The best type of training to get stronger is resistance or strength training. This can be accomplished by using your bodyweight, free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc.), gym equipment (lat pulldown machine, cable machine, etc.), medicine balls, suspension equipment, or resistance bands.
What is Strength training?
Strength training is a type of training that is designed to improve your strength by working your muscles against external resistance. The main goal of strength training is to move more weight efficiently under tension.
Strength training is a neuromuscular adaptation. It involves training your nervous system to better communicate with your muscles to produce movement and generate force.
Key variables to consider for strength training
Intensity is defined as the percentage of your 1-Rep Max that you are working with for a specific exercise.
As a beginner, you would need to lift loads greater than or equal to 60% of your 1RM load to increase strength. If you’re an experienced lifter, aim for lifting loads of around 85% or higher of your 1RM load for better strength gains.
Figure out your 1-Rep Max right here.
Since maximum strength gains occur at a higher intensity, your reps would be lower.
As per various studies, around 1-5 reps is the ideal range for better strength gains, as this is the point at which neural adaptations occur.
With strength training, moderate volume is the goal.
Recent research shows that performing 4-6 sets of each exercise is best for improving strength.
4. Rest period
Since strength training is performed at higher intensities, rest periods should also be longer so that your muscles can recover completely.
The current recommendation for rest periods between sets is around 2-5 minutes.
5. Choice of exercises
To focus on building strength, your workout routine should consist of exercises (particularly compound exercises) that incorporate the primary natural movements such as pushing and pulling (horizontal and vertical), squatting, lifting, and carrying.
These would include exercises such as
- Bench presses
- Pull-ups, and more.
How often should you do strength training?
Aim to do at least 2-3 strength training sessions per week for good strength gains.
How long will it take to see results?
Recent research suggests that it generally takes between 6–15 weeks before you start noticing any significant strength gains.
Studies also show that beginners may experience more strength gains within the first 2 weeks of training as compared to trained individuals.
Tips for beginners to build strength
- Warm-up properly. Lift lighter weights, do some jump rope, or perform exercises such as hip circles, arm circles, etc.
- Pay attention to form. If you find yourself compromising on your form while trying to lift heavy, then drop to a lower weight/resistance.
- Be consistent. Don’t expect results if you’re not hitting the gym (or working out at home) regularly.
- Get your basics right. Focus on the basic strength-building movements including squats, deadlifts, etc. that’ll help you smash a more complex training program as you advance.
- Have a progression plan in place. For muscle strength and growth to occur, progressive overload is key. In general, increases in intensity, sets, reps, and time should be within 10% or less each week to allow for your muscles to gradually adapt.
- Eat right. Ensure that your diet consists of protein-rich foods and healthy carbs that’ll support your strength training goals. Aim to get at least 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.