Strength Training

Strength Training:

Physical strength refers to a person’s ability to generate force, or resistance, that one can apply to a given task. In practice, physical strength is determined by two factors: the cross-sectional area of a muscle as well as muscle fiber volume and their contractile intensity. On the other hand, a person may be strong even if their cross-sectional muscle area is not large because force generation hinges on the ability of the nervous system to command, recruit and organize the muscle fibers more effectively.

The strength of connective tissues such as tendons and fibrous tissues also affects the ability of the muscles to generate force. A good example of this is the biomechanics of the Achilles tendon.

The muscle cell type distribution of an individual significantly affects his or her ability to generate force The force generation ability is also

affected by the individual's sex, age, hormonal balance, nervous system function, general health, and nutritional status.

The strength training of muscles (and the nervous system) means training with the objective of increasing force generation and usually also muscle mass. Muscular

strength training is commonly referred to as gym training, weight training or resistance training.

The maximal force generation ability is commonly measured in terms of a one-repetition maximum (1RM) (for example a squat).


To develop muscular strength it is usually necessary to exercise the major muscle groups at least twice per week for at least 20 minutes at a time. Studies have typically included

training programs of 5–15 different exercises.

There are 1–4 sets per exercise, each set consisting of 8–15 repetitions.

   Perform the exercises using correct technique and form
   Favor multi-joint exercises (such as deadlift, front squat, back squat, pull-up, bench press, dip, shoulder press, etc.)over single-joint exercises (such as bicep curl, leg extension) as the latter do not bring any significant additional benefits (strength and muscular mass)
   Progressively increase weight between exercises; start for example with 60–70 % of the maximal performance capacity
   Progressively increase exercise volume, i.e. the number of sets or repetitions
   Vary the tempo and time under tension (TUT)
   Get sufficient rest and vary the length of recovery periods
   Reduce the training load every 3–4 weeks
   Change up your training program every 1–3 months

The best way to develop maximal strength is by completing sets of 1–5 repetitions reaching 85–100 % of the one repetition maximum (1RM). Maximal strength is considered to be the basis of all other strength properties. The most

effective set/repetition pattern is 3–5 x 3 (three to five sets of three repetitions each). Rest for 3–5 minutes between sets.


The best way to develop speed and explosiveness is to lift sub-maximal (40–80 % 1RM) loads in several sets. The most effective set/repetition pattern is 7–9 x 3. Rest for 1–3 minutes between sets. The development of speed strength also requires maximal strength training.


The best way to promote muscle growth is to introduce mechanical and metabolic stress. For muscle growth, perform sets of 8–12 repetitions with medium weights (65–85 % 1RM). The most effective set/repetition pattern is 3–5 x 8–10. Rest for 60–90 seconds between sets. Sets are often repeated to exhaustion.


To develop strength endurance, perform sets of 12 or more repetitions with significantly sub-maximal loads (20–70 % 1RM). In addition to developing strength endurance, this type of training can boost recovery after other strength training. The most effective set/repetition pattern is 3 x 15–20. Rest for 30–60 seconds between sets.


Time under tension (TUT) refers to the time that the muscle or muscle group is under strain during one set. Each exercise can be divided into three phases: eccentric (lengthening), concentric (shortening) and pause. For example, when performing a squat, 2 seconds down, 1 second in the lower position and 2 seconds up is equivalent of 5 seconds of TUT. If one set includes ten repetitions of five seconds each, the TUT value is 50 seconds.

Varying the TUT duration can impact different energy systems (ATP, creatine phosphate and anaerobic glycolysis). The number of repetitions alone is not all there is to training as a repetition can be performed fast or more slowly. A set of slower repetitions of longer TUT duration performed to exhaustion is more effective for stimulating muscle growth than a faster set (for example, 8 repetitions of either 2 or 8 seconds of TUT; the end result is 16 seconds of TUT vs. 48 seconds).

Maximal strength and speed strength: 5–10 seconds of TUT

Basic muscular strength: 10–30 seconds of TUT

Hypertrophy (muscle growth): 30–60 seconds of TUT

Strength endurance: More than 60 seconds of TUT