Meatheads, muscle heads, lifters—all these terms represent a group of people who work out with one purpose in mind: building strength. This can take many different forms, such as performance and lifting a lot of weight. For those interested in getting into this lifestyle, here are the best types of strength training to include in your next gym routine. No matter which program you choose, you’ll see signs of a good workout as long as you maintain a consistent training schedule and a healthy diet.
Powerlifting is a strength sport focusing on the primary strength-based lifting movements: the bench press, squat, and deadlift. This is an excellent strength routine for those looking to focus on these lifts. Each of these is considered a compound movement, meaning they target a primary muscle group (chest, legs, and back respectively) while also hitting secondary muscles that stabilize the primaries. Each requires participants to familiarize themselves with the mechanics of lifting a barbell with plates attached to either end. With the bench press, you push the barbell off your chest for as long as possible; with the squat, you squat for as long as possible; and for the deadlift, you lift the barbell off the ground.
Bodybuilding focuses on the aesthetic portion of strength training. This is one of the most common forms of strength training because it allows participants to target all muscle groups, such as the main three in powerlifting with the addition of their arms and shoulders. Bodybuilding gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s with popular figures like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Lee Haney, and Rich Gaspari. All these men, as well as others, allowed spectators to see their oiled-up, muscle-bound figures replicating the same proportions of a Greek statue.
This type of fitness program recently gained popularity across the country. More people are attracted to Cross Fit due to its focus on a high-intensity, fast-paced training style. Cross Fit exhibits explosive training in which participants lift what they can as fast as they can while still maintaining proper form. Additionally, with the inclusion of tire swings and cardio-based movements, Cross Fit has gained a reputation for being a functional form of fitness.
Like powerlifting, Olympic lifting relies on specialized training with specific movements known as Olympic lifts. These consist of the snatch and the clean and jerk. There are different weight classes and requirements for competing in these events, but some people like to train in this way due to the intensity of the lifts. As explosive lifts, the snatch and clean and jerk are very technical and incorporate many muscle groups at once. Unlike conventional weightlifting that targets one or two muscle groups, Olympic weightlifting hits many.
The last routine on this list combines the focus on strength in powerlifting while targeting all muscle groups like bodybuilding. This is an optimal program for those wishing to pack on serious size and strength while maintaining their overall look.