Properly Executing Strength Training Exercises Part 2

In this section we will cover how to determine the proper number of sets and repetitions to meet your individual goals. For those who want a better understanding of the program you currently follow, or want to design your own workout schedule, these are important variables that can greatly influence the results you see.

First off, let's be clear on what these two terms mean. A set is defined as an entire strength training exercise reflecting from when you begin the move to when you complete it. Using the simple bench press as an example, the set begins when you take the weight off the rack, continues through all the times you lower and raise the bar, and primarily ends when you place the weight back on the rack. Most workout schedules will have you perform exercises for more than one set.

A repetition takes place within each set. They are the individual efforts that you usually repeat more than once before resting again. Using the bench press, one repetition is completed when you completely lower the bar, and then raise it back to the top. Rarely, if ever, you will complete just one repetition in a set.

Varying the number of sets and repetitions can produce drastically different physical changes over time. If you know what you want to accomplish, then you need to know the right amount of sets and reps to match your needs.

Choosing the number of repetitions

As we mentioned in Part 1, it is important that you know how to choose the right weights, regardless of the number of repetitions you perform. We will not get into that again here, but anything we mention here is dependent on picking weights that are not too heavy or too light. Our goal in this section is to give you guidelines on what you can expect to achieve for each repetition range. Strength training can help you build muscle, get a great cardiovascular workout, and of course, make you stronger.

Very high repetitions, like 15 or more per set, works very well as a cardio workout to help burn calories and strengthen your heart. You will need to take very little rest between sets, and should be careful here not to go too heavy, but for this specific goal a 15+ repetition range is very effective. Do not expect to get significantly stronger or muscular, though. If you are really hardcore and do 50-100 + repetitions on each set, though, you will help to strengthen the tendons and ligaments that hold your joints together.

Choosing a 10-15 repetition range starts to work toward gaining some strength and muscle, but not too much. Personally I think it is a good range for beginner athletes to work with, because the weights will not be overwhelming and they get a lot of practice perfecting their technique. This is also about the range anyone under the age of 15 should use when they are dealing with free weights, although they should not be spending a lot of time with them at that age.

The 6-10 repetition range is a good transition zone for 15-16 year olds, and for those who want a little more strength and / or muscle development than they'd get from the 10+ range. Most athletic-based programs use repetitions in this range, but I would suggest that it is not the best choice. It is a certain safe choice in that you will not go too heavy, but you will see some strength gains. In my opinion, there is a better choice.

I believe that anyone really interested in building strength, power, or muscle mass should be primarily working in the 4-5 repetition zone. If you are over 16, follow the guidelines given in Part 1, and have good technique, training this heavy is as safe as anything else you'll do in a workout program. It allows you to consistently train with heavier weights, which in turn will build your strength and maximize your power potential. And, depending on the number of sets you elect to perform, it can quickly build muscle, as well.

Anything done for 3 repetitions or less works pretty close to your limits, and should be done sparingly. It will build strength and power, but will not do much for gaining muscle unless you do a very high number of sets. Elite power lifters may work in this range fairly regularly, but for 99% of us you can make great progress with the 4-5 rep plan.

No matter which range you feel is best for you, proper technique is always your first priority. And for those choosing weights of 10 repetitions or less, it is always a good idea to have a spotter watching you in case you misjudged what weight you should have used.

Choosing the number of sets

Regardless of the number of repetitions you perform per set, you can choose to do one, two, or any number of sets for a particular exercise. The amount of sets you complete has to do with one critical variable: volume. Volume involves the total amount of weight you lift within a workout. If you multiply the weight used times the number of repetitions per set, and multiply that by the number of sets, it will give you the total volume of weight you lifted.

Why is this so critical? Because the higher your volume, the greater your chance of building muscle. The lower the volume, the less chance you have of adding bulk.

Some athletes need extra mass to perform better for their sport, but others would have been adversely affected. Luckily, this critical factor can easily be controlled.

If you want to gain muscle, do more sets of each exercise. Three to five sets is usually about right, but occasionally you can go even higher. Anything more than 6 sets of a heavy weight exercise (using the 4-5 rep range we recommend) and you may not be able to sustain that volume for long without getting hurt. Tendonitis is the most likely problem you will face.

