Weight Training by Kev Toonen

Weight Training by Kev Toonen

Updated: Mar 26, 2024Veronika Larisova

Kev Toonen, a Chief ambassador and a prominent figure in the sports world, boasts a decade of experience in elevating athletic performance across diverse disciplines. Recognised for his prowess in strength and conditioning, Kev has played a pivotal role in propelling athletes to the peak of their capabilities. His journey in professional sports has left a lasting mark, working with elite athletes in Rugby Union and Track and Field. Notably, Kev has served as the Head of Strength for Australia's elite NRL clubs, the Sydney Roosters and, currently, the Cronulla Sharks.


The Benefits of Weight Training

Weight (resistance) training, often overshadowed by cardio, is a vital component of any training plan. Its benefits extend beyond increasing muscle mass/strength, encompassing a range of physiological, psychological, and functional advantages that are crucial for your overall health. 

One of the biggest benefits is the impact on musculoskeletal health. Regular strength training not only increases muscle mass and strength but also enhances bone density. This is particularly crucial in mitigating the risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, strength training has been shown to improve the body's metabolism. By increasing lean muscle mass, the body's resting metabolic rate (RMR) is elevated, meaning more calories are burned at rest, aiding in weight management and reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases. 

Strength training also offers significant cardiometabolic benefits. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in improving cardiovascular health, with a noted decrease in resting blood pressure and improved lipid profiles. Additionally, strength training enhances insulin sensitivity, playing a role in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. The muscle contractions during resistance exercises aid in glucose uptake, thereby regulating blood sugar levels more effectively.

Strength training's role in injury prevention and rehabilitation cannot be overstated either. By strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, we become better able to withstand the repetitive stress of endurance activities. Moreover, it can correct muscle imbalances and improve joint stability, further reducing the risk of common injuries like a runner's knee or cyclist's back. In cases where injuries have occurred, strength training is often an integral part of the rehabilitation process, aiding in quicker and more effective recovery.

Functionally, strength training enhances everyday performance. It improves balance, coordination, and posture. The increased strength and endurance also translate to better performance in daily activities and other sports. Guaranteed to contribute to a higher quality of life.

While cardio-type training is essential for developing endurance, heart and lung health, and aiding in weight management, it is limited in its ability to develop strength, power, and muscle mass. Exclusive focus on cardio can lead to muscle imbalances, increased injury risk, and plateauing in performance improvements. Cardio-only athletes often lack the strength and stability that are crucial for peak performance and injury prevention.

Psychologically, engaging in strength training has been linked to improvements in mental health. It is known to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhance cognitive function, and boost self-esteem. The act of strength training can instigate a sense of achievement and confidence as individuals witness tangible improvements in their strength and physical capabilities.

Strength training offers a wide range of benefits that extend far beyond muscle growth and aesthetics. Its role in promoting musculoskeletal health, improving metabolic functions, enhancing cardiometabolic health, and providing functional and psychological benefits make it the best use of time and “bang for your buck”.

You can train with Kev at his gym, Club Sota,  get an individualised training program or join one of his online programs.



Chief resistance training guide:


Resistance training can be tailored to achieve various fitness goals, including strength, hypertrophy (muscle growth), power, and endurance. The specific prescription will vary depending on your current fitness level, goals, and personal preferences. Here are general guidelines for each of these goals:


Strength Training

Goal: To increase maximal strength.


    • Repetition Range: 1-6 repetitions per set.
    • Sets: 3-6 sets per exercise.
    • Intensity: Lift heavy weights, typically 75-90% of your one-repetition maximum (1RM).
    • Rest: Longer rest periods (2-5 minutes) between sets to allow for full recovery.
    • Exercises: Focus on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press.


Hypertrophy Training

Goal: To increase lean muscle mass


    • Repetition Range: 6-12 repetitions per set.
    • Sets: 3-5 sets per exercise.
    • Intensity: Moderate to heavy weights, usually 65-75% of your 1RM.
    • Rest: Moderate rest periods (30 seconds to 1.5 minutes) between sets.
    • Exercises: Incorporate both compound and isolation exercises, targeting specific muscle groups.


Power Training

Goal: To improve explosiveness and power output.


    • Repetition Range: 1-5 repetitions per set.
    • Sets: 3-5 sets per exercise.
    • Intensity: Moderate to heavy weights (50-75% of 1RM) with explosive movements.
    • Rest: Short rest periods (1-2 minutes) between sets.
    • Exercises: Focus on Olympic lifts (e.g., clean and jerk, snatch), plyometrics, and explosive variations of traditional lifts.


Endurance Training

Goal: To enhance muscular endurance.


    • Repetition Range: 15+ repetitions per set.
    • Sets: 2-4 sets per exercise.
    • Intensity: Light to moderate weights (less than 65% of 1RM).
    • Rest: Short rest periods (30 seconds to 1 minute) between sets.
    • Exercises: Utilise compound and isolation exercises to target endurance, emphasising higher repetitions and shorter rest intervals.


It's important to note that these guidelines can be adjusted to fit your individual needs and preferences. Additionally, a well-rounded fitness program may incorporate elements from multiple training goals to ensure balanced development and prevent plateaus. Always prioritise proper form and safety when performing resistance exercises, and consider consulting a certified fitness professional for personalised guidance and program design.


If you don’t know where to start, try one of our Chief Workouts.


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