5 Types of Strength Training: Which Is Right for You?

Enrico Fioranelli
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There are many types of strength training out there, but how do you determine exactly which type is right for you based on your goals? Is there a universal way to strength train? Is one method better than another?

To answer these questions, you must first define your goals. Be specific! Don’t simply say, “I want to lose weight,” or “It would be nice if I was stronger.” Make a declaration with a quantifiable goal, such as “I want to lose 10 pounds by my anniversary next month,” or “I want to be able to do a hand stand by December,” or “Next summer, I will only jiggle where I’m supposed to!” This is going to be your battle cry. When you are feeling tired, or when you don’t want to work out, you have this in your back pocket to help you do the work that needs to be done to achieve the strength and body that you imagine when you close your eyes at night.
 
Here are 5 types of strength training along with who each method is best suited for:
 

1. Total Body Circuit Training

What it is: This is the traditional boot camp-style workout program, such as the P90x and Insanity programs. With this method, you will use lighter weights in a variety of motions to work out your entire body.

Who it’s good for: This method of training is amazing for people who are new to weight training. The format ensures that you do not feel too sore in any particular muscle group. This is one of the best ways to achieve moderate weight loss over an extended period of time. Refer back to your goals and if you want to lose 15 pounds for your wedding next summer or some other milestone, this program will help you achieve those goals.
 

2. Push-Pull Training

What it is: This type of training is descriptive of the way in which your body moves. You can break down the body into three basic movement plains: all the muscles that push, all the muscles that pull, and everything in your lower body. By dividing the body like this, any muscle is either working through every movement or fully resting that day. Your muscles are in a state of work during your workout or rest when not in use. You will divide your workout into three different days, each day associated with a different muscle group. Your push days will involve your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Your pull days will work out your back, biceps, and traps. Your leg day – don’t forget leg day – will work your entire lower body.

Who it’s good for: This is the optimal method for developing strength throughout your entire body. This type of training is great for moderate to advanced lifters or experienced yogis with good muscle definition. You will see the most strength gains from this, because you are able to work your muscles to complete exhaustion while still being able to train up to six times a week.
 

 

3. Power Lifting Training

What it is: This type of strength training keeps getting more and more popular. In many gyms, you see power racks and even some centered on powerlifting (i.e. Cross Fit). This is the type of strength training where you do larger movements to incorporate more muscle. Examples of these exercises are squats, deadlifts, snatches, and power cleans. These exercises incorporate your entire body and are excellent for a full-body workout that will take your body strength to the next level.

Who it’s good for: This is an advanced method of strength training if you are looking to become more lean. When you are incorporating this amount of muscle into your workouts, you are going to see great benefits. But in the same notion, you need to be careful because these exercises are high risk. This type of strength training will give you the best hormonal results and will also allow you to build more muscle and cut more fat than the other methods.
 

4. Explosive Dynamic Training

What it is: This is the type of training that you will typically see athletes doing. Along with an excellent strength training component, these exercises also integrate a large cardiovascular component to get your blood pumping. Examples of these exercises include box jumps, rope pulls, and lighter weight powerlifting movements, such as squats, snatches, and cleans. While this may appear to be similar to powerlifting at first, the difference is that you will be moving faster throughout your workout, allowing you to get your cardio and strength workouts done simultaneously. Additionally, by using lighter weights, you will do more reps. Physically, you will see improvements in your muscular endurance while shaping and strengthening your muscles.

Who it’s good for: If you are looking to drop a lot of weight quickly, this is the program for you. While you are training at a higher rate, your heart rate will be high as well, which will help you shed those unwanted pounds. When you are exercising like this, you will also notice a higher demand for muscle; thus you will build lean mass and burn more calories at rest. Due to the lower weight that you use in this type of exercise, the risk factor drops, making explosive dynamic training ideal for yogis wanting to follow a moderate strength program.
 

5. Muscular Isolation Training

What it is: This is the age-old weight training program in which you work only one or two muscle groups in a day. Unlike most of the other programs, the objective of muscular isolation is to cause muscular contraction in only one muscle for each exercise. In this type of program, you will do exercises such as leg extensions, concentration curls, and triceps kickbacks.

Who it’s good for: Unique to this type of exercise program is that it can be for advanced lifters or beginners. This type of exercise is good for you if you are looking to develop particular muscle groups further, such as targeting your booty or arms to achieve a particular desired look.
 
Regardless of your goals, there is a strength training method that is perfect for your needs. When you match how you are training with your goals, you can optimize your results and achieve your goals on the mat, whether it is a 10-second headstand or a perfect chaturanga.

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Enrico Fioranelli

Enrico is a personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist, who has helped students, housewives, and Division 1 athletes achieve the results that they desire. Enrico is an all around athletic guy who is indiscriminate in his workout style of choice, from yoga and Tai Chi to mixed martial arts, strength training and running. He commits himself to lifestyle that includes healthy eating, no alcohol, and a 3-mile walk each morning his puppy in tow.

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