Is anyone else glad that it’s Friday? Classes officially ended yesterday for the end of semester (woohoo!), so I’m off to Social Media Breakfast this morning. It’s always fun to attend these – I meet all kinds of cool people and the speakers are great. It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to go, so I’m looking forward to it even more than usual. Most of my time this weekend will be spent studying because I have three finals next week. I’m so close to being done for the semester, I just have work hard a little longer.

For today’s post I thought I’d share a bit about the different kinds of strength training. If you’re new to fitness or haven’t done a lot of strength training before it can be overwhelming to try to figure it out. Add in the questionable fitness information on the internet, and it’s tough to separate fact from bro science. I’ll be writing about the four types of strength training: muscular endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power. Your goals will dictate what kind of strength training you’ll do and the appropriate training variables for that specific type.

he 4 Different Kinds of Strength Training

Acute Training Variables // Strength training workouts are based on acute training variables. They’re manipulated based on what you want to achieve. If you have a good trainer, they’ll have factored all seven of them into the workouts that they create for you. I won’t go into detail about all of them (that’s a whole other post), but I’ll list them here to give you an idea of what they are:

  • Choice of exercise
  • Order of exercises
  • Number of sets
  • Number of reps
  • Tempo of exercises
  • Rest periods
  • Load

Muscular Endurance // This is probably the least popular kind of strength training, though I’d recommend it as the place to start for people who are new to lifting. As the name implies, you’re lifting relatively less weight, but more times (hence endurance). The reps are relatively high, sets are low, as is the rest between sets (max of 30 seconds). As mentioned, you’re lifting relatively smaller loads than in the other kinds of strength training.

The reason I recommend endurance for beginners is because the loads are low. You can focus more on getting proper form (and preventing injury) while also getting in a great workout. When it comes to lifting higher weights, you want to make sure your form is spot on or else you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of hurting yourself.

Hypertrophy // Hypertrophy is a fancy word for increasing the size of skeletal muscle. If your goal is to get bigger muscles with more definition, hypertrophy is what you want to work on. The number of reps are medium and the sets are relatively high. Rest periods are medium, somewhere between muscular endurance and strength/power. In terms of load you’re lifting somewhere between 67% and 85% of your 1 rep maximum for each exercise.

Strength // This kind of strength training is all about getting stronger, as the name implies. Reps are less than or equal to six. The sets are relatively high. To get that strength you’re lifting a lot more weight than you are with any other kind of lifting. As a result, the rest periods for strength are pretty long – up to five minutes between sets.

Power // The last type of strength training is power. When I was first learning about these this one took me the longest to wrap my head around. I couldn’t figure out the difference between power and strength. Whether it’s a single (competition) or multi event (workout), your variables for reps, sets, and load will change. For single events you’re lifting fewer times but with a heavier load, and for multi events you’re lifting a slightly lighter load more times. Because this type of strength training is so taxing on your nervous system like strength is, you have to give your body more time to recover – up to five minutes before moving onto your next set.

Do you strength train regularly? What kind of lifting are you doing right now? 

The 4 Different Kinds of Strength Training