Strength Training vs Weight Training- which am I doing?

I'm having some difficulty understanding what I am doing and what category it falls into- and what is the max I should do it each week. Hoping for some clarification.

I recently hired a trainer (she is a competitive body builder)- and said that I wanted a weight lifting program. Based on the many posts on MFP- women are doing programs on the rack (ie: 5x5) and lifting low reps to muscle exhaustion. So in my head weight lifting= low reps to muscle exhaustion doing things like dead lifts, squats etc.. mostly on the rack and progressing to lift heavier each week.

My trainer has me doing 12 reps with the heaviest weight I can use for 1 set- and I am increasing strength each week by moving up in weight. Ok- sounds similiar to weight training (except I am only at 8-12# weights right now- I am weak). But we are doing a wide variety of strength training exercises including using own body weight (kettlebell, lunges with bicep or tricep curls, pull ups, leg strength on Nautlis etc...). So this to me feels more like strength training due to the types of exercises.

She recommends I do this 3x per week. I want to be able to do this to gain maximum benefits- since I want to be in the best shape I can possibly get for my first belly dance show of the season on May 16th. I have read many times that you can strength train 4-5x a week, though most say 3-4x---so not sure who is right. I want to be able to strength/weight train as much as possible while still giving my body proper time to rest. (I am also doing some cardio classes, increasing my protein and eating at a deficit). My goals are to lose weight (fat) and to look tighter/toned- ie: look better- being stronger is an added benefit.

Your thoughts on sticking to just 3x per week? Any thoughts on if I am strength training or weight lifting (working my way up to heavier weights)? The importance for my to label this- is to help me with communicating/better explaining what I want in my sessions and results. I trust her- just not sure if I have explained myself goals properly or if this is just another route to the same outcome, and maybe I am just "stuck" in a limited viewpoint and/or terminology. Thanks!

Replies

  • jimmmer
    jimmmer Posts: 3,515 Member
    edited March 2015
    There's a million ways to skin a cat.

    By your own admission, you are getting stronger each session and the weights are going up.

    Are you enjoying the workouts? Diet's on point? Indicators that matter to you (scale weight, tape measure, mirror, fitting into that old pair of jeans, etc) going in the right direction?

    Because progressive resistance and getting stronger doesn't have to mean Stronglifts 5x5.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
    i have never thought of there being a difference between strength training and weight training...

    sounds like you're WAY over thinking it.
  • jimmmer
    jimmmer Posts: 3,515 Member
    Well, you can technically strength train without weights (think pull ups, pistols, etc).

    And you can weight train with an emphasis on muscular endurance rather than strength (think body pump)

    But most people will be getting strength, hypertrophy and endurance improvements of some degree whatever progressive routine they embark upon.
  • hill8570
    hill8570 Posts: 1,466 Member
    edited March 2015
    One correction: 5x5 of any sort is not a "done to muscle exhaustion" program. The 1x12 stuff you're doing is closer to a a "muscle exhaustion" program.

    Like @jimmmer said...lots of ways to skin the kitty. Not sure why you'd care what you call it -- you're gaining strength and probably getting some decent hypertrophy with the x12 stuff. Only issue I'd have with it is it sounds like a relatively time-consuming program, but that's a personal thing.

    As to doing more than 3x -- why not ask the trainer? Without knowing the details of the program, it's damned hard for any of us to know how much recovery time is designed in.
  • jimmmer
    jimmmer Posts: 3,515 Member
    hill8570 wrote: »
    One correction: 5x5 of any sort is not a "done to muscle exhaustion" program. The 1x12 stuff you're doing is closer to a a "muscle exhaustion" program.

    Like @jimmmer said...lots of ways to skin the kitty. Not sure why you'd care what you call it -- you're gaining strength and probably getting some decent hypertrophy with the x12 stuff. Only issue I'd have with it is it sounds like a relatively time-consuming program, but that's a personal thing.

    As to doing more than 3x -- why not ask the trainer? Without knowing the details of the program, it's damned hard for any of us to know how much recovery time is designed in.

    This.

    If you're doing it as designed, recovering well, progressing along and enjoying it, then that sounds just fine.

    If recovery is not good, you stop progressing, or you hate the routine - then you've got problems.
  • Timshel_
    Timshel_ Posts: 22,841 Member
    twrobbel wrote: »
    My trainer has me doing 12 reps with the heaviest weight I can use for 1 set- and I am increasing strength each week by moving up in weight. Ok- sounds similiar to weight training (except I am only at 8-12# weights right now- I am weak). But we are doing a wide variety of strength training exercises including using own body weight (kettlebell, lunges with bicep or tricep curls, pull ups, leg strength on Nautlis etc...). So this to me feels more like strength training due to the types of exercises.

    I guess if ya wanted to split hairs it could be said that weight training is focused more on progression of lifting weights and adding to the load you can move in a defined number of sets, where as strength training is focused on improving your ability to do work with your muscles for longer durations, with increase efficiency and load. I think they essentially do the same things, though methodology can be different.

    Personally I call all weight lifting strength training.

    To me it looks like a comprehensive program you have, moving in standard weight/rep progressions and including body weight and resistance exercises for duration. Hits all the muscle fibers.

