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When you begin a strength & conditioning program you have a couple of choices.

You can join a big, commercial gym, search the internet for advice and figure out what to do.


You can join a private facility like Breakthrough Fitness that coaches and teaches you what to do.

Either way, once you are at the gym, there are six variables to “play” with to improve strength and vitality - repetitions, sets, load, tempo, rest, exercises.

Repetitions - Moving a load (weight) from point A to point B. How many repetitions (reps) you do controls everything. Repetitions lead to mastery.

Sets - A group of repetitions for a specific exercise.

Load - The weight being lifted or moved.

Tempo - The speed at which you do an exercise. Tempo dictates how long a muscle is under tension. A muscle doesn’t care if you are lifting a rock or a dumbbell. All it knows is that it is under tension. Tension requires more muscle fibers to be recruited and exhausted – both good things.

Rest - Time between exercise(s) performed.

Exercise Selection - Pushing, pulling, squatting, bending, carry, midsection. For the most part all exercises can fall into one of these categories.

Now all you need to do is pick an exercise from each category and “play” around with reps, sets, rest, load and tempo. There are endless options and workouts that can be created.

Yes! The gym is your playground!

Here are a few rules you should follow:

  • What you emphasize first in the workout will get the best training effect.
  • The amount of reps will determine the load, sets and rest. You can train hard and you can train long, but you cannot train hard and long. Higher reps = less sets. Low reps = higher load = higher sets.
  • Don’t dawdle. Keep rest to 60 seconds or less between sets. Move quick, but don’t hurry.
  • Focus on good form. At first you may feel a bit wobbly like a baby deer when doing free weight exercises. Start with light weight and learn the move. Don’t rush the process.
  • Pairing exercises that work opposite movements is great use of time. An example would be to do a set of push ups (pushing), rest 30 seconds then do a set of rows (pulling)
  • Doing a circuit of three exercises is another way to get more work done. If you paired up a squat, push up, and TRX row, you are working three different movement patterns. While one is working the others are resting.
  • Don’t change things too fast. Stick with a rep and set range for 4-8 weeks, focusing on form and increasing load.
  • When you make changes, don’t change too many things at once. Think “same, but different”.

I can go on for days, but this is a good list to start with. If you don’t want to think and prefer a learning by doing approach, reply ‘strength’ and we can start a conversation about strength training.

Keep moving,

Coach Dom

At Breakthrough Fitness, we help busy people across Oviedo become STRONGER. HEALTHIER.

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