With so many different workout and training programs out there, it can be very confusing to pick the right one. A strength training workout is often very specific; it has a purpose or goal. Compared to other disciplines like bodybuilding with the goal of building a bigger and shapelier physique, or powerlifting where you look to increase core lifts, strength training has a goal of making you stronger in a specific way.
So what is your reason for doing a strength training workout?
Determining what your precise goals are is the first step in determining which workout plan you should follow.
You can train for one specific reason or multiple reasons. Some people use a few different programs and mix them up to make sure they are hitting their primary goal.
- Strength – This is a very common type of workout. A lot of athletes and people interested in fitness perform strength training. The general focus is to build muscle size and strength. Often standard exercises are employed that does make you stronger but not in a specifically useful ways. Other times people will train for strength that will be used in a specific manner by picking exercises that mimic actions they will perform.
- Speed – This type of workout is primarily done by athletes. The goal is to work on the fast-twitch fibers of the muscles to increase the explosive muscle power and thus speed. It is common to mix this workout in with agility.
- Endurance – A lot of people employ endurance style training. People who enjoy sports like running and cycling train for endurance as do athletes and weekend warriors who need to have muscle strength over long periods.
- Agility – Not everyone is born with great balance and agility, but you can train hard to increase what you do have. Working with single limbs at a time, with a balance ball, or using specific equipment that forces the body to learn how to better balance itself increases your agility.
After you understand your goal it is a much easier process of finding the best strength training workout for yourself. Your next program filter will be time. How often each week can you workout? Some programs are more intense and require more hours of training while others require less. Try and give a realistic assessment of the time you will spend each week.
Now understanding your goals and availability, you can start looking at more specific programs. From what you will run across the next deciding factor will be difficulty and intensity. If you are a beginner then you should stick to beginner programs. Intermediates should not jump into advanced programs until they have exhausted the available intermediate choices.
There are plenty of great resources for finding a great strength training workout. Knowing your basic goals, fitness level, and time will allow you to narrow down choices from a lot to a few. From that point it is a simple matter of trial and error. Pick a program that looks appeal and try it for a few weeks. If it feels good and seems to provide results then continue with it. If it is not right for you then move to another program.
The simple fact is that everyone is different. Certain programs will resonate more and others less. But you truly won’t know until you get in and try them. That process is also a learning experience and will help you along the overall path of fitness as you learn more about what works and doesn’t work specifically for you.