Resistance Training: How Much?

Last week I discussed the benefits of training with resistance exercises. This week I’ll summarize the specifics of just how much training is necessary to achieve said benefits, with a little help from the ACSM Quantity and Quality of Exercise training. I’ll be using the FITT model to explain. This acronym stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, & Type.


For optimal results, resistance training should be performed 2-3 times per week.


An intensity of 60-80% of 1RM (1-rep max) has shown that gains in strength and hypertrophy can be maximized.


Unlike cardio training, time is based on the number of sets and reps. Although even a single set has shown improvement in muscular strength, it is recommended that 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps be performed for maximum results.


Within type there are too many choices to pick from, so, I’ll give a basic recommendation for healthy adults: perform dynamic exercises (those that include and concentric and eccentric phase) for all major body parts. This should consist of 10-12 exercises which should start with large muscle groups and focus on those that work multiple joints (think of squats rather than leg curls). Note: concentric is the muscle contraction (shortening) and eccentric consists of lengthening of the muscle.

Now that we have a very basic understanding of how to program an exercise prescription, we can begin to piece together our own exercise program! Look forward to next week for a sample resistance exercise prescription that can be modified to fit into anyone’s fitness program!

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