Can anybody help re: strength training?

Hi everyone!

I'm trying to get some help from better-educated exercisers about the optimal way to incorporate weights/strength training. My questions are these (but any additional advice about things I haven't asked about would also be greatly appreciated!):

1. how frequently should I do strengthening workouts?
2. how often should I alternate between heavy weights vs. endurance/high rep workouts vs. non-weighted strength workouts (e.g. barre)?
3. how important is it to work on or rest the same muscle group (e.g. do I do rotate through various muscle groups in a given week or do I work on one repeatedly and then move onto another, like one week do Bi/Tris repeatedly and another week do Chest/Back repeatedly, and so on)?
4. how frequently do I do arms vs. legs (esp. since arms tend to be broken up and legs tend to be done in one go)?
5. is there an optimal ratio for cardio and resistance training?

Thanks Cathe Community!!
 
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maddiesmum

Cathlete
1. how frequently should I do strengthening workouts?

--this is up to you. If you do total body workouts, 2 per week is good, 3 could be better or too much depending upon you, your soreness, energy levels an time available. You decide. If you do split workouts where you work 2 or 3 muscle groups per workout, you will be lifting heavier weights, and then you might decide that once per week is enough, or maybe twice, if you have the time available.

2. how often should I alternate between heavy weights vs. endurance/high rep workouts vs. non-weighted strength workouts (e.g. barre)?

--this is up to you, personal taste, boredom levels, fitness goals. Cathe was recently quoted as saying she does one month of heavy, then does a week of circuits to change it up, then a month of endurance lifting with higher speeds, lighter weights, higher reps, then a week of change-it-up workouts. The repeat the cycle.

3. how important is it to work on or rest the same muscle group (e.g. do I do rotate through various muscle groups in a given week or do I work on one repeatedly and then move onto another, like one week do Bi/Tris repeatedly and another week do Chest/Back repeatedly, and so on)?

--leave 48 hours between work efforts for each muscle group. Aim to work each upper body muscle group at least once per week. Some people, especially us women, like to do legs/lower body/glutes twice per week. This is up to you, your likes, goals, etc.

4. how frequently do I do arms vs. legs (esp. since arms tend to be broken up and legs tend to be done in one go)?

--does the answer above speak to this question?

5. is there an optimal ratio for cardio and resistance training?

--it's all up to you and what you like to do and what you hope to achieve! Don't listen to anybody trying to tell you what you "must" do. It's way too personal a decision. Some of us are cardio queens: e do our weight training because we know we should, but the ratio of cardio to weights workouts each week is skewed for cardio. For others of us, we have to be forced into doing cardio and we could lift weights every day of our lives. So, there is no one recipe. Personally, I like to alternate, ideally. One day cardio, next day weights, then back to cardio. But this is in an ideal world. When stress levels get too high, I usually reach for cardio to relieve tension. So....... the key is to keep moving, remove all rules regarding what you think you should" be doing and have fun in your workouts. When you have fun and also see results, you will always come back to fitness.

Hope this helps,

Clare
 

AYLE09

Cathlete
For the most part, the answer to all of your questions is preference preference preference, with the exception of resting muscle groups. Each muscle group worked does need adequate rest, especially when doing heavy lifting sessions. Whether you hit a specific muscle group once or twice a week is up to you, but make sure that the muscles have time to recover. This being said, I wouldn't recommend doing one muscle group repeatedly. Split the muscle groups up and rotate through. You also have the option of total bpdy workouts, but again- rest in between.

As far as arms verses legs- this all depends on what muscle groups you decide to lift on the same day. For example- you may choose to do an all over leg lift one day or you may also choose to target a specific portion of the leg on an arm day, like shoulders and hamstrings. The possibilities are vast and can seem a bit overwhelming when you're trying to get into the swing of the whole thing.

You may want to try some of Cathe's rotations or even just follow one of her series (for example- XTrain, STS, etc). She has done such an amazing job of making a daunting task feel simple ;) Or you can mix and match her DVDs by choosing a mix from different series that would allow for each muscle group to be hit each week. She has such a huge library so mixing it up is always fun!

Unfortunately I don't think that there's any easy equation for "optimal" cardio verses strength training ratios. I try to mix this up as well just to keep my body from settling too deep into a routine. Hiit, boxing/kickbox, step, slide discs... so many choices! The amount/type of cardio you choose to do each week does depend somewhat on what your goals are. If you're lifting to build then too much cardio (especially long steady state) may be couterproductive and you may want to focus your attention on shorter more intense bursts like HiiT (X10 is my new favorite for a short sweat fest!)

This is really just the tip of the ice berg as far as fitness "stuff" is concerned. Hopefully you will receive many more responses and can take a little tidbit from each of us and find the right groove for you ;) As I said, the best fit for you is something that you'll have to determine ultimately, but advice and research and trial/error are all part of the process!

GOOD LUCK!
 

RapidBreath

Cathlete
no perfect answer to that question

Basically, I personally find that I need to work my upper body and my lower body at least 1x/week; I often pair up one weighted workout in a week with a body weight or kettle bell workout. Thats just my preference.

Like the other posters said, it really is about preference. What works best for your body? It takes keeping a journal and taking measurements and pictures of yourself. Comparing what you have been doing for the last month or so with how your body looks or how your strength gains are going is really the best way to find what the best rotation for you is. And, don't be surprised if it changes over time.

I used to be much more rigid in how I would follow a rotation, but now I just aim for some of everything.

I get cardio at least 3x/week; a whole body strength workout with weights 1x/week and a whole body strength workout with just body weight 1x/week (not in a row, with at least 48 hours between the strength). I never do the same cardio type two days in a row. I always get at least 2 yoga sessions per week, often just 20 min. long (stretch max is great!) it seems to be very important to my overall well being and helps with muscle soreness.
 

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