Unfortunately, there is a definite downside to performing more sets, especially when using heavier weights. The added volume can be incredibly taxing on your body over the long term, and will make it difficult to work on other aspects of your training. I would recommend setting aside a specific time of year to focus almost solely on mass training, if it is even necessary for you, and save other goals for another time.

If you need to get stronger and more powerful, but want to avoid getting bigger or need your energy for other goals, then go with one or two sets per exercise. Two schedules that work well here are to do one set per exercise five days per week, or two sets per exercise three days a week. Both keep the volume relatively low, but the heavy weights will help you adapt to what you need. Keeping the number of sets down will allow you to put more of your energy towards other goals, allowing you to build two or more skills at the same time.

That is our general guide for how to determine the correct number of sets and repetitions you need to meet your goals. This is obviously a more detailed topic than we covered here, but hopefully it is a good starting point for you. In our final article in this series we will cover how to determine the right rest times in between sets, and give you some important reasons why you should always use proper technique in your training.

Thinking Like An Online Entrepreneur – E-Commerce Tips

So much has been written about entrepreneurial thinking that I won’t try to distil it here. However, there are certain behaviours I have noted about how some web owners approach the development and running of their e-commerce websites which deserve a little discussion.

Let me start with the most important, influencing factor to any web owner’s success: belief.

Belief

Starting your online entrepreneurial activity with the right mindset and beliefs is like winning the match before you’ve stepped out onto the court. It’s what separates the really successful businesses from the average ones.

Ask any sportsperson or sports psychologist and they’ll tell you that your beliefs profoundly affect your performance.

What we believe is possible in our online entrepreneurial life is the limiting factor in our success.

Let’s take an example. Lots of people wish they were millionaires, but of those who want to become millionaires, very few actually believe they will be millionaires. Those that do, however, stand a far greater chance of becoming what they believe. Why? Because at a conscious and subconscious level they are doing everything they can to pursue that one objective. Now I’m not suggesting that being a millionaire should be your life’s goal; I’m just using it as an example. The point is that your underlying beliefs in what you are capable of fundamentally affect the actions you take and the choices you make.

All this may seem more like some New Age incantation rather than hard-edged business-speak, but there is good reason I mention it. Owning and running an e-commerce website is not for the faint-hearted. It is complex and demanding and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Be prepared for long hours, headaches and hard work, but also be prepared for more customers, a growing bank account and a sense of achievement. Your belief that you are doing the right thing is what will see you through and keep you on course for success.

Owning an e-commerce website can be a wild ride but how you handle it is totally dictated by your mindset and your beliefs. For example, many e-commerce websites fail because their owners give up – they lose confidence, interest and commitment, especially in the early days of their website’s life. It’s easy to give up if you’re struggling or faced with outright failure. However, those who believe they will succeed don’t see failure as a setback but as a learning experience – they have the right mindset and they will do well because of it.

I’m telling you this because you know that success isn’t a set of purely mechanical step-by-step processes. (If it were, we’d all be millionaires.) Success comes from your mindset: what you believe you can achieve and the expectations you set yourself. This mindset is as important as knowing how to Search Engine optimize your e-commerce website or write compelling sales copy.

How To Choose The Best Digital Marketing Agency For Your Business?

Often do we read news of fraud, scam and reports of some digital marketing agencies that add no value to their clients' businesses. In a world where companies spend millions of dollars every year on digital marketing campaigns, the need to distinct good agencies from bad can not be stressed enough.

Combining various internet marketing tactics with other forms of media and strategies, digital marketing has become one of the most effective methods of lead-generation, branding and procuring bigger customer-base. Broadly speaking, it can be subdivided into internet marketing, mobile marketing and offline marketing.

The importance of having a digital marketing agency for any type of business is obvious. It is the nature of any firm to focus its entire attention to the industry that it is in and subsequently to the primary objectives that form the company. This necessitates delegating other works like digital marketing to external agencies.

For example, a company that manufactures clothes will devote most of its work to manufacturing and selling clothes alone. The business of that company is clothes, not marketing or advertising; And even if it does own marketing campaigns, there's a better chance that a marketing agency, whose sole business is creating marketing campaigns, is going to do the job far better than the company's marketing department.

And in a world where most consumers are now equipped with mobile phones, TV, internet and other electronic media, the need to digitize one's marketing campaigns need not be stated. Because there's a simple truth above all else: digital marketing works. It is cheaper than traditional strategies and visibly more effective.

