Basic Principles & Terminology

Welcome to the Training Principles. We have divided this section into two. The first is Basic Training Principles & Terminology the other Advanced Training Principles. There are a few fundamental terms and principles which you must make yourself familiar with to be successful with. Consider these as the game rules as many other sports have. Abiding by the rules is a must! Below are the basics of basics to get you on your way.

Once you have moved up to the advanced or high intermediate level, it is strongly recommended that you implement advanced training principles into your training! How do you know when you are at such a level? Well, generally speaking you will have made progress in muscle gain, strength and an overall greater understanding of your body and it's needs to progress. In terms of time, generally speaking, 3 to 5 years lifting experience is appropriate. Also, for those of you who have reached plateau's in your progress or gains, you should also use these principles to shock your muscles back into growth!

Repetitions (reps)

The word reps is a shortening of repetitions. A Repetition is one complete movement of an exercise. This must be a complete range of motion of the exercise and must be performed correclty. When you deal with the word reps, you will come across strict and forced reps as well.


Sets are a collection of repetitions. This must be a consequtive number of repetitions. In addition, you will come across straight set which are regular sets; as well as pyramid sets which increase in weight by every set performed.

Rest between sets

The amount of rest you take between each set is important. Normally, while you are performing the same exercise, you should rest no more than 2 minutes between sets. However, if you are training with extra heavy poundages, then rest between sets may be up to 5 minutes. Waiting too long between sets does not stimulate the muscles as effectively.

Exercise order

You should always train your larger muscle groups before small ones. The main reason for this is that it takes more of your energy to train these larger muscle than the smaller ones. When it comes down to the order of training within small and large groups.. train your weakest first.

Duration of workout

It is very important that when you do go the gym to train or exercise - you train! Your workout should range from within 30 to 45 minutes in duration. Anything longer and you are either resting too long or chit chatting too much. Does duration matter? Of course! The object is to keep blood flowing in your muscles at all times, keep your heart rate above resting and keep the pump.

Breathing during exercise

Breathing patterns are also very important during your sets. As a rule to inhaling and exhaling air, remember to inhale are you lower the weight or perform the negative part of the movement, and exhale on the positive part. Please do not hold your breath.

Stripping Method

This method is easy to use. Let me explain with an example. Suppose that you are performing reps with 100 pound dumbbells and fail at the 8th rep, with the stripping method you immediately following your last rep, pick up a lighter set of dumbbells and perform a few more reps. Do this process three to four times. This is excellent for shocking the muscle and getting a great burn!

Cheat curls / repetitions

This principle is applied to training biceps in standing barbell biceps curls. The direct name implies a bad thing; do not be fooled, they are very beneficial to pack on mass. The key to cheat curls is that they are performed correctly. Cheat curls should only consist of about 2 or 3 reps at the end of the set. These extra reps are swung up by using your body weight, but are let down slowly and controlled! Please wear a support belt during this technique to protect your lower back. You may also apply Cheating to many other exercises, however please be smart and careful in doing so.

Super sets

In this training technique, you will need a training partner. You need to use more weight than you can handle on your own. The idea behind this is to lower the weight in a very slow and controlled manner, then have you training partner raise it for you. The amount of reps performed in this should be in the range of 2 to 5.


These are applied to most curling exercises, yet it is possible to appy it to many others. Be creative but safe! The execution of the 21's in curling movements is a three part exercise. First, you perform 7 repetitions from the bottom point to the midpoint, then 7 repetitions from the midpoint to the top, then finally 7 full repetitions. This exercise will give your muscles a burn, but growth!

Pre-exhaust sets

These are great to really target a muscle group which you otherwise have a hard time to isolate. Performing pre-exhaust sets will tire out muscle which would normally aid as secondary muscles in a certain exercise, then another set will follow which will target the same muscles aided before. This time however, they will not have any help from the secondary muscles and will do all the work and get all the benefit. An example is doing leg extension followed by squats.