There are seven types of strength training you might enjoy, but as a rule of thumb, exercising in all ways is recommended for well-rounded conditioning. If different types of strength training sound strange it's because it’s an umbrella term. We promise you each of them is legit. When you think about the way humans can move, the muscle types and the categories do make sense. A climbing enthusiast, for example, may find it more beneficial to train more for agile strength and endurance strength rather than maximal strength.
If you can’t make sense of how agile/endurance/or explosive strength is of any consequence to you, keep reading. It’s useful to understand, especially if you’ve been wanting to take your routine to the next level. So, whether you read about the seven types out of curiosity or in an attempt to spice up your workout routine, understanding them can prove helpful. When a muscle is weak it can place disproportionate amounts of strain on others and that is what causes the discomfort. Resistance training can reduce symptoms for those who live with chronic pain.
If you’re not an amateur athlete or into some other intense recreational sport aim to train in all seven throughout the week. Ideally, that breaks down to one or two types per session, but never all of them simultaneously.
The Seven Different Kinds of Strength Training
#1 Agile Strength
This type of practice emphasizes changing directions quickly and powerfully. As you train regularly, there will be improvements in agility, endurance, coordination, explosive power, and balance as well. Be prepared to sweat!
How to Improve Agile Strength
Exercises such as running high knees, lateral plyometric jumps, and plank jacks will increase agile strength. Other moves that will improve agility are side-to-side drills and dot drills. (Martial arts students do a lot of dot drills.)
No one should overlook agility training, but for those looking to improve their ability to execute quick accelerations in “speed, direction, velocity, or carrying heavy weight in multiple directions,” this is key.
#2 Endurance Strength
Performing exercises in this manner is also known as muscular endurance or muscular stamina. Prefers to your ability to maintain force under strain (heavy, but doable.) The big difference between this and the normal idea of lifting weights is that this type is not focused on improving your one-rep max. Do it enough and lean body mass will increase, joints will stabilize, and your work capacity is increased.
Other benefits of endurance strength training include improved bone health and you’ll experience enhanced performance during aerobic conditioning. Endurance training has the benefit of allowing the body to move lactic acid from the muscles more quickly, resulting in easier recovery.
How to Improve Endurance Strength
To train for endurance, you have to apply resistance. Bodyweight alone is a very effective way to stay fit, but you can also use machines, free weights, stability balls, water, or resistance bands. As a result, if you're not into weight lifting, you won't have to start now.
Strength endurance conditioning involves exercising under 50 percent of max intensity for a longer time. Experts say you won't gain much muscle because the muscles aren't overloaded, but you will enhance the ones you have. As a consequence of regularity, resistance workout duration, or weight handled during longer periods will improve.
Try these exercises if any of the above interests you:
Bodyweight squats (doing high reps like 4 sets of 25)
According to Schmidtbleicher, an authority on endurance training, the repetition period should be at most 2 minutes, where you can do anywhere from 20 to 100 repetitions with a 2-minute break between.
#3 Explosive Strength
When you throw a punch, the power behind it is explosive strength. By exercising this way, you will improve your reaction time. You can accelerate and decelerate incredibly quickly with proper explosive strength workouts: like changing positions on a basketball court in a split second.
In the section on speed strength, you'll find explosive strength and speed strength are very similar. There is a difference, “explosive training is practiced at the fastest speed of all or a high velocity since there is less resistance overall” this is not the case when working on speed strength. In more technical terms this sort of workout requires your movements to change from using eccentric (1) to concentric (2) action.
- Eccentric movements cause the lengthening of a muscle (e.g., the lowering of a dumbbell during a bicep curl.)
- Concentric motion contracts the muscles (e.g., pulling the weight up during a bicep curl.)
Experts say to improve upon explosive strength try Plyometrics fitness routines. Try some of these:
Reverse lunge, Knee ups
Depth jumps (jumping down from a box and then exploding upward)
Each of these allows for the quick contraction from lengthening muscle to the contraction of that same muscle oftentimes in as fast as .2 seconds. It sounds challenging but we know you’re up for it. In a nutshell, explosive strength training has some surprising health benefits like burning belly fat, looking leaner, and controlling blood sugar.
#4 Maximum Strength
Suppose you talk to a fortune teller. They tell you that a tree will fall on you by the end of the week. However, if you pay them $50 they can determine what size tree you'll be trapped under. Well if you have any hope of lifting it off of you, then you need to know your maximum or maximal strength ability.
Increasing Maximum Strength
This is done by knowing your 1 rep max, which is the most weight you can lift until muscle failure. As you build strength, you'll be aiming for muscle failure in each session. The gradual increase in stress on the muscle is what triggers it to grow and makes you stronger.
