What are Different Types of Weight Lifting Programs?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 March 2020
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Countless weight lifting programs exist that promise different kinds of results. Two of the most common types of weight lifting programs are high intensity training, or HIT, and periodized training, which takes place over the course of a longer period of time. High intensity training is a quicker workout that is far more strenuous on the body, whereas periodized training values consistency over a long period of time and is less strenuous on the body. Both types of weight lifting programs can be modified to suit the needs of the athlete.

Weight lifting programs can further be divided into more typical categories, such as beginner, intermediate, and expert; or weight lifting programs for men and weight lifting programs for women. The biggest difference between these divisions essentially boils down to experience and fitness goals. A female lifter will want to tailor the workout to suit her needs; she will not perform the same exercises that a male will do, as males and females often focus their lifting on different parts of the body in different quantities. Similarities will exist between the two, however.


High intensity training is meant to produce results quickly. A lifter will perform a full body workout two to three times a week, and each exercise will be performed for only one set. The lifter will choose a weight that is heavier than his or her median, and he or she will perform the particular weight lifting exercise to failure, or until the muscles can no longer lift the weight. The idea is to prepare the muscles to lift more weight for the same amount of repetitions during the next workout, or to lift the same amount of weights with more repetitions. HIT is a progressive workout that continually works the muscles to exhaustion.

Periodized training takes place over a longer period of time. The lifter will work one set of muscles on day one, then another set of unrelated muscles on day two, followed by a rest day on day three. The workout then repeats. Periodized training stresses the importance of consistency, but it is also a progressive workout. The first several weeks may be an easy workout, but the second three weeks will get more strenuous, until the final three weeks take the lifter to the most strenuous workout. This type of workout is designed to avoid plateaus.


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