Resistance training : Everything you need to know about lifting weights (Part 2)

In this article, we continue exploring the variables of exercise. Also lets have a look on how to progress an exercise.


Loading refers to the amount of weight one exercises with. In the initial stages, light load can increase dynamic muscle strength. This may refer to 50 % of 1 RM. However, load should be increased to 75% as one progresses to moderate and advanced exercise levels. This is essential for optimal gains.

RM refers to repetition maximum. Thus the greatest amount of weight lifted by an individual in one repetition is referred as 1RM.

Training volume

Volume refers to number of sets and repetitions performed in an exercise. Volume can be thus altered by changing 1 of the 3 factors that determine volume. These are number of exercises, number of repetitions and number of total sets.

Programs can be low volume or high volume. In a low volume program, heavy weights are used. However low reps and moderate sets are used. This is used for strength or power training.

Thus, In a high volume program, Moderate weights with moderate reps and high number of sets cause hypertrophy of muscle.

For both trained and untrained individuals, 2-6 sets performed are considered optimal for strength gains.

Rest intervals during resistance training-

Short rest intervals upto 1 minute may reduce power production but are ideal for hypertrophy and also for endurance. 2-3 minutes of rest intervals show greater increase in strength. Therefore, If multiple joint exercises are being performed, rest periods should range from 3-5 minutes if the goal is solely for power. Performance is dependent on anaerobic energy release. Thus maximal lifts require minimal fatigue or no fatigue. Therefore This emphasizes on importance of recovery period.

Not all exercises require the same rest interval. It Is highly dependent on ones goals.Thus For hypertrophy training, less intervals are appropriate about 1-2minutes. One must therefore consider fatigue with previous exercises performed and progress to other exercises in the workout.


Frequency is the number of times a particular muscle group is trained in a week. With high loads, a greater recovery time is needed. This may be up to 72 hours. However, Moderate load requires lower recovery time. Less trained or untrained individuals require a longer recovery period. 

How to progress a resistance exercise?

Basic principles of resistance progression-

The ultimate goal is to improve some fitness component of our body. Thus The human body has to be forced to adapt to the stimulus which is constantly changing. Training plateaus may occur and to avoid this, it is therefore important that we manipulate the variables of program systematically.

3 basic principles are

Progressive overload



Progressive overload in resistance training-

The load should be continuously increased for the human body to respond. This refers to overload. Ways in which overload can be introduced are-

  1. Increase the weight
  2. Increase number of sets, using same weight
  3. Shorten rest period
  4. Alter speed
  5. Combine any of the above

Specificity of exercises-

It refers to the stimulus applied. The adaptations of human body are specific to the stimulus applied. This can be either of the following-

 1) muscle actions

 2) speed of movement

3) range of motion

 4) muscle groups trained

5) energy systems involved

6) intensity and volume of training.

Variation of exercises-

Variability in an exercise program is necessary. This includes 2 models.

One model is the classic model. This refers to high initial training volume and low intensity. As training progresses, volume decreases and intensity increase.Thus, variation is necessary for long-term resistance training progression.

 Another model is the undulating model. The undulating program enables variation in intensity and volume. This is done within each 7- to 10-d cycle by rotating different protocols.  In a given day, During a single workout only one characteristic out of strength/ power/ endurance  is trained. Thus, Random rotation of  Heavy, moderate, and lighter resistances may be done over a training sequence.

resistance training- Vcurehealthcare

Resistance Exercise Progression recommendations

For untrained-

60 % of 1 RM weight.

8-12 reps

1-3 sets

1-2 min of rest intervals

Slow to moderate velocity

1-2 days/ week

For intermediate individuals

70-80% % of 1 RM weight.

6-12 reps

Multiple sets

1-2 min of rest intervals

moderate velocity

3-4 days/ week

For advanced individuals

80- 100 % % of 1 RM weight.

1-12 reps

Multiple sets

1-2 min of rest intervals

Slow to fast velocity

4-6 days/ week


Address your needs and goals before initiating a resistance program. Also, For untrained individuals, design a simple program. As you progress, add variation and specificity.

Also read-

Leave a Reply