When it comes to strength/resistance training, it's important to remember the following components to maximize your results and reap the benefits from the time, work & effort put forth into your workouts.
RESISTANCE: For a muscle to increase strength it must be “loaded” with some type of resistance. It matters little whether the resistance is applied to a muscle via machines, barbells, dumbbells, stretch cords, bricks, or even other human beings. This loading of a muscle is referred to as the “Overload Principle”. This principle states that, for a muscle to increase in strength, it must be stressed or overloaded, with a workout that is beyond its present capacity. Also, the load or resistance must be made progressively more challenging over time for strength to continue increasing.
REPETITIONS: There are 2 key components to the performance of a repetition. First, perform each repetition in a manner that is effective and safe. This means, move through the repetition in a deliberate and controlled fashion, without jerking. Second, each repetition should be performed through the greatest possible range of motion that is orthopedically safe. This ensures flexibility is maintained (perhaps increased) and that the whole muscle is being exercised, not just a portion of it.
RECOVERY: Remember, muscles don’t get stronger during a workout -- muscles get stronger after a workout during the recovery phase. If the demands of a workout are of sufficient magnitude, the recovery process is essential because it allows damaged muscle enough time to repair itself. There are individual variations in recovery. However, 24-48 hours is necessary for a muscle to recover sufficiently from an intense workout.
RECORDS: For strength training to be as productive as possible, it's critical to keep records that are accurate and detailed. Records document a history of what was accomplished. In case of injury, the effectiveness of rehab can be gauged if there is a record of pre-injury strength. Records can also be used to identify plateaus. Your workouts can be made more meaningful by keeping records!
Train hard, train smart & have fun!