New science shows these are the two most important components of an effective strength training program

IIf it seems like the weight room at your gym is getting busier and busier, you probably aren’t imagining it. In particular, more women are taking up weight training and the fitness industry is adapting to accommodate their preferences, with many studios focusing on strength classes and Nike launching its first line of strength equipment mine.

And that’s a good thing. The benefits of resistance training are countless and thoroughly proven: It longevityfirst, increase bone mass2, Reduce stress3, improve cardiovascular health4etc. (we could go on for a while!).

But when it comes to the best strength training plan, things can get confusing. Should you lift heavier weights or aim for more reps and sets? How often do you really need to lift weights to see results? Different influencers will give you all kinds of conflicting advice about what you should or shouldn’t do, while different ads claim to be the next best thing. For a long time, even science seemed to give vague answers.

Dustin Willis, a professor at West Coast University, says research on the topic is still unclear, with many articles sending mixed signals about whether reps or weight are more important for development. develop strength relative to muscle mass.

However, a new landmark is possible research article5 reviewed over 1000 of the largest studies to date on the topic, helping us better understand the issue.

To start, the article confirms what is already well known about resistance training: Compared to no exercise, almost any combination of sets and reps, regardless of whether you train hard or not, How often, will result in increased muscle strength and muscle size. . That’s most likely not news to you!

Going deeper, the researchers found that to increase muscle strength, exercise programs that included multiple sets or heavier weights were most effective. And the shows include multiple series And Heavier weights are most appreciated.

But when the goal is to build bigger muscles (what scientists call hypertrophy), it doesn’t matter how much weight you lift. Instead, researchers found that doing multiple sets and training days per week had the greatest impact on muscle size.

Furthermore, researchers have also explored the concept of training to failure, or doing as many reps as possible until you can’t do it anymore, as a means of building muscle size. Interestingly, they found it often made no significant difference. (There is a caveat, however, that this method may be useful for more advanced lifters.)

Another notable finding concerns the minimum effective dose or the least amount you must lift to see results. To gain strength, they found you need to do resistance training for at least two sets or two sessions per week, while for hypertrophy, the minimum effective dose is resistance training for at least two sets And two sessions per week.

To put it all together:

If your goal is to get stronger, focus on lifting heavier weights (do this methodically and incrementally, of course) over multiple sets. The minimum amount to get stronger is at least two sets or at least two training sessions per week, using the same muscle group.

If your goal is to get bigger, don’t worry about how heavy you lift the weights, but focus on lifting weights more frequently (also in a methodical and progressive manner) for at least two sets and two sessions per session. week, focusing on the same muscle groups. If you’re new to weightlifting, training to failure isn’t necessary, but if you’re more advanced, training to start building more muscle may be helpful.

Other than that, no need to think too much about it! Focus on moves you like and you’ll see #gain follow.

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