Resistance Bands for Strength Training

Choosing resistance bands for strength training is a way to add some variety to your fitness routine. If you are looking for a piece of exercise equipment that is budget-friendly and can be used for a number of different types of exercise, then the resistance band may be the right choice for you.

A resistance band is a great choice if you are on the road for business or you are planning a vacation get-away. Unlike barbells or other weight training equipment, they don’t take up a lot of room in your suitcase. Pack them so that you can work out when you get to your hotel.

This type of exercise equipment can be used by people at any fitness level. Whether you are just starting your fitness routine for heart health or you work out regularly and are looking for a way to change up your workouts to avoid getting bored, exercise bands are a great choice.

Advantages of Using Exercise Bands for Fitness

If your budget doesn’t include the cost of buying a treadmill, elliptical trainer or other large piece of fitness equipment, consider exercise bands as an alternative. They are priced within the reach of most consumers, and you should be able to find them for $20 or less. Shopping around will help you find a good quality item at an affordable price.

Fitness newbies can start using resistance bands with some basic moves. People who are more advanced can use them to get a more intense workout than other strength training exercises with dumbbells or barbells can provide.

The bands can be used in a variety of positions, which means the user can work a number of different muscle groups with them. They can be attached to a door for pulldowns or a person can stand on top of the band and pull up on their handles to perform bicep curls.

Disadvantages of Exercise Bands

People are used to working out with dumbbells or barbells are going to get a different experience when they use exercise bands. Using exercise bands to work out with means that the resistance stays constant while the movement is being performed. It’s closer to what the user would experience with an cable machine, as opposed to feeling a pull on the muscle only when you are moving against gravity.

Strength training with free weights or using exercise machines means that the individual always knows how much he or she is lifting. With exercise bands, there is no way to measure how much resistance is being used when performing the movement. They can provide a good workout, even though the exact amount of resistance cannot be measured.

How to Choose a Home Gym

If you are considering buying a home gym, you have a number of options available. To find the one that is going to work well for you, take the time to consider how much space you have available in your home for exercise equipment. Other important factors include the types of exercises you plan to include in your exercise plan and, of course, your budget.

Do you have a designated exercise room in your home or are you looking to put your home gym in a spot in your bedroom or rec room? If you don’t have a room set aside for working out, you will want to make sure that the model you are considering will fit the area that you have set aside for it. You also want to be sure that you have enough clearance so that you can use the machine for extension exercises properly.

For some people, a home gym is very simple: it’s a space to store and lift weights. Other people have different expectations of what a home gym should be, and they are looking for a station which will allow them to perform several exercises.

Home Gym Features

Home gyms can have a number of features. Here are some common ones:

  • Adjustable bench
  • Pull-down bars
  • Press bars
  • Leg curl and extension systems
  • Cable row system

Buying a home gym with these features will give you a good strength training workout. To get a good quality machine offering all of them will likely cost somewhere in the $500-$1,000 range.

Choosing Home Gym Equipment

Before you make a decision about buying home gym equipment, make sure that working out at home is the right choice for you. Being steps away from your exercise machine is convenient, but that may not make it more likely that you will actually use it after the first few weeks.

For any exercise routine for heart health to be effective, it has to be something that you will stick with. Some people find it easier to stick with a weight lifting routine if they go to a gym. It can be easier to stay motivated to exercise when there are other like-minded people sharing the space with you. Before you make the decision to buy home gym equipment, take a good look at yourself and make sure that you are the type of person who doesn’t mind working out alone and who can stay motivated to work towards your fitness goals.

Exercise After Heart Valve Surgery Part of Long-term Health Plan

Recovery after heart valve surgery can take some time, especially if the condition leading to surgery was present for some time. Aerobic exercise can be part of a recovery plan following heart surgery and getting physical offers a number of benefits to the patient.

The person who is up and moving after the procedure will have a lower heart beat, both at rest and when performing physical activities. The heart muscle pumps more efficiently, using less pressure to do so. Exercise also helps to keep blood vessel more elastic, and the patient is less likely to develop “hardening of the arteries.”

A heart valve surgery patient’s doctor will advise him or her about when to start exercising and how intense the workout should be. An individual recovering from heart surgery should discuss his or her specific medical situation with the doctor to develop a personalized exercise plan.

Training Program After Heart Valve Surgery

A good training program to follow after heart valve surgery will involve participating in exercise activities focusing on endurance. This type of workout is beneficial to heart surgery patients because it gets the heart rate up without a significant rise in the participant’s blood pressure.

Examples of endurance exercises include walking, running and cycling. Swimming, x-country skiing and inline skating are also good choices.

Activities to avoid following heart valve surgery include weightlifting or strength training using heavy weights, football, handball and windsurfing. Playing competitive badminton or squash is also considered too intense for people recovering from heart valve surgery.

