How to start and maintain a weight training program
You should start your weight training program with both short-term and long-term goals. Goal identification is an important means of maintaining interest and enthusiasm for weight training. A key point is to set realistic short-term goals that can be achieved in the first few weeks of training. Reaching these goals provides the necessary motivation to keep training.
Development of an individualized exercise prescription
The exercise prescription for strength training has three stages: the initial phase, the slow-progress phase, and the maintenance phase.
The main goal of the initial phase is to build strength gradually without developing muscle soreness or undue injury. This can be achieved by starting your weight training program slowly, starting with light weights, a high number of reps, and only 2 sets per exercise. The recommended frequency of training during this phase is twice a week. The duration of this phase varies from 1 to 3 weeks, depending on your starting strength fitness level. A sedentary person may spend 3 weeks in the initial phase, while a relatively well-trained person may only spend 1-2 weeks.
slow progress phase
This phase can last from 4 to 20 weeks depending on your starting strength level and your long-term strength goal. The transition from the initial phase to the phase of slow progression involves three changes in the exercise prescription: increase the frequency of training from 2 to 3 days per week; an increase in the amount of weight lifted and a decrease in the number of repetitions; and an increase in the number of sets performed from 2 to 3 sets.
The goal of the creep phase is to gradually increase muscle strength until the desired level is reached. After reaching your strength goal, your long-term goal is to maintain this level of strength by entering the maintenance phase of your strength training exercise prescription.
After reaching your strength goals, the problem now is, how do I maintain this level of strength? The bad news is that maintaining strength will require a lifetime of weight training effort. Strength is lost if you don’t continue to exercise. The good news is that the effort required to maintain muscle strength is less than the initial effort needed to gain strength. Research has shown that as little as one workout per week is required to maintain strength.