Strength training: rationale for current guidelines for adult fitness programs

Phys Sportsmed. 1997 Feb;25(2):44-63. doi: 10.3810/psm.1997.02.1137.


Strength training is an effective method for developing musculoskeletal strength and is often prescribed for fitness, health, and the prevention and rehabilitation of orthopedic injuries. Because strength training is an integral component in the comprehensive health program promoted by the major health organizations (eg, American College of Sports Medicine, American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Surgeon General's Office), population-specific guidelines have recently been published. For the average adult beginning a strength training program, current research indicates that single-set programs performed a minimum of two times per week are recommended over multiple-set programs because they are less time-consuming, more cost-efficient, and produce most of the health and fitness benefits. The goal of this type of program is to develop and maintain a significant amount of muscle mass, endurance, and strength to contribute to overall fitness and health, not to optimize strength, power, and hypertrophy. By incorporating exercise prescription into patient counseling, clinicians can further increase their effectiveness as prevention-oriented healthcare providers.