To get the maximum benefit from this type of activity, the individual should plan to exercise three or four times per week. A session should last 30 minutes or more. If the patient has not been exercising regularly before surgery, he or she should start slowly and work up to this level of activity.

Intensity of Exercise After Heart Valve Surgery

A person recovering from heart valve surgery should take care to ensure that the intensity of his or her workout does not exceed 65 percent of his or her maximum physical performance. At this level, the patient’s body will burn fat as well as carbohydrates for energy while keeping the adrenalin and lactic acid levels low.

Training at a higher level of intensity means that adrenalin levels increase and the blood becomes thicker due to increased concentration of lactic acid. When this occurs, the blood is less able to take in oxygen, and there is no further benefit to working harder.

Before starting any type of exercise program after heart valve surgery, the patient should consult his or her doctor to ask about when to start exercising, how often to do so and which activities are best for his or her personal health situation.

Strength Training for Heart Patients

Mild exercise is usually not considered harmful, and offers a number of health benefits to participants. While you may not necessarily need to see your doctor before you start a mild exercise program, there are times when you should make an appointment with your health care provider before you start working out.

Consult a physician before starting an exercise program if you:

1. Are middle-aged or an older adult who has not been active on a regular basis for some time and you are planning an aggressive exercise routine

2. Have a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes

3. Are taking medication for a heart condition or high blood pressure

4. Have had chest pain within the past 30 days, or

5. Have experienced symptoms of angina (chest pain, tightness, or squeezing after exercising or when under emotional stress).

Strength Training and High-risk Heart Patients

Strength training, when combined with stretching and aerobic exercise, is part of a healthy lifestyle. It is not a good choice for people with any of the following medical conditions:

  • High blood pressure that is not being controlled with medication
  • Leaky heart valves
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • History of heart failure that has not been investigated and treated appropriately

Getting Started with Strength Training for Heart Patients

Once your doctor has given you the all clear to exercise, you will need to think about how to start strength training. If you haven’t been active up to this point, consider sticking to aerobic exercise exclusively for the first couple of weeks.

When you are ready to start strength training, it’s a good idea to get some direction from a personal trainer who has experience working with heart patients. Make sure you get instruction in the proper way to work with the weights and how to breathe correctly while doing so.

Your instructor should explain that you shouldn’t hold your breath while working out and that you should exhale as you lift the weight and take a breath when you are lowering it. Keeping your back straight while exercising is important, as is making controlled movements.

A person who has recently undergone heart surgery can start performing some range of motion exercises before being released from hospital. After four or six weeks, he or she can start an aerobic exercise program. After a couple of weeks of doing the aerobic workout, the patient should check in with his or her doctor check the sternum to evaluate the level of healing and to give the all-clear for strength training. Exercises that involves pulling in this region of the body should be avoided for approximately 90 days after surgery.

Consult with your doctor for guidelines for strength training for individual cases.

Strength Training for Teens

Strength training can be part of a healthy lifestyle for teens. Staying active should include a number of activities, such as cardio exercise like walking, swimming, jogging or cycling.

Including some kind of resistance training in the mix is a good strategy. When you challenge your muscles to work harder than usual, they become stronger. Muscle burns calories at a higher rate than fat does, which means you will continue to burn calories at a higher rate even when you are at rest. As a result, it’s easier to get to and maintain a healthy weight.

Strength training is not the same as powerlifting or bodybuilding. Powerlifting involves building strength to see how much a person can raise at one time, and bodybuilding is about developing very well-defined muscles that are symmetrical and equal in size.

Neither powerlifting or bodybuilding are recommended for teenagers. Both of them have the potential to cause injury to the bones, muscles and joints of a young person, who is still growing.

Benefits of Strength Training for Teens

The benefits of strength training include the following:

  • Increased endurance for fitness activities, as well as other daily activities
  • Improved concentration, which may lead to better grades in school
  • Lower levels of body fat
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Helps to burn more calories, even in between exercise sessions
  • Lower risk of injury to bones, tendons and joints
  • Can help to prevent other medical issues, such as osteoporosis or high cholesterol

Free Weights and Weight Machines

There are a couple of choices available for people who are performing strength training exercises. Free weights, which include dumbbells, kettle bells and barbells, are a popular choice. Using them will help you work a specific group of muscles at once.

Weight machines are another option for strength training. They are used to work on a specific part of the body in isolation. If you go to a gym and look around at the way the weight machines are set up, you will see that they are positioned in a way to make it easy for users to work on a circuit and target each set of muscles in turn.

When starting an exercise program that includes weights, it’s important to start off slowly. The idea is to challenge your muscles, not overwhelm them by trying to get them to lift something that is too heavy.

Starting slowly and being patient is the way to go to achieve success when it comes to getting the most out of strength training for teens.

Teenagers and Weight Lifting – Getting Started

Teens who want to use strength training as a way to stay active and improve fitness should start slowly. Plan for a maximum of three strength training sessions each week, with at least one day off in between to allow your muscles to rest and rebuild.

