Weight Training Guidelines

American College of Sports Medicine Recommendations and Position Stand

ExRx.net > Weight Training > Outline

Recommendations for Resistance Training Exercise (ACSM 1995)

Barbell Step-up(summarized with ExRx's notes in parenthesis)

  • Perform a minimum of 8 to 10 exercises that train the major muscle groups
    • Workouts should not be too long.
      • Programs longer than one hour are associated with higher dropout rates.
    • (See ExRx's suggested workout templates)
    • (Choose more compound, or multi-joint exercises which involve more muscles with fewer exercises)
  • Perform one set of 8 to 12 repetitions to the point of volitional fatigue
  • Perform exercises at least 2 days per week
    • More frequent training may elicit slightly greater strength gains, but additional improvement is relatively small.
      • (Progress is made during the recuperation between workouts)
    • (See optional split programs)
  • Adhere as closely to the specific exercise techniques
  • Perform exercises through a full range of motion
    • Elderly trainees should perform the exercises in the maximum range of motion that does not elicit pain or discomfort
    • (See benefits, over generalizations, and notes on full range of motion)
  • Perform exercises in a controlled manner
  • Maintain a normal breathing pattern
  • If possible, exercise with a training partner
    • Partners can provide feedback, assistance, and motivation.


Position Stand on Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults (ACSM 2002)

OpenTrap BarRomanian Deadlift

  • Both concentric and eccentric muscle actions
  • Both single and multiple joint exercises
  • Exercise sequence
    • large before small muscle group exercises
    • multiple-joint exercises before single-joint exercises
    • higher intensity before lower intensity exercises
  • When training at a specific RM load
    • 2-10% increase in load
      • if one to two repetitions over the desired number
  • Training frequency
    • 2-3 days per week for novice and intermediate training
    • 4-5 days per week for advanced training.
  • Novice training
    • 8-12 repetition maximum (RM)
  • Intermediate to advanced training
    • 1-12 RM in periodized fashion
      • eventual emphasis on heavy loading (1-6 RM)
        • at least 3-min rest periods between sets
        • moderate contraction velocity
          • 1-2 s concentric, 1-2 s eccentric

Lever Power Jammer

    • Hypertrophy training
      • 1-12 RM in periodized fashion
        • emphasis on the 6-12 RM zone
      • 1- to 2-min rest periods between sets
      • moderate contraction velocity
      • higher volume, multiple-set programs
    • Power training
      • two general loading strategies
        • strength training
        • use of light loads
          • 30-60% of 1 RM
          • fast contraction velocity
          • 2-3 min of rest between sets for multiple sets per exercise
          • emphasize multiple-joint exercises
            • especially those involving the total body
    • Local muscular endurance training
      • light to moderate loads
      • 40-60% of 1 RM
      • high repetitions (> 15)
      • short rest periods (< 90 s)
  • Recommendations should be viewed in context of individual´s target goals, physical capacity, and training status

Also see Suggested Repetition Range for specific and special populations and Olympic-style Weightlifting.


Main Menu | Warm-up | Weight Training Tips | Practical Research Findings | Exercise Prescription Titles