Getting Started with Strength Training

by Jodee on January 3, 2011

Strength training benefits for participants are numerous. It can help with losing weight and keeping the numbers on the scale from rising after you get to your target number. Strength training can also help to increase bone density and keep your joints healthy. To gain these benefits, plan to add strength training to your aerobic workout routine.

Strength Training Options

There are a number of strength training options you may wish to consider. If you want to get started quickly and simply, you don’t even need any special equipment to do so. Push-ups, crunches and leg squats are all examples of exercises that will help you build strength while targeting certain muscle groups.

Another option available to people who want to start strength training is to use exercise bands. These are flexible bands that provide resistance when they are stretched and they can be used for a number of exercises. Look for resistance tubing in department and sporting good stores.

Free weights, such as barbells, kettle bells and dumbbells are commonly used for strength training, and for good reason. They are available in a range of weight levels and are easy to store when not in use. Not everyone can or wants to join a gym to work out, and buying some free weights is a reasonable alternative to doing so.

Joining a gym offers the benefit of gaining access to weight machines of various kinds, as well as a selection of free weights. If you aren’t familiar with how to use the equipment or have questions about the weight level you should be using, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for help.

Related: Using an Exercise Ball

Your Strength Training Routine

Before you get started, do schedule an appointment with your doctor. Once he or she has given you the green light to go ahead, plan to start slowly. Your workout routine should include a warm-up phase. Take 5 or 10 minutes to stretch, ride a stationary bike or do some walking.

The weight level you choose should be one that will make your muscle feel tired after 10-12 repetitions. By the time you get to the end of your set, you should find it challenging to hang on long enough to do so.

Resist the urge to rush through the set to get it finished sooner and conserve muscle strength. Lowering the weight should take approximately twice as long as lifting it.

Give your muscles at least a full day to recover in between strength training workout sessions. While feeling a little sore is normal, you shouldn’t be experiencing significant pain or joint swelling. These symptoms indicate you have been overzealous in your workout and that you need to work with a smaller weight.

You can do aerobics to strengthen your heart on a daily basis if you wish, and alternating routines will help you avoid becoming bored with your exercise routine.

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