Your Fitness Guide to the Different Types of Strength Training

Your Fitness Guide to the Different Types of Strength Training

When people hear the phrase strength training, they often visualize bodybuilders, powerlifters, and Herculian figures. However, strength training itself is just as diverse as the individuals participating in the process.

For example, there are countless reasons why people look to strength training to improve their lives. Goals vary from competing in strongman competitions to looking good in wedding dresses. Different types of strength training yield different types of results.

Some styles are designed solely for improving physical health, in a very practical and functional manner. Conversely, some types of training are designed for maximum strength, power, and performance.

The question is, which type of strength training is right for you? Which type of training will help you achieve your fitness goals?

We’re here to provide a little guidance. Keep reading for a guide on the various types of strength training, their principles, and their purposes.

Bodyweight Training

First, let’s look at the simplest form of strength training – bodyweight training. Bodyweight exercises are also referred to as calisthenics and include a wide array of movements.

Bodyweight movements can be completed with or without additional equipment. This makes this style of working out attractive to people exercising at home with a tight budget.

However, bodyweight training isn’t just reserved for people with limited options and financial means. Many workout enthusiasts prefer these types of strength training exercises because of the results they yield.

Types of Bodyweight Exercises

Because you’re using your own body weight as resistance, these movements are ideal for building lean muscle mass and improving agility. Common exercises include:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Pushups
  • Situps
  • Pullups
  • Dips
  • Body rows
  • Scissor kicks
  • And more

To improve strength and explosiveness, you can also perform advanced movements like jump squats and clapping pushups. You can also focus on better muscular strength and control by doing tempo-based movements. For example, counting to five as you lower yourself for each squat or pushup.

Finally, by investing in some basic equipment like pullup bars, dip rings, and straps, you can diversify your workout to add infinite exercises and maximize your results. If you’re working out at home, make sure you install your equipment properly to avoid accidents and injuries.


One of the most popular types of strength training is bodybuilding. This is because bodybuilders have the “ideal” Hollywood physique. The primary goal of bodybuilding is to build rounded muscle while keeping your body fat relatively low.

Most people use bodybuilding to improve wellness and simultaneously build an admirable physique. However, there are those who take it a step further and compete in bodybuilding competitions.

In bodybuilding competitions, competitors are judged based on muscle development, definition, and symmetry. For instance, a competitor who has a perfect upper body but spent no time developing their legs would be judged poorly because of their lack of symmetry.

Types of Bodybuilding Exercises

Bodybuilding follows the basic types of strength training exercises as any strength training program. However, you’ll see a wide variety of equipment, programs, and rep ranges used in the world of bodybuilding. For example, there are barbells, dumbbells, plate-loaded machines, cable machines, kettlebells, resistance bands, and more.

The go-to free weight bodybuilding exercises (those that use barbells and dumbbells) for building muscle include:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench press
  • Shoulder press
  • Bent-over rows
  • Curls
  • Tricep extensions
  • Lateral shoulder raises
  • Shrugs
  • Etc.

There are literally hundreds of exercises bodybuilders use to pursue the perfect physique. Bodybuilding programs also vary in terms of volume (reps and sets).

Some programs have athletes liting to certain tempos (5 seconds down, 2 seconds up) and others focus on burnout sets.

A burnout set might include bench pressing as many reps as possible with a weight. Then, the lifter immediately drops weight and does another max set. This can be repeated several times.

The infinite types of training in bodybuilding can be a little intimidating. If you’re new to working out, we recommend starting with a basic, beginner’s program. It’s also a good idea to work with a personal trainer who has bodybuilding experience.


Powerlifting is another one of the more basic types of strength training. However, do not confuse basic with easy. Powerlifting is an incredibly challenging form of strength training.

What makes powerlifting simple is that it only focuses on three major lifts:

  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Deadlift

These three exercises are considered the most fundamental lifts in all types of strength training. They are compound movements that, together, target the entire body.

The goal of powerlifting, as you’ve probably guessed, is to be as strong as possible in these three lifts. As a powerlifter, every workout routine will center around improving your one-rep max in these areas. A one-rep max is how much you can lift one time.

Protecting Your Physical Health

Powerlifting programs are fantastic for athletes looking to push the bounds of their strength and physical limitations. Training is always conducted with high weight and low reps (except during recovery periods).

