Know the basics of strength training....Everything you should know before hitting the gym

Many beginners often struggle with communicating with the trainer because they have no understanding of the basic terms of strength training. 

I myself was one of them who always struggle to keep up with what my trainer is telling me to do. 

First of all, let's look at what is strength training and what are some of its components. Strength training is defined as specially designed exercises that put tension on the muscle forcing it to contract. It can be by anyway, bodyweight ( eg. pushups ) or by using external weights ( eg. Bicep curl ). 

Each bodyweight training and weight training comes under resistance training. They both have their merits and demerits, one should include both of them for a good workout.

Before going any further, there are some basic terms that you should know-

1. Reps- No. of times you complete the movement of one muscle exercise For example if you lift the weight 6 times overhead in the shoulder press. You did 6 reps

2. Sets- One set makes the total number of reps you performed for a particular exercise

3. Training frequency- Training frequency is the number of times you trained a particular muscle group per week. It is recommended to at least hit each muscle group 2 times per week.

4. Training volume- Training volume is simply 
                                 No. of reps x No. of sets x weight lifted

5. Rest interval- It is defined as the rest taken between two consecutive sets or reps

6. 1-Rep max- It is the maximum weight you can lift while performing an exercise for just 1 rep. 


There are two types of muscle groups when it comes to strength training, minor and major muscle groups.

Minor muscle groups- Biceps, Triceps, Calves, Abs, Neck
Major muscle groups- Back, Chest, Shoulder, Upper leg( hamstrings and glutes), and back

The main difference when training them is the difference in training volume. Minor muscle groups require less training volume whereas major ones require more training volume to grow. 

Muscle movement

Every muscle in our body has three types of movement-

1. Concentric- When the muscle tension is generated as the muscle shortens. 

2. Eccentric-  when the muscle tension is generated as the muscle lengthens. 

3. Isometric- When the muscle is held at a fixed length. Muscle tension is generated. 

For example in a bicep curl, when the weight is lowered the movement is eccentric, when it is lifted toward the shoulder the muscle contracts so hence it is concentric movement. If the weight is held at a fixed position during the motion, the movement is isometric. 

A correct balance of all three kinds of movement is essential for the fast growth of muscle. 


It is defined as the speed at which you perform a rep. It is generally written as A-B-C, where A, B, and C are In seconds and A is eccentric movement, B is for isometric and C is concentric.

For example, a good tempo for squats is 4-0-1, which means taking 4 sec to squat to the lowest position, holding for 0 seconds, and taking 1 second to return to the original position.

Muscle hypertrophy

Muscle hypertrophy is a term used for the growth and increase of muscle cells. Hypertrophy is an increase in muscle size, usually through strength training. 

The ideal rep range for muscle hypertrophy is between 5-10 while lifting heavyweight. 


There are many exercises of each muscle group that targets different muscles in a muscle group. They are divided into 2 categories based on the no. of muscles they involve-

1. Compound exercises- These exercises work multiple muscles at the same time. It is an excellent option for those who are looking to build muscle and are short on time. Some examples are squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc.

2. Isolation exercises- These exercises targets one specific muscle group at a time. 


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