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Best way to gain strength?

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  • Best way to gain strength?

    Hello all. I'm going to join a gym and was wondering if anybody could give me some advice. I want to gain strength whilst losing some excess fat, and was wondering how I should go about this. How many reps and sets should I do for an exercise? How many days a week should I work out? Should I split my workouts into body groups, or do full body workouts? I'm a total newb when it comes to weight-lifting, so any and all advice would be appreciated. With all the information floating around, I'm not really sure what to follow! I'm a 14 year old girl, if that matters at all.


    EDIT: I already have a good base for weight lifting, and am not worried about hurting myself. I also have no care for 'toning'. I want to be strong. I wanted more specific information on how to gain strength with weight lifting. What I REALLY wanted to know was how many sets/reps of an exercise I should be doing ( I was thinking maybe the 5X5?), and how long I should be resting between each set. And should I split up body parts, or no?
    Last edited by Beefsister; 11-24-2010, 10:07 AM.
    Remember, you are unique just like everybody else.

  • #2
    i would first look at the PB Fitness e-book that is free, and then some of the videos. the program is basic, it starts with body weight stuff, and helps you increase strength over time. when you can do those movements easily with body weight, Al has some cool videos and exercises that make it harder, and then from there, you can add weights if you want.

    that's just me, though.


    • #3
      If you're going to be joining a gym, I'd recommend doing one of the lifting classes with a teacher. The classes have various titles, but often have the word "power" in the title. This will be good for you because the teacher (usually one of the trainers from the gym) will watch your form and make adjustments. When you start lifting, you always want to make sure your form is correct because if it's not you can either hurt yourself or your work won't be very effective and you've just wasted your time. I always like the classes because there's no way to wuss out and just stop in the middle of the set (which is what I do when left to my own devices!). Also, once you are a regular there, folks will be looking for you and will give you a hard time if you stop coming. The teacher usually cranks up the music pretty loud, too. Such classes will be excellent total-body strengthening as well as a good cardio workout for you. Go two or three times a week. Resting your body is very important when you are gaining strength. Make sure you do not wait longer than one hour afterwards to eat. You will find that you can eat a lot and still make pretty quick changes in your body composition. Wheee!
      "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


      • #4
        Here are some class descriptions (taken from my gym) that I'm talking about:

        - Firm it Up: A full body workout using weights, bands, and balls, to increase strength & tone muscles.
        - FUN-X: Get a killer workout using little to no fitness equipment, go at your own pace and learn how to get
        creative. ALL levels welcome.
        - Latin Rhythms: Class includes cardio using Latin inspired dance moves, toning using weights, and glute and
        abdominal work using your body weight. Work hard while listening to fun Latin music!!!
        - Power Circuit: A mix of cardio and plyometric drills and muscle work to get your heart pumping and muscles
        - Pump It!: A full body workout using weights to increase strength and tone muscles.
        - Step & Sculpt: Step with weights, bands and balls to increase endurance and muscular tone.

        These would all be fun and good for you and will work you hard.
        "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


        • #5

          A steak a day keeps the doctor away


          • #6
            that's simple

            To get stronger you basically need to beat your last workout by lifting more weight, more reps and/or more sets but to make it even simplier...

            you need to make each workout progressively more intense than the last one to get stronger.

            Dont focus too much on # of reps, sets etc. - focus more on making each workout more intense than the last one
            I actually help people look good naked. Seriously, I do this for a living and have fun doing it! Don't believe me? See the people I've helped for free


            • #7
              in my own experience, I have noticed a lot of strength after strengthening my core. I dont know why people go straight to weights to try and get strong. basically what im saying is, strengthen the roots first before you go stacking weights


              • #8
                We seriously need a sticky on a lot of common questions, this being one of the top ones. Lift really heavy, that will make you really strong. If you lift really heavy, chances are you won't be able to have too many repetitions, so keep the reps low, this will also make you strong. As you get stronger, you have two choices: more reps or add weight and keep the reps low. Both have their benefits, so do both. The key thing here is to DO.

                Edit: make surey you DO safely, I realize telling you to just lift heavy is kind of irresponsible, play around and see what you can safely throw around whilst still providing a challenge.
                I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                • #9
                  I'm the jerk of the group. But I'm very sincere. Strength is relative to what specific skill you want to become strong in. Your own personal genetics will allow you to build a certain amount of muscle mass. You grow muscle mass within your genetic base by working to fatigue then resting and waiting or resting for your body to heal adapt and grow. Then you stress the body again. Eventually you will reach a point were your genetics will fight any additional growth.

                  Specific strength is based on training your body to become more efficient or stronger doing a specific exercise. If you want to do a a million push ups in 60 seconds... then start doing pushups. Your body will adapt and the most efficient way it can to to do push ups.

                  What you have to understand is there is no real defintion of strength. It comes down to where or how do you want to be strong. Make your choices and the focus on that.


                  • #10
                    you might like "hardgainer" try google.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eltigabii View Post
                      in my own experience, I have noticed a lot of strength after strengthening my core. I dont know why people go straight to weights to try and get strong. basically what im saying is, strengthen the roots first before you go stacking weights
                      When done properly, training with weights should strengthen your core too--you should be recruiting the abdominal muscles to lift.
                      “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                      Owly's Journal


                      • #12
                        Indeed, it really depends on what you call "being strong".

                        To me, there are many interesting (challenging) exercises that help you build much strength. My favorites are those that involve only your bodyweight and much coordination (= the key to having fun).
                        Check this link with two YouTube videos included :
                        Other than that, as the others said, work your core out and then go and lift heavy.
                        ======== ==== == =
                        Be hardcore, drink water


                        • #13
                          Being that your 14 years old I would HIGHLY recommend you consult with a trainer at your gym for advice. Since your body is still growing and developing you should be very careful, especially if you’re considering taking any kind of supplements. If you take advice from articles online be sure to try and find things that are relevant to your age group. I think it's great this is something your into and I'm not trying to discourage you, just please be careful... and have fun!!


                          • #14
                            Lift light until you develop good form. You will need a coach to truly develop good form because you cannot see all of you while you are lifting even if you are using a mirror and there are a LOT of ways you can hurt yourself or just defeat your own workout if your form is off.

                            Then lift heavy.


                            • #15

                              I'll take it that you mean strength as in being able to lift a very heavy stone from ground to above your head, not as in being able to do a lot of push-ups or pull-ups. If so, I believe what I've written below applies.

                              Buy the Starting Strength book. READ IT!!!. Start with the squat. Work with low weight. Read about the squat again. Lift again with corrected form. Read again....
                              In order of importance. To gain real functional strength
                              1. Technique (Not just knowing, but being able to perform. This might include a lot of flexibility training)
                              2. Lift heavy. This would mean < 6 reps and you would be expected to fail lifts.
                              3. Good programing

                              If you really want to get strong educating yourself is key. Don't leave it in the hands of someone else. Since you are young you will benefit from this education for the rest of you life.
                              I don't trust the generic trainer. Make sure you read up and test stuff out before you go to a trainer.

                              Once you have the technique and flexibility down you'll be surprised how fast you will gain strength on a program like Starting Strength.

                              Don't rush it!