So how does one find the right digital marketing agency to work with?

Choosing the right agency can be a daunting task especially because there are new companies springing up almost everyday. And because the variety of services offered by these companies is not the same. Let's take a look at the various elements that will help you choose the best digital agency for your business:

Services Offered

The first thing you should always consider when looking for digital marketing agencies to work with is the nature and variety of services they offer. A good agency should offer as many services as possible under one roof. This will save you the trouble of finding another company for a specific service as you can easily delegate all your digital marketing needs to that company.

A full served agency typically offers:

– Web design and development
– Search engine optimization and marketing
– Mobile marketing
– Email marketing
– Social media marketing
– Online advertisement
– Online reputation management

Portfolio And Testimonials

A good digital marketing agency will always have a portfolio that consist of clients with visible levels of success. You can easily access this portfolio from their website. A portfolio page that lists a good number of clientele is more trustworthy than one that shows only a few.

Testimonials are another criterion to help in choosing a digital agency for your business. Good agencies will have feedback and testimonials from previous customers. The more testimonials, the better.

Online Presence And Reputation

It's only natural for a company that deals in digital marketing to have a visible online presence. Does it have a Facebook page and if so, how many Likes does it have on the page? What is its Twitter following like? Social media presence and activity is a good measure of a company's repute.

A quick Google search using the company's name as the search term will reveal a great deal of information about the company, including reviews and feedback on review sites, if any. A search query that returns very little result may not be the best company to have your marketing work delegated to.

Support

Any good company should have excellent support. Try contacting the digital marketing agency that you're currently researching on their website or via their live chat application, if they have one. How long does it take for them to respond? Call them up and talk to them. Find out how knowledgeable their support team is. This is a company that you're going to give a lot of money to, it's important to know before-hand if they are worth investing in and that if you ever run into problems, they are there for you.

Porter’s Five Forces Model And Internet Competition

According to Porter’s Five Forces Model, in my opinion, competition has increased overall as a result of the internet and e-Commerce. The internet and IT has made it possible to both focus on the top and bottom lines and market share is expanded and costs are cut. Many products and services exist just online, major companies have gone online to successfully augment the brick and mortar corporations, and the playing field is all the way to edges of cyberspace, wherever that is. We will further evaluate this stepping through all five forces.

Buyer power is higher when buyers have more choices. Businesses are forced to add value to their products and services to get loyalty. Many loyalty programs include excellent services that customers demand on-line. Customers want to solve their problems and many times they are more successful on-line than on-phone. Also, we see internet savvy businesses springing up offering more valuable goods and services at lower costs. Now with the advent of eBay, many people are assuming roles as drop shippers. Individuals can have a thriving business selling goods of larger companies without having to carry inventory.

Supplier power is higher when buyers have fewer choices from whom to buy. As mentioned earlier, drop shipping has increased the amount of suppliers available. All an individual has to do is form and agreement to sell products for the company. The company takes care of all the logistics. The same is true of associates programs that Amazon.com and Google.com offer. Associates allow a webmaster to earn money by recommending products from others. This increases supplier offerings.

Threat of substitute products or services is high when there are many product alternatives. This is different than having many suppliers. Examples of alternatives are exchanging brand names, substituting credit card capabilities, and looking at better values from cheaper sources. The internet allows this with the “global economy”. I can substitute my product by purchasing from companies overseas where labor, services and products are cheaper, but of comparable quality.

Threat of new entrants is high when it is easy for new competition to enter the market. Well, what have we been talking about? Now, small operations can open shop with less than $10.00 per month and make a lot of money. As inventive as people are, there are always opportunities to do improve a product or service or just create and sell something new. Recently, many new entrants have made even more money authoring Ebooks that tell others how to do what they did. Rivalry among competitors is high when competition is more intense within industries.

On-line book stores and catalog companies are an excellent example. Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com are very competitive. However, there are many also smaller niche affiliate bookstores that when combined take a great deal of market share. They offer even more competition. However, both major bookstores have used IT to create value for their customers. These values include associates programs, ease of payment and shipping and many, many others.

The internet offers avenues of competition to existing companies and opportunities for start ups. Now businesses can enter the market on-line with few barriers to entry. Porter’s Five Forces Model can help demonstrate the attractiveness of starting your on-line business. A business person should use the model to identify competition, make a plan, and implement the process.