So, lets talk about the next couple components of lifting. We already addressed choice of exercise…
#2 is Order of Exercise:
Normally, exercises for the large muscle groups are done before smaller muscle groups. For example, working out quads and hams before smaller arms muscles. Also, multijoint exercises are usually performed before single-joint. Such as doing squat jumps and push-ups before doing bicep curls and calf raises.
This is done so you can use the heavier weights on bigger muscles since you will have more energy at the beginning and not fatigue as fast.
As for doing cardio or weights first, use your judgement. If you are working more toward cardio fitness and endurance training, do your run or cardio first, then weights. If you are focusing on muscle building, lift first and then follow up with cardio. Just remember, no matter what your goal is, weights AND cardio are necessary for optimum performance!
#3 Resistance Used / #4 Training Volume:
It is said that to maximize gains in muscle strength and performance, it is recommended that training sets be performed to fatigue, where you couldn’t perform another lift because of temporary fatigue.
To get a general idea of how many reps you should do, this is what is recommended for certain goals:
muscular strength: 6 or fewer
muscular endurance: 20 or more
Most common is doing between 10 and 12 reps to enhance muscular strength and performance, so that is what I recommend to start with unless you have specific goals.
Keep in mind that these reps do need to be performed with good form. So when you are trying to find out what weight to use depending on reps, even if you can do 17 reps with 30 lbs, it won’t do anything if your form is wacky (:
Training Volume is influenced by the number of exercises per session, number of repetitions per set, and number of sets. The main thing to remember is that training volume doesn’t need to be the same each time you work out. Mix it up, and your muscles will be grateful. Try doing more weight with less repetitions and fewer sets one time, and the next doing lots of sets of light weights, ect. If you are short on time though, the benefits of only doing one set is still big, so don’t opt out because of time. But if you have the time, try to get 2 or 3 sets in.