There've been a lot of quite basic weightlifting questions recently, and I thought I'd draw them all into one tight thread to clear everything up. First, a few basic terms. Failure- the point where a trainee is not able to complete another rep of a given exercise. 1 rep max (1RM)- the maximum amount of weight a trainee is able to lift in one repetition. Volume- the 'amount' of training you do. Either in terms of one workout (sets and reps) or in terms of an entire week (sets). Hypertrophy- the process by which a muscle grows. Of which; Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy involves the fluid surrounding the actual muscle fibres Myofibrilar hypertrophy involves the muscle fibres themselves. Next, a few home truths about weightlifting. 1. In order to become stronger, you need to be lifting weights close to your 1RM. Light weights, with the exception of explosive lifting, may be good for cardio, but don't come into strength training at all. 2. By definition, if you're lifting big weights like that, you won't be able to complete many repetitions. I'm sick to death of having to deal with idiots who think you should be doing light weights for a huge number of reps. God knows where this myth came from. With brings me to; 3.TONING IS A MYTH. Your muscle 'tone' is determined by the amount of muscle there and your body fat percentage. Lifting tiny weights for lots of reps for 'tone' is a red herring. 4. The keyword for increasing strength is progressive resistance. I.e. adding weight to your exercises. Whatever your approach to volume, you need to be adding weight to see gains. A few approaches to volume. HIT or High Intensity Training. This revolves around very short, full-body workouts, reaching failure every time, and allowing for plenty of rest in between workouts- i.e. one or two sessions a week. Currently enjoying a great vogue amongst the martial arts community. Bodybuilding 'splits'. This approach will have you working 1 body part out a week, allowing you to fit in more sets. Doing as much as 20 sets for the arms is not uncommon. This approach is currently undergoing widespread discredit, and rightly so. This amount of overtraining will not produce results in the majority of trainees. 'Greasing the groove'. This approach to volume involves lifting regularly, without failure. Typically, you'll do a large number of workouts- as many as 3 a day. German volume training. Involves selecting one exercise and repeating it for 20 sets. close to the end, your body actually undergoes a kind of neural 'bounce-back' and your reps go up- that's the rumour, anyway. The old fashioned way. 3 full body workouts a week. Big lifts. Exercises. Basically, i want to clear up the points on technique that have been cropping up recently. Take a good look at the write-up links I've listed for each exercise. The squat. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exercises.php?Name=Barbell+Squat http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459775 The bench press http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/PectoralSternal/BBBenchPress.html http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459808 Deadlifts http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exercises.php?Name=Barbell+Deadlift http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/casi4.htm I've alread covered chins and dips in detail here; http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21806 If anybody has any exercises they're unclear on, please bring them up in THIS thread rather than starting a new one. A few links; Totality's guide to lifting teh weights http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9963 The home of beyond brawn, bastion of natural, drug-free training http://www.hardgainer.com T-nation, fast becoming the internet's favourite strength training resource http://www.t-nation.com And we're done.