Load training or weight training is performed to increase muscular endurance, strength, and muscle size. Load training can also improve your body composition, movement, function, and health.
A program to improve muscular endurance would include the following:
- Frequency – 2-3 times per week.
- Intensity – 60-70% of maximum resistance. Maximum resistance is the amount of weight you can lift once for the specific range of motion (exercise).
- Repetitions – 12-16 repetitions with a speed of 6 seconds for each repetition.
- Sets – 2-3 sets of each exercise with less than or equal to 60 seconds of rest between sets.
- Type – Variety of exercises including free-weights, machines, bands, and medicine balls.
A program to improve muscular strength would include the following:
- Frequency – For total-body workouts, two training sessions per week should be performed, allowing 72 hours between workouts. For split routines, 72 hours between same muscle workouts, will take 4-6 sessions.
- Intensity – 80-90% of maximum resistance.
- Repetitions – 4-6 repetitions with a speed of 6 seconds for each repetition.
- Sets – 1-3 sets with 1-2 minute rest between sets.
- Type – Free-weight and machines are the preferred training types for increasing muscle strength.A program to increase muscular size would include the following:
- Frequency – Typically, a six-day split routine is used with a 72 hour recovery period for each muscle group.
- Intensity – 70-80% of maximum resistance.
- Repetitions – 6-12 repetitions with a speed of 6 seconds for each repetition.
- Sets – 3-6 sets of each exercise with a rest period of 30-90 seconds between sets.
- Type – Free-weights and machines are typically used to increase muscle size.
For both muscle endurance and muscle strength training, the rate of progression should increase 5% whenever the end range of repetitions (e.g. 16 repetitions) can be completed in all the sets for a given exercise. Once the weight is increased, you will reduce the number to the lower range. For muscle size progression, body composition and body-part circumference should be periodically assessed, with adjustments made accordingly. Often a progress plateau is due to over training, not under training. If this is the case, decrease the volume and increase your recovery time between sessions.