18 Rules of Strengthening | Print |
Performing exercises with proper form is the most important factor in achieving a good therapy result. When performing weight-training exercises, concentrate during each repetition by moving slowly and smoothly in both the lifting and lowering movements. Never sacrifice your form in an attempt to use more weight or perform more repetitions. Below find the basic exercise principles for resistive exercise training (weight training).


  1. Perform one set of three to five exercises for the lower body, four to six exercises for the upper body, and no more than 10 exercises in any single work-out.
  2. Use only exercise equipment which is void of any perceivable mechanical friction. Mechanical friction is easily detected by feeling sticking” and/or listening for any noise made by the machine while the exercise is being performed.
  3. Initially, when performing a rehabilitation program select a resistance for each exercise that allows you to do between 12 and 15 repetitions in a smooth, steady form, through a full range of motion. If 12 repetitions cannot be performed properly, the resistance is too heavy. If 15 or more repetitions can be performed properly, the weight is too light.
  4. Ultimately, as the rehabilitation progresses and pain diminishes; ideally one should perform 6~8 repetitions with a smooth steady form and full range of motion. The set will be completed when you attempt to lift the weight slowly but it just won’t go. At that point lower the weight and the exercise is over.
  5. Continue each exercise until no additional repetitions or movements are possible in good form. When eight or more repetitions are performed properly, increase resistance by approximately 5% at the next workout.
  6. Avoid exercises which compress the spine and/or position the head and/or neck too far forward or backward.
  7. Keep your body in a straight, aligned manner. Avoid twisting or shifting your weight during the movement.
  8. Keep your face and jaws relaxed and never squeeze the handgrips tightly. This results in elevated blood pressure and can be dangerous.
  9. Select exercises that isolate and work the largest muscle groups first, then proceed to the smaller muscle groups. Example: hips, thighs, back, shoulder, chest, arms and neck.
  10. Accentuate the lifting portion of each repetition. With the resistance perform positive work slowly and smoothly to the count of 10, pause minimally in the most contracted position. Lower the resistance or perform negative work slowly and smoothly to a count of 5. Do not pause in the most contracted position in any compound exercise (multiple joint pressing exercises). Example: leg press, chest press or overhead press
  11. Use as much of your range-of motion as possible on each exercise to develop full strength and flexibility. Concentrate on flexibility by slowly stretching during the first two repetitions.
  12. Breathe normally. Do not try to hold your breath while training.
  13. If in doubt about the speed of movement move slower, never faster. Do not sacrifice form for repetitions.
  14. It is preferable to train in an environment that is cool and quiet.
  15. Walk quickly from exercise to exercise. A long rest between exercises diminishes your exercise effect.
  16. After completion of your weight exercise program, a rest period of at least 48 hours but not more than 96 hours should be obtained.
  17. Keep accurate records - date, resistance, repetitions, and overall training for each workout period. Do not vary the workout often.
  18. Never exercise with a headache or illness.