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Organising Weights Sessions

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Upper Body Exercises
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There are quite a few things to bear in mind when you are putting together a weight training session or programme.

Firstly, you need to work out how many weights sessions you are going to do each week. Then you need to consider which exercises you are going to perform, in which order, with how much weight and recovery and how many repetitions to perform.

Below we will try to answer or at least guide you through some ideas that might help.


It is easy do too many weights. If you are new to them, then one weight training session a week should be sufficient. This will allow you to progress whilst not placing too many stresses on your body. Once you are happy with this two, and eventually three sessions a week are possible, though often only advisable for the top level performer.

Generally, it is worth getting the muscles you are going to develop with weights prepared for the stresses by following a circuits schedule for at least a few weeks before starting on weight training. Also, prior to each session you should ensure you are thoroughly warmed up.


It is important that you don't develop any part of your body out of proportion with the rest. Basically, this means not concentrating on too small a range of exercises and balancing them against each other. An example of this would be to do bench press for the chest and arms and balance this with upright row for the arms and back.

Order of Weights Exercises?

This is not vital, but it is useful to put the heaviest and most powerful exercises early in the session and the others at the end. Another tip is to try to alternate an upper body exercise with leg exercises. Although not always done, generally you will complete all your sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.

How many reps and at which weight?

When you first start weight training it is important to learn the techniques on a low weight before you move up to heavier weights, even if this means starting with just the bar in many cases. As far as the number of reps goes this is up to you and you may feel you want to vary it according to the exercise that you are doing. As a rough guide we'd suggest doing three to five sets.

As far as the number of repetitions in each set is concerned, 1 to 2 reps tests your overall strength, 3 to 6 reps is for pure strength improvements in the muscles you already have, 7-12 is hypertrophy (muscle building) and beyond this is for the endurance of the muscles exercises and won't improve your strength.


There are two elements to recovery.

Between sets in the session you need to take recovery according to how you feel and whether you are concentrating on pure strength or more endurance. The amount of time might vary from just 30 seconds right up to 5 minutes.

Equally important is the amount of time between sessions. If you are attempting more than one session in a week try to leave at least 48 hours betweens sessions to allow for full recovery.

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