Strength Training Basics: Building Your Own Workout

As the new year kicks off, we know many people are going to get back to the gym or are starting a new training regimen. Often times, people don’t quite know where to start. So, we’re going to talk about the basics of strength training.

Strength training looks different for everyone
Strength training is vital to keep you at your peak performance, whether that means running marathons, getting your heaviest lift, or being able to pick up your kids.

How do I structure a strength training workout? 

The typical order of exercise starts with a warm up, moves onto power exercises, then core strength exercises, and finally, assistance exercises. The goal is to work from the larger muscle groups to the smaller ones, and alternating either between upper and lower body, and/or push and pull exercises can allow for greater recovery between sets.

Exercise Definition and Examples
Power Exercises High speed with large muscle areas recruited

across two or more primary joints. Snatch, clean, push press, jerk

Core Exercises Exercises recruiting large muscle areas with two

or more primary joints. Squat, deadlift, strict

press, bench press.

Assistance Exercises Smaller muscle areas with only one primary joint. Bicep curl, tricep extension, knee extension

machine, hamstring curl.


How many days a week should I train? 

There should be at least one to three days between exercises that use the same muscles in order to allow for recovery. This means that typically a beginner should have 2-3 session per week, intermediate 3-5, and advanced 4-7. While it can be tempting when you begin a new regimen (we get it, you’re excited!), this can be counterproductive. Above all, make sure to give yourself time to adequately recover between your sessions.

What should the reps, rest, and volume of my exercises look like? 

Depending on the type of training, there are general guidelines to help determine the volume and rest period for each exercise. Since we’re going back to basics, here’s a breakdown of what this all means.

  • 1RM: One-repetition maximum. This is the heaviest weight that you could lift with correct form just one time. You’ll take a percentage of that weight to find out how much you should be lifting.
  • Reps: How many times to repeat each exercise before resting
  • Sets: How many times to do the rep/rest cycle
  % of 1RM Reps Sets Rest Goal
Strength >85% <6


2-6 2-5min Increase weight moved for single repetition
Power Single Effort 80-90% 1-2 3-5 2-5min Increase rate of force development for single effort
Power Multiple Effort 75-85% 3-5 3-5 2-5min Increase rate of force development for multiple efforts
Hypertrophy 67-85% 6-12 3-6 30-90sec Increase size of muscles
Muscular Endurance <67% >12 2-3 <30sec Increase ability to exert force for extended periods of time


Looking for more info?

If you need ideas for exercises, we’re always posting videos on Instagram. Check it out for ideas and instructions on specific exercises! 

If you have a mobility issue you need help with, you have a goal in mind that you’re ready to crush, or you feel like you’ve plateaued and want help to continue to level up, reach out here.

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