Types of Strength Training Explained

Date: August 31, 2012 by Tõnis Saag
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Strength training is an inevitable part of almost every sport discipline and most of us have visited a gym. However, there is still a lot of confusion about it and not everyone understands the real rainbow of the types of strength training. As we have all of these listed in Sportlyzer’s choice of activities, we thought it might be useful to provide a short description of the best-known types of strength training.

Core training

Goal: Core training develops all the muscles you need to build a proper shoulder, spine and pelvis stability. It supports your posture and the ability to attain your technique whatever sports you are involved in. Well stabilized, solid body improves your economy and improves the application of your speed and power abilities. Just as important is the fact that strong core helps prevent various spine, hip, hamstring, knee and Achilles injuries.
Weight: bodyweight, resistance bands, swiss balls, medicine balls, etc.
Number of repetitions in a set: dynamic exercises 15-30, static exercises 30 sec – 3 min
Exercise tempo: static or slow
Rest between exercises: 30 sec

Muscle endurance training

Goal: It develops the ability to endure continuous low intensity repetitive movements over an extended period without failure, or at least fatigue.
Weight: up to 20% of 1 repetition max (choose the weights so that you can finish the number of repetitions in the last set)
Number of repetitions in a set: 20-40 (sometimes even 60)
Exercise tempo: slow
Rest between sets: max 30 sec

Strength endurance training

Goal: It is used to develop the ability to resist heavy fatigue and maintain speed and force production over an extended period.
Weight: 20-50% of 1 repetition max (choose the weights so that you can hardly finish the number of repetitions)
Number of repetitions in a set: 15
Exercise tempo: fast
Rest between exercises: 20-45 sec

General strength training

Goal: Effective for muscle building (hypertrophy). The effect of max strength development comes through the increase in muscle mass.
Weight: 50-80% of 1 repetition max (choose the weights so that you can hardly finish the number of repetitions – if you can do more than 12, increase the resistance)
Number of repetitions in a set: 8-12
Exercise tempo: slow
Rest between exercises: 1.5-2 min

Maximal strength training

Goal: Increases maximal strength without significant increase in muscle mass.
Weight: 90-100% of 1 repetition max (you need a training partner who knows how to help you in case you can’t get out)
Number of repetitions in a set: 1-3
Exercise tempo: slow
Rest between sets: 2-4 min

Explosive strength training

Goal: Develop the ability to produce high force within short time, for example jumps, throws, etc.
Weight: 40-60% of 1 repetition max
Number of repetitions in a set: 1-5
Exercise tempo: maximal
Rest between sets: 2-4 min

Speed strength training

Goal: Develop the ability of fast movements within a short time (up to 7 sec) or fast changes of direction in sports games.
Weight: 30-40% of 1 repetition max
Number of repetitions in a set: 3-10, or in case of agility exercises up to 7 sec
Exercise tempo: maximal
Rest between sets: 2-3 min

Sport specific strength training

Goal: Developing strength abilities for sport specific performance, usually by using sport specific exercises with additional resistance. There is no single way to do it. It’s all about what aspect of your sport and what kind of strength you need to develop and the rest is your imagination.

NB! The individual athlete, sport specifics, seasonal plan and training goals should be considered when planning the timing and combination of different types of strength training.

Credits to our team’s sports scientist Jarek Mäestu for helping me with this post!


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