So, backing up a little. As you know I’ve been giving out a hell of a lot of resistance training programs at my gym and doing personal training and so on. When you’re training people who haven’t really been hitting the weights in the past, well obviously you need to give good explanations so that they understand what they’re supposed to be doing, and why.
So… for the first few sessions I’m satisfied to just pick a weight or level of resistance that’s a decent effort to push out for up to 12 reps. When someone’s new to resistance training… #1 I want them to still be able to move the next day! #2, you’re more concerned with just learning the movement pattern of the exercise and how to try to target the desired muscle group… so, you don’t go heavy right away. Generally I want it to become difficult on the last 2 or 3 reps and I’m satisfied.
That’s for brand new people though! Once you’ve been training for a while, are confident with the exercises and have developed a bit of a feel for “switching on” the target muscle groups, you should really start stepping up the work load. The way I explain it is; we take about a minute and a half rest between sets – you should actually NEED that minute and a half of rest.
It takes a while to get to that level, but before too long you should be choosing an amount of resistance where even the FIRST rep is quite difficult, but you still smash it out and complete the entire set of 6, 8, 10, 12 or however many reps.
Now… with interval training, usually this is cardio based. Maybe a sprint up a hill, and then a walk back down the other side. Or, anything where you have a short period of super high intensity, followed by a longer period of moderate activity / active recovery. So, with resistance training… we’re lifting weights, working as hard as we possibly can for about 40 seconds or so. Then we get to recover for maybe 90 – 120 seconds before we start over again. When you’re really training as hard as you can, pushing or pulling as much weight as you can move with decent technique for the desired amount of reps… you should be just as exhausted as if I’d made you sprint as hard as you can across the park for 40 seconds!
This is why I believe resistance training is SO effective. Even if you don’t actually care about getting stronger, and your goal is more about weight loss (fat loss, I should say)… resistance training produces the desired results because as well as obviously promoting increases in strength and muscle mass, if you’re training like I described above, it is also getting that heart rate up just like a hard cardio program would do.
Hit the gym and SMASH THOSE WEIGHTS for great results in strength, conditioning and body composition!