3
Back
2-3
DAY 2

Muscle group

# of exercises

Biceps
2
Triceps
2
DAY 3

Muscle group

# of exercises

Shoulders
2
Quadriceps
1
Hamstrings
1
Calves
1
Whole leg
1

Exercise suggestions

The last step is choosing the specific exercises you want to do for each muscle group in your program. There are numerous ones, but some basic suggestions are below.

Upper Back
Prone/seated rows
Push-ups
Pull-ups
Lower Back
Superman
Trunk extension
The plank
Chest
Bench press (flat, incline, decline)
Flys
Push-ups
Biceps
Curls
Hammer curls
Preacher curls
Triceps
Dips
Overhead extension
Shoulders
Shrugs
Lateral raise
Front raise
Push-ups
Overhead press

Abdominals
Crunches
Trunk twists
The bicycle
The plank
Reverse crunches
Hamstrings
Leg curl
Quadriceps
Leg extension
Squats
Whole leg
Leg press
Squats
Gluteals
Squats
Lunges
Prone hip extension


Your resistance training program should be designed with your fitness goals in mind! However, every routine should share these elements:

  • Warm-up (aerobic) – five minutes low intensity to break a sweat. (Examples: running, cycling, walking, etc).
  • Pre-exercise stretching – hold at a gentle stretch for 15-20 sec., stretch muscles that you’ll be using during your workout. (Example: hamstrings, calves, quads and chest).
  • Post -exercise stretching & strengthening – 1 to 2 minutes/muscle groups for stretching, and add abdominal and low back strengthening if they have not been included in your weight training routine.
  • Order of Exercises: Start with large or multiple muscle groups (chest press, lat pull down, leg press and squats), followed by small muscle group (biceps, triceps, deltoids and calves).
  • Amount of weight: The correct weight should produce fatigue by the last repetition in each set, or determine resistance by using a percentage (typically 60-80%) of your one repetition maximum. (Example: If you can lift a maximum of 50 lbs. one time during leg extension, 70% of that would be 35 lbs.)
  • Rest: 48 to 72 hours between workout sessions for each muscle group.
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About swimbikerun1
Devoted Father, Husband and Employee.Endurance sports fanatic (running,cycling,swimming).Triathlon athlete and coach.If only days had more than 24 hours.

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