What is it?
Muscular strength and muscular endurance are developed by increasing more than normal the resistance to movement (overload principle). Muscular strength is best developed by using heavy weights requiring maximal or near maximal effort and less than six repetitions. Muscular endurance is best developed using lighter weights with greater than 20 repetitions. Law enforcement requires both muscle strength and endurance, so 8‑12 repetitions are recommended for this training.
A repetition is moving the weight through the range of motion of a joint. For example, in the arm curl, the weight is held with the arms straight. The weight is then lifted upward by bending the arms at the elbow. The weight is then slowly lowered to the starting position.
A set is the number of repetitions done without resting between lifts. For example, doing 10 repetitions of the arm curl would be one set. People often do two or three sets of all the exercises worked on during one training session. A minimum of at least one set with 8‑12 repetitions to near fatigue should be completed for each muscle group.
Strength training can be done in a gym or club that has resistance training equipment. Often, there is an instructor to help you set up a program and get started. Strength training can also be done at home using purchased equipment or making your own. Weights can be made by filling a variety of different sized containers with water, sand, or concrete.
It is recommended that you train with a partner for both safety and motivational reasons. The partner can assist you with using the proper lifts and be available to help you if you have problems lifting the weights. The training partner can also help motivate you to keep working hard and provide encouragement.
How to start?
It is recommended that you do a minimum of 8‑10 exercises involving the major muscle groups. Women tend to possess less upper body strength than do men. Therefore, women may need to concentrate more on upper body strength exercises.
The first few strength training sessions should be used to determine how much weight to lift for each muscle group. As a general rule‑of‑thumb, use as much weight as can be lifted 10‑12 times. The last repetition should be fairly difficult to lift.
Strength training should be done at least two days per week, but not working the same muscle group two days in a row. Additional sets and more days per week may produce greater gains, but research has found that about 75% of the increase in strength occurs performing one set per day, two days per week compared to three days per week.
Breathing properly is an important issue while training. Avoid holding your breath when lifting the weight, because this can increase blood pressure and inhibit the return of blood to the heart. It is generally recommended to exhale while the muscle is working the hardest (i.e. lifting the weight in a bench press) and to inhale on the release (lowering the weight).
How to progress?
Keep a record of your strength training sessions. You should note the date, how many pounds lifted, the number of repetitions, and number of sets performed. This serves as a motivator because you can see your progress. It also helps you decide when to increase the weight in order to progress upward in strength.
As your strength increases it is necessary to increase the resistance in order to overload the muscles. This is called progressive resistance exercise. Increase the weight when you can lift a weight for 12 repetitions. Improvement in strength is dependent upon the initial strength levels. The average improvement for sedentary males and females after six months of training is 25%‑30%.