Principles of Weight Training and Weight Lifting Exercises

This page talks about Weight Training Principles and Weight Lifting Exercises.

Weight Training is important for the fitness of men and women, athletes and non-athletes, and bodybuilders and regular gym goers.

No matter what your goal or situation, this page will help you to figure out how to use weight training to reach your fitness goals.

Weight Training Principle #1: The S.A.I.D. Principle

The S.A.I.D. Principle is one of the most fundamental weight training principles. S.A.I.D. stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.

Put simply, S.A.I.D. means that your body will adapt and change based on the nature of your workout routine. So if you want a certain change in your body then you must workout in a way that best facilitates the specific change.

There are 4 main muscular adaptations that you can achieve by using weight lifting exercises in your fitness routine-- muscular endurance, muscular growth (hypertrophy), muscular strength, and muscular power.

By changing the intensity (weight), the repetitions per set, the number of sets, the speed of the exercise, and the rest period between sets you can influence the way your body changes and adapts.

Weight Training Principle #2: Developing Muscular Endurance

Muscular Endurance refers to the ability to work over an extended period of time. In order to develop muscular endurance you should focus on more repetitions, with lighter weights, and shorter rest periods.

Here are the best recommendations for achieving muscular endurance through weight lifting.

  • Repetitions: 12-25
  • Tempo 4-2-1, Speed= Slow
  • Intensity 50-70% of your 1 Rep Maximum
  • Rest 0-30 Seconds Between Sets
  • 1-3 Sets Per Exercise

Weight Training Principle #3: Developing Muscular Hypertrophy (Growth)

Hypertrophy simply means muscle growth. Adding lean muscle and increasing the size of muscles can be important for men and women.

Here are the best recommendations for achieving hypertrophy and adding lean muscle through weight lifting.

  • Repetitions: 6-12
  • Tempo 3-2-1, Speed= Moderate
  • Intensity 70-80% of your 1 Rep Maximum
  • Rest 0-90 Seconds Between Sets
  • 2-4 Sets Per Exercise

Weight Training Principle #4: Developing Maximum Strength

Maximum strength refers to the increased ability of your muscles to move a heavier weight.

Here are the best recommendations for developing maximum strength through weight lifting.

  • Repetitions: 1-5
  • Tempo 2-0-2, Speed= Moderate
  • Intensity 80-100% of your 1 Rep Maximum
  • Rest 3-5 Minutes Between Sets
  • 3-5 Sets Per Exercise

Weight Training Principle #5: Developing Power and Speed

Power simply refers to the ability of your body to move as fast as possible. Developing power is especially important for athletes, recreational or professional.

Here are the best recommendations for improving power and speed with weight lifting exercises.

  • Repetitions: 5-10
  • Tempo X-X-X Speed= Explosive
  • Intensity 30-40% of your 1 Rep Maximum
  • Rest 2-5 Minutes Between Sets
  • 3-5 Sets Per Exercise

The best weight lifting exercises for developing speed are the olympic lifts, such as the power clean, clean and jerk, and dumbbell or barbell snatches.


By using different repetition ranges, intensities, rest periods, and tempos you can emphasize a certain muscular adaptation.

Choose the appropriate strategy for your goals and stay consistent.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT

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