Fitness Plan - Pre-Workout
Fitness Plan - Pre-Workout
Fitness Plan - Pre-Workout
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Post-Workout
Fitness Plan - Post-Workout
Fitness Plan - Post-Workout

Strength Training


Strength training, just like HIIT, should be done one day per week. Stephanie demonstrates the different types of strength exercises you will be performing in the following video:

Before starting your strength training workout, however, you need to understand the difference between a rep and a set.

  • Repetitions — Also called reps, this is the number that represents one complete motion of an exercise. For instance, one pushup repetition is starting at the top, going down and coming back up. As you are performing each rep stay mindful of your form, body position and going through a full range of motion.
  • Set — This is a group of reps. For instance, if you do three sets of 10 reps you'll do a total of 30 motions with a break between each 10.

To know how many reps you should be performing, determine your fitness level and goals. Want to build strength and bulk up? Do fewer than eight to 10 reps per set, but with heavier weights. If you’re aiming to tone and condition your body, perform 10 to 12 reps per set together with moderate weights.

Don’t forget to adjust your weight to the muscles you’ll be working out. Heavier weights are recommended for the larger and stronger muscles such as your thighs, chest and upper back. Your smaller shoulder and arm muscles would require less heavy weights.

When lifting weights, always remember the proper tempo. Try to lift slowly and ensure that there’s a three-second positive, one-second isometric squeeze and three-second negative. Focus on contracting the muscle through the entire range of motion and don’t think too much about moving from point A to point B.

Your last rep has to be challenging no matter how many sets you’re doing. Try to perform basic exercises that’ll target your legs, back, shoulders and abs, with around two sets each. Here’s how you can work your way through these sets:

  1. First set — This set should have 15 to 20 reps. The final three reps are considered crucial for health benefits.
  2. Second set — Try to increase the weight in the smallest amount possible. When performing the exercise, lift until you can’t raise the weight anymore, or until you reach “muscle failure.” This refers to an instance wherein you can still carry the weight but are unable to maintain good form. Completing less reps than the previous set is fine.

Health benefits of strength training

Strength training can help boost your muscle mass and strength, promote muscle toning, stimulate weight loss and fat burning, and improve your metabolism. There’s more to strength training than just benefits to your figure, however, as multiple studies confirm that this type of workout may help:

  • Reduce your risk for sarcopenia, which is characterized by loss of muscle strength and muscle mass
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporotic changes to your bone, and inhibit osteoarthritis-induced joint damage
  • Ease anxiety and its related symptoms
  • Promote brain health by lessening white brain matter shrinkage
  • Enhance cardiovascular health
  • Decrease blood pressure levels
  • Address Type 2 diabetes symptoms and reduce your overall risk for this disease

What makes strength training different from other forms of resistance training is the immense effort required to perform the reps, and its effects on your body. Because there may be little recovery time between movements, it’s possible for your muscles to become fatigued and your heart rate to remain elevated. If you feel like you need help in performing these exercises, talk to a physical trainer or coach.

How to plank if you’re a beginner

While planks may seem beneficial only for your core muscles, they can benefit other muscles too, particularly those that run through your sides and your back, and even along your pelvis.

Planks can also serve as a measure of your fitness levels. Holding an abdominal plank for two minutes is a good indicator of your overall physical fitness. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand approximately 3 feet from a wall.
  2. Press your hands into the wall, elbows straight, weight on your toes and hold for 30 seconds. You may also do this on the floor with your hands flat to the surface, with your knees bent.

Performing planks correctly is essential in preventing stress from accumulating in your lower back and reducing mistakes that may hinder your progress. Take note of these reminders to avoid injuries:

  • Keep your shoulder, buttocks and legs in a straight line.
  • Place your head in a neutral position. Look approximately 8 to 12 inches in front of you.
  • Tighten your abdominal and gluteal muscles and tuck in your hips.
  • Pull down your shoulder blades.
  • Place your lower back is in a neutral position, without excess or reduced lower back curvature.

You can do planks in front of a mirror, film yourself doing the exercise or ask a friend to watch and provide feedback about your plank position.

Other ways you can build your strength

Contrary to popular belief, strength training exercises aren’t just for bodybuilders, and they do not have to be complex or require a gym to be beneficial. Once you've gotten past the idea that exercises are repetitive, boring, time-consuming or just for bodybuilders, you'll discover a new world of exercise that is anything but boring.

Consider incorporating several different types of training and tools to improve your fitness faster and have fun, such as:

  • Body weight exercises
  • Hand weights
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance bands
  • Medicine or exercise balls
  • Quart or gallon jugs filled with either water or sand
  • Weight machines
  • Strength classes
  • Rope climbing or rock wall climbing