There are many benefits to weight training for those who do not want to be bodybuilders, such as:
- Building a nice butt
- Graceful calves
- Getting rid of flabby arms
- Those hips look wider
Those who don't lift weights will be able to increase the maximum load (to a point), but they'll eventually reach a limit. Without weights, it’s possible to use resistance bands and increase the band thickness. Certain exercises can also utilize body weight to increase the progressive weight load: as in pull-ups on a machine that allows you to use less counter-weight until there is no more and you’re lifting the full body weight.
#5 Speed Strength
There are a lot of serious athletes who work on this kind of strength. It's why boxers who focus on this land more punches than those who focus on strength/size over speed. Speed over strength is an ongoing debate. But don’t write off giving this a go, speed training can indirectly improve your day-to-day even if you’re not an athlete.
- Fuller Range of Motion
- High Fat Burn
- Enhanced Flexibility
- Directly Strengthen Weak Muscles
- A Well-Rounded Workout
- Better Muscle Balance
- Trains Muscle Fibers
- A Stronger Running Stride
How to Improve Speed Strength
The weights used while speed training should not be the heaviest you can lift. Too heavy and it can cause injury, but there should be a substantial force working against each movement. Performing this type of training requires precise, aggressive, and quick movements.
Our top tip is? Know your limits.
For enhanced performance, try the following two approaches:
Medicine Ball Throws
In this article, so far, we have covered five types of strength training that can enhance your body, mobility, and daily activities. Let’s recap real fast, shall we? [Keep in mind none of these are exhaustive lists.]
- Agility strength training improves mobility, endurance, coordination, and balance.
- Endurance strength training benefits include improved bone health, enhanced performance during aerobic conditioning, and reduced lactate production.
- Explosive strength training may cause the physique to appear leaner, manage blood sugar and bolster reaction times.
- Maximum strength is perhaps what everyone thinks of when it comes to lifting: it’s proven to improve your mood, keep you burning calories once training is complete, and change your body shape.
- Speed strength has benefits for the non-athlete such as a stronger running stride, improved flexibility, high-fat burn, a fuller range of motion, and better muscle balance.
Remember that any amount of exercise can lead to weight loss if your diet is also on point. If you want to improve your fitness or combat a specific health problem, take the time to get to know each of these. They can improve your training and physique.
The two methods of strength training remain. Let's hope you've found some value in this.
#6 Starting Strength
This type of training is super specific to barbell training, and for newbies, there is a learning curve. We recommend joining a training group to learn the advanced technique of these big lifts.
For starting strength, the lifts begin from zero with no momentum. For each session, you focus on one set.
A set consists of a combination of six exercises:
- Bench press
- Military press
- Barbell row
- Power clean
In traditional training programs, you rotate between these groups (usually divided into A and B) three times a week. Using a workout log helps a great deal. Staying with the routine, following the instructions, and doing a bit of research are highly recommended for successful and safe execution.
So, why train for starting strength? These are the basic lifts. Understanding each exercise helps you build a solid lifting base. A starting strength program will also teach correct form and thereby build an understanding of why training is structured the way it is.
The benefits include:
- Learning compound movements as a rookie
- The health benefits of weightlifting in general
- Enhanced muscle tone
- If you like to learn with a systematic approach this is for you
A typical program will have you working out between 45 and 80 minutes (warm-up and cool-down included) if you make it to two hours it’s probably overkilling it. Although you can gain muscle size with starting strength, it's not maximum strength training, and the focus is on the “hips, adductors, quads, lower back, and quads.”
Some professionals warn that starting strength doesn’t give you a well-balanced workout alone, it won’t improve your agility or balance, and some fitness junkies claim it won’t even create a well-rounded muscle tone. Others say the opposite.
#7 Relative Strength
Imagine this scene, two weightlifters comparing how much weight they can lift. The thing is unless those two individuals weigh the same, it doesn’t necessarily mean the person who can lift the most is the strongest. Strength can be described in terms of being relative or absolute.
Here's how it works. Person A, who weighs 150 pounds and can bench press 75 pounds, and person B, who weighs 230 pounds and can bench press 95 pounds. Who do you think is the stronger of the two? If you took “relative strength” as a context clue, then you guessed right because strength is proportional to weight, and person A is stronger. As a disclaimer though, this isn’t always applicable for everyone. For gymnasts and cross-fitters relative strength is a big advantage. For powerlifters, you’ll probably end up in another weight class and thus absolute strength becomes more significant.
Fitness plans can be designed considering relativity. If you lose body mass while maintaining your strength, that's an increase in relative strength.