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Top 10 Personal Trainer Tips for Strength Training

By Dan Trink | On Apr 20, 2012 | 6 Comments | In Articles, Tips for Day-to-Day Success

1. The most important factor in strength training is intensity of load. This is strength training, after all. So the goal is to (safely) move as much weight as possible.

2. Shoot for rest intervals between 3-5 minutes between sets. This will allow for adequate recovery of the phosphagen system (the main energy pathway used in strength training) without making the workouts intolerably long.

3. During strength phases you should resist the urge to add too much variety. Progress only a few lifts in each strength phase and save the variety for assistance movements or subsequent training phases.

4. For your primary movement(s) think more sets, less reps.

5. Strength training is very demanding on the central nervous system (CNS) which can take up to 5 times longer to recover than the skeletal-muscular system. Allow for proper rest and recovery between sessions.

6. Compound, multi-joint movements should be the staples of your strength training phase. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press and pull-ups should be your main focus. These are much more valuable than increasing the load of a biceps curl or calf raise in this phase.

7. Don’t be afraid to ‘steal’ from the best. Wendler (5,3,1), Sheiko and Westside all have tried and true programs designed to increase strength. Give them a try before reinventing the wheel.

8. Strength training phases are a great opportunity to break out some of the best toys in the gym. Bands, chains, boards and full speed devices can all be incorporated to great effect.

9. Don’t ignore core (especially obliques and lower back) training in your accessory movements. Being weak in those areas is often the limiting factor in the major lifts.

10. With that being said, if you were ever to use a lifting belt, knee wraps or specialty suits you can certainly do that during near-maximal or maximal attempts during this phase.

Different client goals?

Top 10 Personal Trainer Tips for Metabolic/Fat loss training

Top 10 Personal Trainer Tips for Hypertrophy Training


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Written by Dan Trink

Dan Trink is currently the manager of over 50 trainers at Peak Performance in New York City (repeatedly voted in the top 10 of America's Top Gym's by Men's Health). Dan is constantly featured in numerous leading health and fitness magazines and websites. He holds the CSCS in addition to ACE-CPT, USAW, PICP-3, TRX, LIFT, FMS, Biosig-1, Precision Nutrition Certification. Dan can be reached at his Facebook Page "Trink Fitness" or on Twitter

  • Guest

    The CSEP-CPT recertification requirements have changed as of 2012. To recertify, you need a minimum of 30 CEC’s over 2 years.

  • Guest

    the fees for PTS with CanFit are higher than you’ve listed (& were higher when I took the course a year prior to your article) … here is a link to the fee listings. Also – the written exam has 100 questions, but requires 80% to pass, after which you complete a 1-1.5hr practical exam.

  • guest

    no offense but i wouldn’t say you were working hard intensity before if your arms were that size and still are relatively small for a pt.. it seems this site has just become a platform to sell products unfortunately it used to have good content.

    • Dan Trink

      I think this comment is a bit unfair for a couple of reasons:

      First, while there is something for sale at the end, you are discounting an entire 1500 word article on tempo training and focusing on one paragraph at the end. Now, if you don’t believe the article is any good, that’s a different story, but I think you’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater here.

      Second, Jon is not a big guy. His workout intensity prior to taking on the program is slightly irrelevant. Maybe he never focused on training arms before. Maybe his goal was to stay under 150lbs. You don’t have to be massive or focus on hypertrophy to be a solid trainer or in good shape. We’ve got a trainer here who just broke the raw world record powerlifting total in the 132lb class. He’s not big, but the dude is a beast.

    • http://www.theptdc.com Jonathan

      Hi guest… if that is your real name.

      First of all, I appreciate any feedback but to hide behind the anonymity of the internet is sheepish. So if you’re going to write a damming comment, at least use your real name.

      And this website was always a platform to sell products. There has been a lot of money and time put into its development and continues to be much of the same. Have you ever landed on a half-decent website that doesn’t sell anything? There’s a reason why people publish stuff online.

      That being said, we post 2-3 value-packed pieces of content a week 100% free. I could easily shut this site off and charge a membership for the content but don’t. So if you don’t like the sales, ignore them and keep enjoying the content. If it bugs you that much, nobody asked you to be here. Personally, I believe the content is better than ever and 75,000+ personal trainers each month seem to agree with me.

      In terms of your personal assault on my physique, I won’t comment.

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