Getting Started with Strength Training

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.

Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors

Regular exercise can benefit people of all ages, and seniors are no exception. People over the age of 65 can continue to lead active lives, and exercise can help them to feel better physically and mentally.

An older adult may wish to invest in some special exercise shoes and then go to the gym to check out a low-impact piece of exercise equipment like a recumbent bike to get started with. Getting on a treadmill is also a good choice, since they have bars that a user can hold onto for balance. The user can start with a very simple walking workout and can vary the speed and angle of the belt if he or she wishes.

Once an older adult has been exercising for a time, he or she can start using exercise machines. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer can help the senior find the best exercise equipment for his or her level of fitness and long-term goals. Not only can the trainer provide instruction on how to use each machine, but the senior will learn how to breathe properly while using the equipment.

When trying to find the best exercise equipment for seniors, it may be best to avoid buying items like treadmills that are folded when not in use. A heavy piece of equipment may be too challenging for an older adult to move easily when he or she wishes to use it. A treadmill that has a quick start program that doesn’t require the user to enter several numbers is a good choice, especially for people who may have trouble seeing.

Cardiovascular exercise for heart health is an important part of staying fit. A workout for seniors should also include some resistance training as well. Exercise bands can be used when starting an exercise routine. They provide low-to-moderate resistance, and if the stretch becomes uncomfortable, it’s easy for the senior to stop the movement.

Free weights can also be added to the list of the best exercise equipment for seniors. A set of weights, ranging up from 2-10 lbs., allow a person to easily switch the level of weight used for a more challenging workout when needed.

When choosing exercise equipment for older adults, keep in mind that you will get what you pay for. A higher-priced item will be better constructed and is less likely to have mechanical defects.

Weight Training for Women: Facts You Need to Know

Cardiovascular exercise for heart health is an important part of getting and staying fit, but women shouldn’t ignore weight training as a way to help them meet their goals of having a strong, healthy body.

Fear of Bulking Up

One of the major reasons women shy away from deciding to work out with free weights or use an exercise machine like a treadmill or a stairclimber is that they are afraid of bulking up. Incorporating weight training into your exercise machine won’t make you look like The Hulk; instead, it helps you to develop lean muscle.

Men build muscle when they use weights due to the higher level of testosterone in their bodies. Women have some of this hormone in their system, but not enough that they will develop muscle in the way that a man does.

Women who are working out with weights should keep the number of sets low. Doing four or five sets per muscle group with seven or eight reps per set will give you a great workout without overstraining.

Concern About Free Weights

Women can definitely use free weights when working out. This option gives a better range of movement than you would get if you were using an exercise machine. If your goal is to work your muscles more efficiently, then incorporate free weights into your routine.

Exercise machines are a safer choice if you have been injured in the past or you are new to working out. The range of movement available with a machine is controlled, and as long as you are using a weight that is challenging without being too heavy, the risk of injury is low.

To get started with free weights, book a session or two with a personal trainer. He or she can suggest some exercises for you to start with, as well as the right level of weights to use.

Stick with It

You can go to the gym, consult with a personal trainer and make a plan for working out with weights. It won’t do you any good if you don’t stick to it. Start slowly, with relatively light weights and make sure you give your body at least one rest day in between strength training sessions. In addition to building strength and conditioning your heart, remember that exercise can lower triglycerides and cholesterol too.

Weight training for women can help you to build lean muscle and improve your appearance. The changes won’t happen overnight, but if you stick to your routine, you will start to see results within the first few weeks. This early success will motivate you to continue with this important part of getting and staying fit.

What Types of Dumbbells are Available?

If you have decided to invest in some free weights to help build muscle to improve fitness, one thing you will need to know is what types of dumbbells are available. You have the option of choosing from adjustable and fixed weight varieties. Materials range from rubber, iron and steel.

Adjustable Dumbbells

The adjustable dumbbell is a good choice when you want to be able to buy one set that you can add weight to as your level of fitness increases. This option features a steel bar measuring one inch in diameter.

Look for one with a crosshatch pattern in the center to give you a better grip when you are lifting or moving it. To add weight to the dumbbell, you would simply slide weight discs onto each end of the bar until you get the desired weight in place. The discs are held in place by clips or collars.

Buying a set of adjustable dumbbells gives you the convenience of buying a single set that can grow with you as you develop strength. The disadvantage of choosing them is that you do run the risk of having the weights slip off the bar if they are not secured properly.

Fixed Weight Dumbbells

This dumbbell style has a set weight attached to it and cannot be adjusted by the user. Less expensive versions may be made from hard plastic that has been filled with concrete, while the top of the line variety is fashioned using rubber-coated cast iron.

The advantage to choosing a fixed-weight dumbbell for your workout is that you can start exercising right away without stopping to adjust the weight. You don’t need to be concerned about the weight slipping or sliding off the rod if it hasn’t been secured properly

The disadvantage to choosing this style is that you if you choose a light weight, you will eventually progress to the point where it doesn’t present a challenge for your anymore. You may not be able to use the heavier weights until you have been working out in this manner for a while, so you need to have an idea of your own abilities before you go shopping.

Rubber, Iron and Steel Dumbbells

If you have young children in your household, rubber dumbbells are a good choice, since they reduce the risk of injury.

Cast iron dumbbells are available in a variety of weight choices and are a good choice for home use. If you want to reduce the risk of scratching, choose a vinyl-coated iron dumbbell.

Steel dumbbells are a very durable choice for people who want to exercise to strengthen the heart and other muscles. They are available in weights ranging from 5-50 lb. weight options so you can keep adding weight to the routine as you continue to build muscle.