Your Guide To Strength Training Workouts For Men
Strength training workouts for men have to be accompanied with heavy weight and just the right amount of protein. Since you’re aiming for strength, you’ll have to lift differently than a person trying to tone their muscles or lose weight. What’s the difference between strength building workouts and a workout meant for general fitness? Let’s find out.
Do 5 Sets – NOT 3
If you currently have a strength training workout routine, you should be doing 5 sets. Normally, people are used to the “3 sets of 10 repetitions” that trainers and magazines push on people. Unfortunately, when you’re lifting for strength, you won’t be able to maintain this criteria. If you can lift a weight 10 times in a row, it’s not heavy enough.
Instead, you’ll want to perform a workout that looks something like this:
- Set 1: 10 – 12 reps.
- Set 2: 8 – 5 reps.
- Sets 3 to 5: 5 reps
For the first set, you’ll start with a lighter weight and really get your muscles prepared for the immense strain that’s to follow. You can choose your 50 – 60 percent max for set one. The second set will be heavier. Some exercises you’ll even be able to push out more reps, up to 8 without failure.
Now, you’ll make sure sets 3 – 5 have your heaviest possible weight that you can push for 5 repetitions. Don’t push so hard that you risk injury, but make sure that the weight chosen is a real struggle.
If you find it impossible – there is no way you can do another rep without bad form – drop the weight slightly. This should only occur on set 5. It’s important to remember that you need to give it your all, but you also need to maintain good form and ensure that injuries do not occur because you need to push out one last rep.
Change it Up
I’m guilty of doing the same exact strength training workouts over and over again without much thought. Ultimately, this is not a good thing. Your muscles will get accustomed to a certain workout and will adapt. This may seem great, but it’s not ideal. You need to change things up so that every workout kicks your butt.
A few great ways to ensure that your muscles continue to grow are:
- Always strive to add more weight. Keep a journal and try adding just 1 pound of weight every week or two to keep your muscle growth maximized.
- Change your workout routine. Doing your workouts in reverse order will suffice.
- Try different rep alterations. For instance, you can do pyramid sets instead where you do 12, 10, 8, 6 and 4 with the weight increasing each time. If you want to really push yourself, do the same set in reverse for your last exercise.
If you choose to work your chest for example, make a set of 3 or 4 complete workouts that will target your chest. Varying between these workouts will ensure that your body does not adapt, allowing you to maintain muscle growth.
Working until failure is a personal favorite of mine. During your last exercise for a particular muscle group, you’ll want to push yourself until failure. That is, you’ll do so many reps that you can’t physically do any more. If you want to take this to extremes, you can start with your max and keep lowering the weight and going to failure. So, you may do your 90%, 80%, 65% maximums and so on; all until failure.
Strength training workouts for men also need to include dietary changes. These are changes you must make to build muscle. If you don’t need to or don’t want to lose weight, you still need to ensure that your protein intake is more than sufficient.
Ideally, you’ll adhere to the following:
- 1 gram to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
If you want to read a complete article on the subject that comes with a nifty calculator, BodyBuilding.com has one that’s great. Read it here.
A person weighing just 100 pounds would need to consume 100 – 150 grams of protein per day. Thinking that you’ll need to eat all of the chicken in your city to reach these limits? Supplementation can help a lot. Protein bars or drinks work very well and will produce amazing results.
Even strength training workouts for women should include higher protein levels.
A quick breakdown on protein supplements is as follows:
- Whey: This protein absorbs quickly into the body and should be taken after a workout.
- Casein: Ideal for taking before bed or in the morning. Casein takes 8 hours to fully absorb, essentially feeding your body protein throughout the day or night.
You’ll also find egg proteins, which are lower in fat and calories. This is ideal for trying to stay lean, but it doesn’t absorb as quickly as whey.
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