As such, powerlifting can prove dangerous. There are many common injuries associated with the different types of strength training and lifting heavy increases your risk.

If you’re interested in powerlifting, be sure to consult with a powerlifting coach or trainer as you get started. They will teach you the proper form for each of the three movements to mitigate your risk of injury.

They’ll also teach you how to train intelligently. This means recognizing potential injuries and knowing when to back off to prevent serious damage or trauma. This also includes proper stretching, warming up, and cooling down techniques.

Olympic Weightlifting

It’s often said that Olympic weightlifting is one of the most technically demanding types of strength training. Anyone who’s done Olympic weightlifting on a professional or amateur level can attest to that statement.

However, Olympic weightlifting, in terms of lifts, is even more basic than powerlifitng. There are only two – the clean and jerk, and the snatch. Yet, these two lifts are the most complex lifts you’ll find in the entire realm of strength training.

The Clean and Jerk

The clean and jerk lift begins with the barbell on the floor. In one movement, the athlete pulls the bar up from the ground (like a deadlift), past their hips, and up onto the front of their shoulders.

Then, from the shoulders, the lifter throws the barbell up over their head while simultaneously changing their stance from a square position to one foot forward, one foot back.

The complex part comes in the technicality of it all. You see, Olympic weightlifters perform this exercise with hundreds of pounds on the bar. The heaviest clean and jerk ever filmed was almost 600 pounds.

This requires an astounding mix of strength, agility, and speed. The lifter is moving the barbell to the ideal position in space while simultaneously moving their body around the bar.

The Snatch

The barbell snatch is the more difficult lift. Once again, the barbell begins on the ground, but the lifter grips the barbell in a much wider hand position. Then, in a single movement, they pull the bar off the floor and up over their head.

The lifter much “catch” the bar with arms fully extended. If they have to press the bar up at all or have any bend in their elbows, the lift is considered a failed attempt.

This means heaving the bar up as high as possible and folding their body down below it into the “receiving” position, which often ends in a low squat. To complete the lift, the athlete must stand up without losing the extended-arm position overhead.


One of the most popular types of training is cross-training. The commercialized version of this is called CrossFit. However, cross-training has been around since the dawn of time because it focuses on all aspects of fitness:

  • Strength
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Explosiveness
  • Mobility

Cross-training is one of the best types of strength training if you’re looking to improve wellness and maximize your physical health. Common workout plans include a mix of weight lifting, calisthenics, and cardio movements.

A typical workout might look something like this:

  • Barbells squats
  • Pullups
  • Pushups
  • 1/4 mile sprint
  • Repeat five times

As you can probably guess, these workouts can get really intense. Fortunately, you can always modify workouts to fit your current level of fitness. However, for any workout plan to be effective, you must consistently challenge yourself.

Self-Defense and Martial Arts

Finally, let’s take a look at the various types of strength training that incorporate practical skills, like self-defense. In most martial arts circles, physical conditioning is taught to be just as important as the skills you learn to defend yourself.

After all, if you’re too out-of-breath to fight, you won’t be able to throw effective punches, elbows, or kicks. Krav Maga is arguably the most realistic and practical form of self-defense. It’s based on real-world fighting scenarios, rather than artistic movements and traditions.

While there are competent martial artists to be found in any field of expertise, Krav Maga is more appropriate for everyday people looking for necessary, gritty self-defense tactics to get them out of trouble. Naturally, most Krav Maga classes implement a heavy level of conditioning and strength training to ensure the success of the student, should they ever face a real threat.

What Types of Strength Training Interest You?

Clearly, if you’re interested in getting stronger and improving your overall well-being, there are a lot of options to choose from. Which types of strength training did you find most appealing?

Remember, there’s nothing that says you have to choose just one. For example, you can do bodybuilding workouts three days a week and bodyweight workouts two days a week. And there’s no reason you can’t also join a self-defense class.

If you’re looking for more health and fitness tips, stick around. Our blog is full of content created to help readers like you live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.

Marisa Lascala

Marisa Lascala is a admin of She is a blogger, writer, managing director, and SEO executive. She loves to express her ideas and thoughts through her writings. She loves to get engaged with the readers who are seeking informative content on various niches over the internet.