Knowledge of the benefits of strength training has become more widely known over the last decade. Strength training increases the body’s muscle mass, which revs up the body’s metabolism and helps you burn more calories at rest. Big box gyms and boutique gyms alike have started adding in more weight training and strength building classes, giving gym goers numerous opportunities to increase their muscle mass and reap the benefits.
However, building your own strength training plan can be fun, as it allows you the freedom to focus on your own goals and workout at your own pace, which you won’t get from classes. If building your own strength training plan seems a bit challenging and you're not sure where to begin, check out these tips below to build your own strength training plan - and stick to it!
Pick three tangible goals
Are you interested in increasing your one rep max on your deadlift? Are you looking to work on increasing the amount of weight you can press above your head? Pick three tangible goals that you can measure to start building your plan around.
These should be movements that you can test at the beginning of your program and then again at the end to track your progress. Numbers don't lie - having goals based around the amount of weight or repetitions you can do for specific movements will make it easier for you to clearly see the progress you're making, and will help you make adjustments as needed.
Evaluate your schedule
Take a look at your schedule and really evaluate how often you'll be able to work, and how much time you'll have to dedicate for each workout. Three to four strength-based workouts a week is a great goal to shoot for. It will allow the body enough time to rest and recover while steadily increasing strength.
However, if three to four days isn't feasible with your schedule, start with what you know you can stick to 90% of the time. Once you've gotten into a routine that you feel confident with, you can look into adding on more strength training days that work into your schedule.
Design your workouts
Once you know what goals you want to work on and what your schedule looks like, you can build your workouts around those components. Start by picking one main lift (a deadlift for example) and then a few accessory movements to go along with it to supplement your deadlift training. Picking one main lift to focus on each workout will allow your body the ability to train that movement and gain noticeable strength. Create enough workouts like this for 1-2 weeks.
Although it may sound a little boring, you'll want to repeat those 1-2 weeks worth of workouts for at least 2 months. It will allow your muscles to build strength within specific movements and will allow you to track your progress easily and efficiently.
Stick to it!
Once your plan is in place, devise a plan to stick with it! Keep a journal of your weights and reps performed during each workout to easily track your progress and help keep yourself accountable. Schedule in your workouts like you would an important work meeting - block out that time, and you'll be much more likely to stick with it.
One last word of advice - when starting a new strength training program, always have a professional form check you. That will greatly reduce your risk of injury and will allow your body to build strength safely and correctly.
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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