Resistance Training Recommendations


Importance of Resistance Training in the General Population

Regular participation in a resistance training program is associated with:

  • Enhancing all components of muscular fitness (i.e., muscular strength, muscular endurance, and muscular power).
  • Significantly better cardiometabolic risk profiles.
  • Lower risk of all-cause mortality.
  • Fewer cardiovascular disease events.
  • Can improve body composition as well as selected health-related biomarkers, including blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.
  • An increase in lean body mass as a result of resistance training can contribute to the maintenance of, or increase in, resting or basal metabolic rate.
    • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the largest component of Total Energy Expenditure and is the energy required to maintain normal regulatory balance and body functions at rest. 

~Adapted by ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 9th ed. 


  • Frequency - Resistance train 2–3 nonconsecutive days per week.
  • Intensity - Sedentary persons should start resistance training with 40%–50% 1 RM. Intermediate exercises should use 60%–70% 1 RM to improve muscular strength. Experienced exercisers can use heavier loads (≥80% 1 RM) to improve muscular strength. Lighter loads (,50% 1 RM) and shorter rest periods between sets should be used to improve muscular endurance
  • Time - No specific resistance training duration has been identified.
  • Type - Include multiple-joint exercises for the major muscle groups. Target agonist and antagonist muscle groups to avoid muscle imbalances. Different types of equipment and body weight exercises can be used. 
  • Repetitions - 8–12 repetitions are recommended to improve muscular strength 15–20 repetitions are recommended to improve muscular endurance. 
  • Sets - 2–4 sets are recommended to improve strength and power. A single set can be effective for novices.
  • Pattern - A rest interval of 2–3 min between each set is effective. A rest of 48 h between sessions is recommended.
  • Progression - A gradual progression of greater resistance, repetitions, and frequency is recommended. 

~Adapted by ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 9th ed.