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Navigating Strength Training, Part 2

Are you fearful of lifting weights? Let our experts at Vision Personal Training show you how to navigate strength training effectively - Part 2.
Weight Loss Articles
Weight Loss Articles

By Sean Raso

In this edition we will further discuss your programming elements including, rest, sets and intensity!


Rest intervals:

Have you ever been waiting for a machine at the gym and there is someone who pumps out 15 reps in a set and then gets their phone out and reads their Facebook news feed for 2 minutes before they start their next set? I see this all the time and it is also one of the reasons that I prefer not to train with partners in the gym. The rest period between your set is an integral part of achieving the result you want to achieve with your training and can actually determine if you are achieving the desired results from your training or if you are just wasting your time. Below I will provide more information on rest intervals between sets.

  • Muscular strength: When training for absolute strength gains, it is important for your muscles to replenish their ATP (energy) stores before beginning the next set so you can continually move the most amount of weight possible. This takes up to 3 minutes.
  • Muscular hypertrophy/growth: Again, this is the type of training you are most likely to be performing with your personal trainer. To build muscle we want to keep the muscles under tension for longer, so a short break of up to 1 - 1.5 minutes gives you enough time to replenish over half your energy stores and is ideal for this type of training.
  • Muscular endurance: When training for muscular endurance, the aim is to train the muscle to not fatigue as quickly. In order to train the muscle this way, we want to be doing sets in quick succession of each other, having rest breaks of 30 - 45 seconds between sets.


Number of sets:

The number of sets that you do is also an important factor to consider when creating a resistance training program. When creating a muscle hypertrophy/growth program, you want to overload the muscles, so performing anywhere between 3-6 sets is ideal. The same applies when training for muscular endurance; you are trying to train the muscle to keep exerting force under fatigue, therefore we must get the muscle to fatigue under a higher amount of sets to achieve this. When training for strength, always perform 2 warm up sets before performing 3 work sets. We only do 3 work sets when training for strength because you are performing a maximal effort and it is likely that your muscles will only last 3 sets at the desired weight before fatiguing.



Regardless of your goal, always train at an intensity where by the end of the set you feel you are unable to perform any more repetitions at the weight you are working with. If you are able to finish comfortably or push out more reps, you are not working at a high enough intensity. Remember that in order for our bodies to change, we must force them to adapt to the external forces that we apply to them. If these forces are not substantial, then your body will not adapt and you will not see progression.


Stay Tuned for Part Three!

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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