Strength for Everyone


Strength Training For Everyone

Strength, Weight Lifting, Beginners, Intermediate

Here we will look at strength training for everyone’s needs. Why everyone should be getting stronger, how to start developing strength alongside your main goals.

Why everyone should train for strength

There are many huge benefits for everyone in the population training to get stronger. To be clear, strength training is meant as the increase in the amount of force produced in a given movement. NOT necessarily training to become the Incredible Hulk with masses of bulging muscles.

Benefits of strength training include:

•Increase sports performance- efficient running, increased speed of movements, attain higher levels of competition*.

•Making Life Easier- being stronger means simple things like carrying shopping becomes easier, lifting your weight walking up steps is less effort, to example a couple.

•Increase Bone Density and Tendon and Ligament strength- making them stronger and less likely to fracture/injury, also delaying onset of osteoporosis.

•Enhancing Mental Health- improves cognitive abilities, self-esteem, mood, and assists in reducing symptoms of depression.

•Recharging Resting Metabolism- increases resting metabolic rate meaning you use more energy at rest. This links into the next point.

•Reduces Body Fat- The energy expended in training, then recovering, along with the increase in resting metabolic rate increase the energy the body uses.

•Resisting Type 2 diabetes, improving cardiovascular health and assist in reducing blood pressure

•Reversing the cell aging process.

(Westcott, 2012)

Who wouldn’t want to have an easier life physically and mentally, feeling good and knowing you are fighting against illnesses? Why not feel better about your body and even reverse the aging process (sorry I mean in the cells not wrinkles)? And lastly sports participants, attain a higher level of achievement or simply perform better at the standard you are now.

New to lifting weight- How to get strong

Getting strong is like running a marathon. If you’ve never

run a marathon before you may be able to go straight out

and run the 26miles (42km), but it wouldn’t be pretty and

the effects on the body for the week after would put anyone

off for life. The same with strength. You could go into the

gym and lift some significant weight, but again it wouldn’t

be pretty and the effects on the body for the week after

would put anyone off for life. So, like building up mileage to

run a marathon, so everyone needs to build up repetitions

and weight to get strong.

There are many different methods for increasing strength on the internet, however they all follow the same principle: Gradual Loading. In the same way, this article will briefly guide you through gradual loading.

Beginners to strength training can make increase every session, if not every set. Most this strength comes from existing muscle becoming more efficient; activating more motor units to fire more fibres at the same time2. Muscle size increase comes later and can be manipulated to increase lots (hypertrophy/bodybuilding) or be minimized as endurance runners and weight category sports need.

The above table summaries how beginners can start getting stronger. You can start from doing 3 sets of 5 reps on Split Squats, Press Up from Knees, and Supine Chin Up for one session, and 3 sets of 5 reps on Deadlift, Shoulder Press, and Lat Pulldown for another. Then progress increasing the amount of repetitions up to 10 before adding on extra weight.

How to get strong if you already have weightlifting experience

If you’ve already been dabbling in lifting weights using high repetitions that is fantastic. Whilst high repetitions (15+) can improve strength, it is not as efficient as using lower repetitions and higher loads3.

Assuming technique is perfect, put repetitions to 10 for 4 sets and increase the weight over the course of 4-6 weeks. Once you are unable to maintain good form then you are at your maximum.

Over the next 4-6 weeks, perform 6 reps for 4-6 sets. Warm up before this with a weight that is easy for 10 reps and then another set of 8 with a heavier weight. Increase the weight each week a small increment of up to 5%. Remember technique and form is vital, so if it starts to breakdown reduce the weight slightly. Follow this scheme for major compound movements, then perform sets of 8-12 on ‘assistant’ exercises. Muscles will feel firmer and may appear larger from as more of the fibres are activated2. Have faith, they will not blow up if you maintain ‘normal’ eating. Eat an excess of calories then you will increase muscle size and therefore body weight.

After 4-6 weeks, reduce the weight and perform 4 sets of 10 repetitions for 3-4 weeks. Here the weight will have increased from the previous period on this scheme. Again, try and increase the weight slightly. Or if your body is feeling particularly tired then go slightly lighter for a ‘deload/rest’ week.

Next phase, reduce the reps to 4-5 over 4-6 sets. Make sure you warm up to the weight for two reasons: 1. Prepares the body for the movement and 2. Some fibres need activating at a lighter weight and you want as many fibres active at the heavy weight2. As previously increase the weight slightly each week5. Tendons and ligaments increase their strength at a slower rate than muscle fibres. To reduce the risk of injury, increase slowly and allow the tendons to adapt, resist the temptation to pile on the weight.

This is basic periodisation having periods of lighter work and heavier work1. This provides the body excellent recovery from each phase. Recovery means adaptation and realisation of the previous phase. Keeping on the same training scheme has diminishing returns and increases the risk of injury.

Strength gaining!

Well on your way to a stronger healthier you, running ring around life, reducing the likelihood of illness and performing better in sport and life. There are other points beyond this article, like wanting to either gain muscle or maintain size whilst increasing strength for example. Stay tuned as this amongst other considerations will be covered in other blogs. As mentioned earlier this is a very simple way of getting strong and there are a multitude of ‘methods/schemes’ on the internet. Once you have been through a basic strength phase then play and find ones that really work. But, keep varying your training every 4-6weeks for efficient results.

If you would like more information or coaching/programming please contact FAST at or call 07737120005


*There is a plethora of studies showing across a multitude of sports the higher level of competition the stronger the athletes are. A simple search on pubmed pulls up many:

1.Bompa, T. 1999. Periodization: Theory and methodology of training. 4th Ed. Champaign, IL; Human Kinetics.

2.Henneman, E. 1985. The size-principle: a deterministic output emerges from a set of probabilistic connections. Journal of Experimental Biology, 115, pp. 105-112

3.Lasevicius, T., Ugrinowitsch, C., Schoenfeld, B.J., Roschel, H., Tavares, L.D., De Souza, E.O., Laurentino, G., and Tricoli, V. 2018. Effects of different intensites of resistance training with equated volume load on muscle strength and hypertrophy. European Journal of Sports Science, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1450898

4.McLester, J.R., Bishop, E., and Guilliams, M.E. 2000. Comparison of 1 day and 3 days per week of equal-load resistance training in experience subjects. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 14(3), pp. 272-281

5.N.S.C.A. 2008. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Beachle, T.R., and Earle, R.W. Eds. 3rd Edition.

Westcott, W.L. 2012. Resistance training is medicine: Effects of strength training on health. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 11(4), pp. 209-216.