Strength Training Program Basics

by Jodee on January 7, 2011

Heart-healthy exercise is important for getting and staying fit. The other part of the equation is to add strength training to your routine. These elements work together to help you build lean muscle and burn fat.

Other Benefits of Strength Training

  • A strength training program will give your metabolism a boost and can help you lose weight. Pound for pound, muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you are at rest.
  • Lifting weights helps you to build stronger bones. This is an important benefit for women, who are at risk of developing osteoporosis as they age.
  • Increased muscle strength. Your body is meant to move, and performing exercises that challenge them help you get stronger.
  • Improved coordination and balance is another one of the benefits of strength training. A strength training program will also help you to feel more confident and will give your self-esteem a boost.

Your Strength Training Routine

Your strength training routine must challenge your muscles by making them work harder than they are used to. The weight level that you are working with should be high enough that you can finish the number of reps in your set but you should be feeling tired by the time you get to the end.

If the weight you are using is too light, your muscles are not being challenged when you work out. You will know you are at the right level if you find continuing the repetitions challenging once you get past the halfway mark and the last two or three are difficult.

Resist the urge to rush through the workout to get the reps in. Ideally, you should be spending twice as long lowering the weight as you did to raise it. This strategy will give a better, more effective strength training workout.

Rather than hit a plateau in your training routine, plan to increase the intensity on a regular basis. To do so, start working with a heavier weight once you start finding that your current level is getting easier. You can also do more sets or increase the number of reps in your set.

Rest is Important

While it may be tempting to plan to hit the gym every day to do strength training, this is not a good idea. Your muscles need time to recover and grow, so plan to give them at least 24 hours of rest in between sessions.

During this time, you can do a cardio workout for heart health to stay active. Combining different activities means you are less likely to get bored with your strength training routine – and much more likely to stick to it if you have made a New Year’s Resolution to improve your appearance and your level of fitness.

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