Fit Tip: Basic Strength Training Tips
March 18, 2013 // Category: Fitness Advisor
Strength training is a beneficial form of exercise for everybody no matter your age, gender, or fitness background. And no, it’s never too late and you are never too old to get started.
It’s important to know a few fundamental principles of strength training:
- Resistance: You have to apply an appropriate resistance to build muscle. The amount of resistance should be above what one is accustomed to in everyday life. Add this resistance by using weight machines, free weights, cable machines, various weighted tools or even your own bodyweight.
- Balance: Make sure to work the entire musculoskeletal system, to avoid postural and strength imbalances and injury. Work several muscle groups at once when possible.
- Rest: Rest between sets of exercise for about 60-90 seconds giving your muscles a chance to recover before you attempt the next set. Also, rest 48 hours between bouts of weight training if you are sore.
Other basics to help you be successful:
Use bodyweight. Sometimes your own bodyweight can be the most effective and most challenging training tool. Add bodyweight training exercises to your workout with planks, push-ups, squats or lunges. Equipment like TRX Supsension Training Straps or the Synrgy360 can provide even more ways to make bodyweight training fun and effective.
Make the muscles do the work. It’s important not to use momentum to lift free weights. You will activate more muscle fibers if you lift and lower weights with purpose through your range of motion. If you cannot lift a weight without swinging it, it is too heavy and you should lower the amount of weight you are lifting. As a beginner, select a weight that allows you to go for 15 repetitions. Around repetition 12, you should be feeling a bit of fatigue.
Practice good form. Stand tall with your chest lifted and your arms naturally at your side. Don’t hunch over in the shoulders or hold tension in your neck. Hold your abs tight. The stronger your core, the more effective you will be at lifting weights. Make sure you breathe. Exhale during the hardest part of the exercise to fuel the movement. If you have questions about form, you may consider hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions.
Pay attention to your body. Never work through intense pain and learn to differentiate between pain and muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue is a feeling of your muscles being tired but pain makes you want to say “Ouch!”