General Muscle Strength Guidelines for Healthy Adults

The following strength training guidelines for healthy adults was provided by the American college of sports medicine.

 Appropriate strength exercises:

  • choose a variety of strength exercises using a range of equipment including, dumbbell weights, resistance bands, or exercise machines
  • Include exercises for the major muscle groups


  • Two to three times a week allowing muscle groups to rest for 48-72 hours between resistant training sessions


  • 8-12 repeated exercises (repetitions of each exercises)
  • 2-4 groups (sets) of repeated exercises for each muscle group
  • Rest for 2-3 minutes in between each set to allow for muscle recovery


  • Strength intensity should include muscle fatigue rather than exhaustion.
  • Very light-light intensity is more appropriate for older adults or individuals who are deconditioned (eg. after illness)
  • For individuals using lighter weights, number of repetitions can be gradually increased to 10-20 repeated exercises for each exercise
  • Progressively increase resistance over time for ongoing strengthening