You've been doing the same strength workout for months now, and you're not seeing any progress. Plus, you are really bored! It is time to take your strength training program to the next level. There are many methods and techniques that you can add to your tired routine to make your program an advanced strength training program. The sooner you apply them, the sooner you'll see the results you want in the mirror.
General Strength Guidelines
The American College of Sports Medicine advises that you perform resistance, or strength, exercises two to three times per week on nonconsecutive days. You perform one to three sets of eight to 12 reps for each exercise, and you do one exercise for each major muscle group. This is great to get started -- this kind of workout will launch you on your way to get fit and build a great muscular base. But now you need to change it up after a bit.
Full Body Workouts to Split Program
Most women perform full-body routines where they exercise all their muscles on the same day. Well, not anymore. Instead change to a split routine where you only work two to three muscles at a time to really challenge them. Try this three day split routine. Day one work your back and chest. Day two work your lower body. Day three choose exercises for your shoulders and arms. On all three days do two or three ab exercises. You can do each routine one day per week, such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or you can do days one through three on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Take Thursday off and repeat on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You choose. Also, do two to three exercises per muscle group.
Change Your Sets and Reps
If you always do two sets of eight to 12, you need to skip that and make a change. For four weeks try doing three sets of 10 to 15. Then change to four sets of six to eight. After another four weeks try two sets of 15 to 20 reps. Every four to six weeks change the number of sets and reps you perform so that your body will build strength as well as endurance. Don't be afraid to do less reps with more weight. Most women don't build a lot of size with weight training. They just get lean and strong.
Supersets and Giant Sets
Two training methods that are often used by advanced participants are supersets and giant sets. A superset is where you do two exercises back to back for opposing muscle groups. For example, you can do a dumbbell bicep curl followed immediately by an overhead extension for your triceps. Perform all your sets and reps for these two exercises, then move on to another two exercises. A giant set expands this to three or more exercises. You perform all three to five exercises back to back in a mini-circuit. Then move on to the next set of exercises. These methods also help you save time in the gym.
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.