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Chris Mattingly
Developing Muscle and Strength
Chris Mattingly

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), there are three basic approaches to 'strengthen bones and maintain muscle tissue, decrease fatigue brought on by normal daily activities, decrease cholesterol levels, promote a healthy body weight and body composition, improve balance, coordination and body awareness, and contribute to positive body image, self-esteem and self-confidence' . The following table is a guide to the type of training you may wish to start using (or already are). The training is divided into three groups: Muscular Endurance, Building Muscle Size, and Muscle Strength.

Basic Goal


Training Method

Other Training Goals

Muscular Endurance

The ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated contractions against light (submaximal) load for an extended period of time

Use lighter weights; complete two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions; take a shortened rest period of 30 to 60 seconds between sets; train to moderate fatigue; train two to three times a week or more, resting one to two days between workouts

A well-accepted training method for beginners; promotes muscle tone; aids in injury prevention/rehabilitation; promotes good posture; promotes healthy body composition

Building Muscle Size/Mass

Body sculpting or body building

Use moderate to heavy weight; complete three to six sets of eight to 12 repetitions; rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets; train four to six times a week, resting one to two days between before training the same body part

Increase muscle mass; increase general strength; promote sport performance; promote healthy body composition

Muscular Strength

The maximal force a muscle or muscle group can generate in one maximal effort

Use heavy weights; complete three to five sets or more of one to six repetitions or more; rest more than two minutes between sets; train four to six times a week, resting one to two days between before training the same body part

May aid in injury prevention; promotes good posture; improves sport performance; promotes healthy body composition; increases general strength

Source: NSCA: The Quick Series Guide To Basic Weight Training.

As with any fitness program, ensure that you are in a good condition to start training at these levels of intensity. Good Luck!

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