If you are a cardio class junkie, don’t let the title of this post scare you away yet! In reality, it doesn’t matter if your goal is to:

  • Lose fat
  • Tone up
  • Maintain muscle in a busy season
  • Have a safe, active pregnancy
  • Prioritize your fitness postpartum
  • Get more confident with weights
  • Improve your relationship with your body
  • Truly get consistent with a lifting routine
  • Improve health measures
  • Rebuild your metabolism
  • Get stronger in general
  • Get stronger in a specific lift
  • Improve your running performance
  • Improve your confidence

STRATEGIC STRENGTH TRAINING can help you actually get the results you want. It’s necessary for ANY goal set!

But what does strategic strength training actually MEAN? Pro tip: it usually isn’t happening in a Peloton workout or group fitness class (even if that class is called “Pure Sculpt”!). 

So how can you tell if you are actually doing strategic strength training? Read on for 10 things that you can use as a little checklist for yourself in your fitness routine right now.

I want you to rank yourself as either RED (yikes, not doing this at all), YELLOW (going okay), or GREEN (nailing it!) in each category.


Strategic strength training is necessary for ANY goal set!


1. You are challenging yourself

Have you been using the same weights forever? Are you choosing a load that will leave you struggling by the last 2 reps, but that you can still finish with quality form? Don’t be afraid to push yourself and get to an RPE 8+!

2. You rest between sets

This is called intra-workout recovery, and it exists for a reason: for you to get your muscles BACK TO BASELINE so then you can either maintain or increase load in your next set. If you aren’t resting long enough between sets, your “lift” is actually a cardio session – yes, EVEN IF you are using weights! Hello, Peloton “strength” workouts!

3. You prioritize rest days

And more than only one rest day a week! You MUST give your body adequate time to rest BETWEEN workouts because that is when the repair + recovery process happens, that is when you actually get stronger. Are you skimping on this time? Do you have too much total weekly workout volume? BE HONEST!

4. You follow a balanced program

Meaning, you include all 6 foundational movement patterns, the ones that matter most for your activities of daily living: squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, carry. This will ensure you aren’t neglecting any body parts + help prevent injury.

5. You train your bigger lifts first

Are you putting your focus on your multi-joint, compound movements first and saving your isolation exercises for the end of your workout or incorporating them into different training days? Prioritize what will get you the MOST bang for your buck.

6. You use a variety of set and rep ranges

Are you always lifting with 3 sets of 10? Do you stick to higher reps with lighter weights all the time? Or are you working in all the reps ranges: 3-5, 6-12, 12-15?

7. You limit the number of exercises you do per session

Are you falling into the “more is better” trap by trying to squeeze in as many moves into one workout as possible? I truly think the lifting sweet spot is 5-6 exercises per session, 8 tops.

8. You prioritize progressive overload

Meaning, you aren’t doing random workouts all the time for the sake of variety. If you are still chasing muscle confusion, you are the one confused! Your muscles need REPETITION so they can get stronger over time. You cannot get progressive overload if you don’t repeat a workout. Are you sticking to a structured program for at LEAST 4-6 weeks?

9. You choose exercises that work for the body you’re in RIGHT NOW

Not for your body 10 years ago, not for the body your friend has! Are you forcing overhead presses, but they feel terrible in your shoulders? Do back squats constantly leave you with back pain? Do you struggle to feel your glutes fire up? All examples of trying to force moves that may not be right for YOU.

10. You prioritize strength as the main dish

And you put your cardio in “on the side.” Unless you’re training for an endurance event as your MAIN goal, your lifts should make up the majority of your workouts. What does your spread look like over a typical week?

Whew, that was a lot of info! Take a second to count up how many reds, yellows, and greens you got. Where are your gaps when it comes to strength training? Oftentimes, these can be the missing links in your fitness routine that are keeping you from getting the results you want.

I’d love to help you figure out your next best step – book a free connection call with me and we can chat about where you’re seeing those gaps and your next best action step to get to where you want to be!