The Complete Strength Building Workout Guide

The Complete Strength Building Workout Guide

Strength building workout – Fitness Studio

Strength training strengthens the muscles, which in turn relieves the bones and joints thus reducing the risk of injuries and falls. Targeted strength training to build muscle also promotes energy expenditure, because the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Though, the prerequisite for an effective strength building workout is precise and individually tailored training planning. In any case, the regeneration phases between the training units should be at least 24 hours. 

How is a muscle built?

The human skeletal muscles also known as striated muscles, resemble a physiological powerhouse: in a sarcomere, the smallest structural unit of the muscle, actin and myosin filaments slide into each other and thus enable muscle contraction. Regardless of whether we stand, walk or run: we cannot maintain our body’s position (static muscle effort) or accomplish motions without muscle strength (dynamic muscle work). Muscle also attenuates all acting on the body forces, such as when we have to move through rapid response to an object.

Why you should build muscle?

Strength training is always time well invested – regardless of whether you are building muscle or losing weight, beginner or advanced. Here are some reasons why you should build your muscle:

  • Slows down declining performance:  

Well-trained muscles are the best recipe for slowing down declining performance in old age. Muscle strength reaches its peak between the ages of 20 and 30, after which it initially decreases imperceptibly, but from the age of 50 onwards it decreases significantly – also as a result of the increasingly lower stress on the muscles.

  • Protects the musculoskeletal system:  

Well-developed muscles can prevent damage to the musculoskeletal system that occurs as a result of poor posture or long periods of sitting.

  • Muscles as shock absorbers:  

Athletes benefit from building muscle, even when it comes to dynamic sports such as football: strong muscles soften the enormous forces that act on joints during abrupt movements.

  • Increases the basal metabolic rate: 

Anyone who regularly exercises a certain sport such as football or athletics should know which muscle groups should be specifically strengthened for this. Trainers and sports scientists provide appropriate advice. In a health-oriented recreational sport to increase general fitness, you should train the entire musculature as far as possible.

Training takes place in fitness studios with training devices in which weights are moved or lifted using muscle strength or weights are moved using cable pulls. Strength building workout with free dumbbells is also possible. The training intensity can be controlled by varying the weights or setting the equipment. 

Basic concepts of strength training

  • Repetitions:  One movement each with yielding and overcoming muscle work, e.g. bending and stretching the arm with the dumbbell.
  • A sentence or a series:  is a continuous sequence of several repetitions (e.g. 12 repetitions).
  • Intensity:  is the degree of exertion in an exercise. It is given as a percentage of the single repetition maximum (EWM or One Repetition Maximum 1RM), which is determined by special tests or assessed by the individual perception of stress. 
  • Movement: is the speed of movement execution.

 Training takes place at various stations, i.e. training equipment or exercises with weights in the specified series. 

Example of a station in standard strength training for muscle building:

  • Intensity:  70-80% of the EWM
  • Tempo:  brisk
  • Repetitions:  8-12
  • Series:  3
  • Break:  at least 3 minutes

Then change the station.

A complete training unit, in which all muscle groups are recorded, takes about 1 hour and extends over 8 stations with various devices or dumbbell exercises. 2 to a maximum of 3 such training units per week are ideal for gaining muscle strength. The regeneration phases between strength training sessions should be at least 24 hours.

This is how you get started with training:

As a beginner, you should be aware of

  • Scope and intensity: Untrained people should systematically increase strength training in terms of volume and intensity: the absolute minimum, however, is a set of 8 to 15 repetitions per muscle group per week. Initially, you will also work with lower intensities to learn the correct execution of movements. However, the effort should not be less than 40% of the EWM.
    Also, make sure that opposing muscle groups (flexors and extensors) are trained in a balanced ratio.
  • Performing the exercises: Correct strength training requires professional instructions – you should therefore pay attention to the quality of the advice in the fitness studio!
  • Alternatives: An alternative is “gentle strength and endurance training”, which can also be carried out at home. Although this does not lead to any muscle growth, it does strengthen and improve the coordination of movements. No training equipment is required for this, classic exercises are squats or pull-ups, as well as push-ups.

There are also many things that advanced users should consider e.g.

  • With increasing training experience or training effect, the training increases. It should be noted, however, that colds, for example, can limit performance – then “full training” is not allowed. The regeneration breaks of at least 24 hours between the units must also be observed.
  • By varying the exercises or choosing different training equipment, the training can be made more varied and effective. For example, only one set per exercise is carried out and the station is changed more often.

Special forms of training

There are generally two forms of training:

  1. Pyramid training:  a special form of strength training in which the intensity and number of repetitions are varied. The number of repetitions per set varies in ascending or descending order, but you shouldn’t do more than 4 sets of the same exercise. 
  2. Training split:  If you want to train more than 2-3 times a week, you can do exercises for the upper body muscles one day and the lower body muscles the next day. A split between push and pull exercises (pull and push) is also possible.

In any case, sore muscles after strength training are allowed: it indicates the beginning of the muscle restructuring!

Diet and Weight Training

Those who do strength training do not need any additional nutrients with a balanced mixed diet of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Special “protein shakes” are also not neecessary in both hobby and professional sports.

Try not to eat anything one hour before training, possibly during training, ideally within 30 minutes after training, to consume carbohydrates. This has a positive influence on the blood sugar level and encourages the refilling of the energy stores (glycogen reserves).

Common mistakes in weight training

Strength training isn’t rocket science, and yet there are a few things to keep in mind. Because if you train incorrectly over a long period of time, it provokes health problems. Do not mistreat your joints at all. Good strength training creates a balance between what you want to achieve and what you have to do to achieve it, without causing health problems or pain. Therefore, you should avoid the following mistakes when doing strength training:

  • Too little or too high loads: As a result, there is no effect or there are overload reactions. Qualified sports and training science advice are therefore essential when starting training. 
  • Lack of warming up and mobilization of the joints: Loose running on a stand and, for example, circling the shoulders and arms are good ways to loosen up joints.
  • Stretching after strength training: It puts additional strain on the already strained muscle. 
  • Incorrect breathing or “holding your breath”: Ideally, exhale when lifting the weight and inhale when lowering it. This rhythm is automated after just a few training sessions!
  • Training with tired muscles: Give rest to your muscles. For example, if you want to go jogging on the same day, strength training should come before endurance training.
  • Incorrect execution of the exercises: Incorrectly executed exercises or too quick “pulling up” the weights leads to incorrect loading and thus possible damage to joints, ligaments, or intervertebral discs. Let trainers show and explain the correct execution of movements to you!
  • Lack of recovery phases: Muscle building stops if the recovery phase is too short or if there is no recovery period. Muscle growth only occurs when the person is resting. Therefore at least a 24-hour break between 2 training sessions. 
  • Unclearly defined goals: Should strength training strengthen the relevant muscles for a particular sport or improve general fitness? Is there any damage or pain after bad posture? In any case, it is important to plan the training in a targeted manner under expert guidance to achieve maximum benefit. 
  • Too little or too intensive training: In the first case, there is no effect, in the second case, there is overload.

Conclusion:

  • Muscles are indispensable for both holding the position and moving the body.
  • Muscle building cannot prevent the decline in performance in old age, but it can decisively slow it down. Further advantages are better protection against injuries and an increased basal metabolic rate.
  • Beginners should start with low intensities and slowly but continuously increase the load over a longer period.
  • The most common mistakes include ambiguously defined goals, incorrectly executed exercises, and an overly intensive or overly gentle training plan.