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,501 Member
    Semantics in this case. Dependent on what goals are, progression can happen in weight resistance used, or muscular endurance, or even power (explosive lifts). Sounds like your trainer is using more of an approach to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, rather than myofibrillar hypertrophy. Not uncommon for competitive bodybuilders to have people do the same workouts they do. Redefine what you really want then make sure that your trainer applies the correct program to achieve it.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,424 Member
    My brain hurts.
  • twrobbel
    twrobbel Posts: 132 Member
    Thanks for your replies- it has been very helpful. I try to educate myself as much as I can, but with as much info out there and opinions desguised as facts, its hard to cut through the clutter sometimes. Since many people on MFP seem to have such passion around programs lke 5x5, stronglifts etc...and against strength training, I was struggling to see through all the "clutter". Thought I was either missing something or that it truly was "skinning the cat"

    @rybo ...my brain hurts too! ;)
  • CarlKRobbo
    CarlKRobbo Posts: 390 Member
    @Chaelaz - sorry, you can't describe strength training as that!! Not even close! - No offence intended, but that's hugely misleading!
    -
    I'm a competitive powerlifter, strongman. I train to get strong. AKA Strength training. I train x reps\sets to get stronger by increasing the load. It differs from weight training in that my #1 goal is Strength. As a result, Calories are higher, Sets\reps are in general lower, wnd weights used are heavier

    As for the question - Weight training IMHO, is lifting weights, for x reps\sets with the goal of progressively increasing weight over time.

    Weight training is THEN split and tailored for the end goal, be it:
    Strength
    Size
    Weight\Fat Loss
    Endurance

    All are forms of weight training, it's the programming that takes it to Strength\Size\Endurance
  • Drewlssix
    Drewlssix Posts: 272 Member
    i have never thought of there being a difference between strength training and weight training...

    sounds like you're WAY over thinking it.

    I think he(she?) means stregnth training vs hypertrophy, aka bodybuilding.

    While the high reps per set seem like hypertrophy training the fact that these are single sets means there is not the kind of volume one associates with BBing.

    Imo the trainer is doing a smart thing, if she recomended these weights with lower reps and multiple sets like a 5x5 it's likely the first few sets would be a wash as there would be little effort in the beginning. Normally increasing the weight is the go-to solution so that you are working for every 5 rep set but as a beginner the opportunity for injury and bad form is great. 12x1 gets the OP time under the bar for experience and good gains for now
  • Timshel_
    Timshel_ Posts: 22,841 Member
    CarlKRobbo wrote: »
    @Chaelaz - sorry, you can't describe strength training as that!! Not even close! - No offence intended, but that's hugely misleading!

    Sure I can. It is more creating a difference with the wording than anything factual, as I said.

  • KingRat79
    KingRat79 Posts: 125 Member
    edited March 2015
    CarlKRobbo wrote: »
    @Chaelaz - sorry, you can't describe strength training as that!! Not even close! - No offence intended, but that's hugely misleading!
    -
    I'm a competitive powerlifter, strongman. I train to get strong. AKA Strength training. I train x reps\sets to get stronger by increasing the load. It differs from weight training in that my #1 goal is Strength. As a result, Calories are higher, Sets\reps are in general lower, wnd weights used are heavier

    As for the question - Weight training IMHO, is lifting weights, for x reps\sets with the goal of progressively increasing weight over time.

    Weight training is THEN split and tailored for the end goal, be it:
    Strength
    Size
    Weight\Fat Loss
    Endurance

    All are forms of weight training, it's the programming that takes it to Strength\Size\Endurance

    I agree with this,

    to the OP ask yourself what your end goal is, while there are lots of cross overs training for muscle growth /aesthetics and training for strength are really different animals
  • missomgitsica
    missomgitsica Posts: 496 Member
    i have never thought of there being a difference between strength training and weight training...

    sounds like you're WAY over thinking it.

    Agreed.
  • AllanMisner
    AllanMisner Posts: 4,140 Member
    I try to keep it simple. 1 - 5 reps for strength, 6 - 10 reps for hypertrophy (mass), and 11 - 15 reps for muscle endurance. The exercises your trainer has you doing seem to be designed to allow you to get in the workout within a reasonable amount of time. And while the rep ranges are more toward the top end, you’ll likely see muscle mass and secondarily some strength gains (especially early on in your program). Since the moves are a little dynamic (curls during lunges), they are giving you a rep range that will let you practice the movements more. Plus, early on, a lot of trainers (especially bodybuilders) will want you to build up some endurance.

    All that said, have you decided what your overall goal is? Do you want to train for strength, mass, or endurance? Once you know, have a conversation with your trainer and they should either explain the progression plan or change your program to fit.
  • ccam99
    ccam99 Posts: 119 Member
    This is similar to my routine. 10-12 reps at highest weight I can do for 3-4 sets with the goal of increasing the weight as I get stronger. My goal is some strength and overall muscle toning. I would like to log this in MFP just so I can keep track of my workouts. Is there any way to enter it under Weight Training as a general w/o having to enter each type of exercise. I understand MFP's setup, so that you can see how you have progressed with your weight but I'm not overly concerned with that since I see my improvement at the gym. Would you recommend that I just list it under Cardio so it shows up. I just want an entry that says "weight training" so I can run reports that show what I did on each day (cardio or weights). Thank you.
  • nossmf
    nossmf Posts: 8,960 Member
    For purposes of counting calories on MFP, yes, place total time in the "cardio: weight training".

    For purposes of actually monitoring what you've done, I recommend using a weightlifting site, such as weighttraining.com. It's free (though you can purchase a membership for bonus features) and includes lots of advice on exercises, routines, etc.

    As for the OP: I consider it simply: lift weights, you're a weightlifter. Then you break down into subsets: powerlifter (get stronger), bodybuilder (get bigger), physiquelifter (look better), lifelifter (improve qualify of life). ALL weightlifters get all four benefits, though some people focus upon one or another more than the others.