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Training to increase strength: what to know before you start

Strength training has been gaining more and more visibility and supporters and, in my opinion, this is something very positive.

In this article, you will get to know some of the benefits of training to increase strength, I’ll give you some tips and what you should know before you start organizing your training.

Benefits of strength training

This type of training has numerous benefits at any stage of your life.

  • It has the ability to improve intra and intermuscular coordination
  • It improves self-esteem
  • It’s stimulating at the level of the nervous system

These benefits become even more important at an older age, as they allow:

  • To maintain autonomy
  • To minimize the effects of muscle mass loss with age

In addition, there are those who even claim that it has medicinal properties.

Some authors even speak of this type of training as a preventive for the appearance of some diseases, and some hospitals already adopt strength training as part of the treatments.

According to the Harvard article “Strength training builds more than muscles

“And strength training, in particular, has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which are the most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts – particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance – enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures another way – by cutting down on falls.”

As such, it is increasingly important to start the practice of strength training early and on a regular basis.

It’s important to mention that strength training, like almost everything in life, is a process, and this process takes time to generate the necessary adaptations.

That’s why you have, probably, seen a person thinner than you moving heavy loads, one of the factors may have to do with the consistency of training and the consequent neural adaptations.

Before you start your training, you should find out where you are – what level you are on.

This step is fundamental to plan your training and set goals.

We usually divide the levels into:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Levels and what you should know about the different types:

Beginner

beginner training level

Profile

The beginner is someone who has little time of training, little coordination, little spatial awareness and underdeveloped muscle mass.

Usually, he has some fat mass and little training knowledge.

However, with a large margin of progression at this stage, a beginner can gain more muscle mass, as long as he/she is well oriented.

At this stage, it’s important to give priority to the technique rather than the load, since the muscles, joints, tendons, nervous system, among others, are not yet prepared to receive a very heavy load.

This does not mean that he/she won’t evolve, because at this stage, as he/she haven’t yet received any stimulus, every stimulus will signal the required adaptations.

Type of training

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In addition to the technique, which has to be your focus, you should also pay attention to multi-joint exercises (in which more than one joint is recruited during the execution of the exercise) if possible, such as deadlift, bench press and squat, for example.

In order to prolong your evolution in time and not to stagnate quickly, I would say that a training frequency of 3 training sessions per week would be enough to have good results in this first phase.

A full body training plan with multi-joint movements would be my option.

Intermediate

Intermediate training level

Profile

Intermediates are those who have been training for some time, have notion of their body, have already established a satisfactory mind-muscle connection, have some gains in strength and muscle mass, their technique in multi-joint movements is of a good level and they already have a notion of how to structure a training.

This is the stage where most people spend more time, some by choice, others due to a lack of consistency.

There are people who can be intermediates for the rest of their lives.

Type of training

At this stage, the concern with the technique already decreases a little, since it is already acquired.

However, normally, when the training intensity increases, the technique ends up suffering.

The margin of evolution is already smaller than for the beginner, however the results will be much more visible.

At this stage, it would be interesting to start introducing some single-joint exercises (that recruit one joint) – usually more localized exercises for a certain part of the body, such as abdominal crunch or bicep curl in order to continue the evolution.

In my opinion, the ideal would be to move to a lower and upper limb plan, thus increasing the frequency to 4-5 days per week.

This would happen in order to allow a greater frequency of stimulation and a greater load on the muscles worked in the session.

Advanced

advanced training level

Profile

The advanced are the top of the pyramid.

Usually, they are athletes or ex-athletes who have already done a lot of strength training, or enthusiasts who have spent a few years perfecting their training technique.

As a rule, they have an impeccable physique, have an excellent mind-muscle connection, their training intensity is very high, as well as their technique that remains unchanged regardless of the intensity.

They are very attentive to details and, generally, their training does not last much more than an hour.

Type of training

As they already have an extensive background, they need a greater volume of training.

As such, regular training, with just one day of rest, could be a good option.

At this stage, you can divide the training into “push,pull,legs” or, if you prefer, divide into two muscle groups.

The gains are not so significant anymore, but they become much more visible.

The loads moved are heavier.

An athlete who is at the advanced level values the warm-up, because he knows that this is determinant for his performance, just like he values all other extra-training factors – food, rest and supplementation.

What level are you on?

to question

It isn’t always easy to see where you are on this scale.

But attention! It’s essential to find out where you are, so that you can use the best strategies in order to meet your goals.

Although your current level is important, it’s also necessary to realize that a progressive load will be determinant in your evolution, hence the importance of training consistency.

The technique is also another factor to consider, and the concern with the technique must always be present – without it you will end up injuring yourself and harming your training consistency and your health.

So, regardless of the training phase you are in, be concerned with evolving and be consistent.

The more you think about training, the closer you will be to your goal – more is not always better. Be calm and be consistent, the results will appear.

Comments

The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About Tiago Sousa

Tiago Sousa
Tiago Sousa has a degree in Sports & Physical Education, he is a Personal Trainer and also a Crossfit L1 Trainer. He is a former competition swimmer with his own outdoor training business. He aims to bring more science to his area, helping people to achieve their goals in a safe way.

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