You can plan to focus on one muscle group during each session if you wish. If you are working out three times per week, devote one day to working on your upper body (chest and shoulders), another one to your lower body (glutes, hamstrings and calves) and the third day you can focus on your back and arms.

How long should you work out? You can start with a 20 or 30 minute session and gradually increase your exercise time to 60 minutes. This includes your warm-up and cool down after lifting the weights.

Warming Up

The first part of your session should be spent on warming up your muscles. You can spend five or 10 minutes on a stationary bike or do some brisk walking on a treadmill to get ready for the next part of the session.

Strength Training Session

If you are new to lifting weights, starting with body weight exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, is a good idea. You may find that your muscles feel tired or a bit sore after you have finished your session, and this is normal.

You want to challenge yourself but if you feel pain while performing an exercise, stop immediately. Feeling dizzy or faint while exercising is not normal, and you should stop the activity and seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms.

Teens who are starting strength training should work with a coach or a personal trainer to make sure they are using the right weight and that they are performing the movements correctly.

Start your strength training with sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise. When you find that completing a set is becoming easier, increase the weight to make it more challenging for you.

Some types of exercises, such as performing a bench press, require a second person acting as a spotter to be completed safely. It would be both unwise and dangerous to attempt to perform them on your own. The person acting as a spotter for you must be someone who you can trust to keep their attention focused on you as you are lifting the weight. It’s a good idea to have a code word so that your spotter will know that you need help, and don’t be afraid to use it if you need to.


Cooling Down after Strength Training

When you have finished the weight lifting part of your workout session, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles. Doing so will help you stay flexible and reduce the risk of injury.

Strength Training Exercise for Beginners

There are numerous benefits of strength training exercise that can be yours if you include this element in your fitness routine. To get the most out of it, you will want to make sure to do the following:

Warm up for 5-10 minutes before you start lifting weights. You can use a treadmill or a stationary bike for this purpose.
If the exercise involves standing or sitting, check your posture before you start. Standing or sitting up straight will help to lower your risk of injury.
Perform the motions in a slow, deliberate manner. Avoid jerking the weight, as this can lead to injury.
Breathe. It can be tempting to hold your breath when you are trying to lift a weight, but it’s important to keep your muscles supplied with oxygen as you are working out.

Strength Training Exercise Options

There are a number of choices available when it comes to strength training exercises. When you are trying to devise a routine, make sure that you are performing ones that work opposite sets of muscles. For example, you want to be sure that you are working your biceps and triceps or the muscles of your inner and outer thighs.

If you don’t balance working on opposite sets of muscles, you run the risk of creating an imbalance in your muscle size and development. You would also be at a higher risk for injury.

The strength training exercise routine you choose should include at least one exercise targeting all your major muscle groups. Be sure you are working the following areas when you work out:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest Back
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Abdominals
  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings

Some people like to start their routine with the large muscles and then move onto the smaller ones. This is a matter of personal preference, since there is no “right” order to perform the exercises. You may want to switch your routine from time to time so that you don’t become bored with it.

Joining a gym and scheduling a few sessions with a personal trainer can help you get on the right track with your strength training workout from the start. You will find out how to use the exercise machines correctly and what level of weights you should be starting with.

Scheduling appointments to work out means that you are less likely to miss a session. Once you have finished your block of sessions, continue to book that time as an appointment with yourself to continue your strength training sessions. That way, you will find it easier to stay motivated and on track to stay active for fitness.

Strength Training Program Basics

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.

Benefits of Strength Training

Heart-healthy exercise and eating well are two pillars to good health. Getting your heart rate up and keeping it there for several minutes will help to strengthen this all-important muscle and make it work more efficiently. Your stamina will increase and you will find it easier to fight viral infections, such as colds or the flu.

Engaging in aerobic exercise also causes your body to release endorphins, which give your mood a boost. Doing so will also help you to live longer, so do make sure that you are walking, running, swimming, cycling or doing a similar activity regularly.

Aerobics are good for your health and fitness, but you also need to add a strength training routine (Pilates is a good example) to your exercise plans to help you build lean muscles and burn body fat. Losing muscle mass is a natural part of the aging process – unless you are performing strength training activities. Omitting this step from your fitness plan means that the amount of body fat you are carrying will increase over time. Carrying it around puts a strain on your heart and is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Other Ways Strength Training Helps You

  • When you add strength training to your fitness routine, you are putting stress on your bones. This is an excellent strategy for strengthening them, since it helps to increase bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
  • If your goal is to keep your weight down, strength training can definitely help you do to so. As your muscle mass increases, your body is able to burn calories in a more efficient manner.
  • Building muscle also helps you to protect your joints, which lowers your risk of injury. It also helps with your ability to balance, which may mean being able to remain independent longer as you age.
  • Your stamina will increase as you continue with your strength training routine. Being able to combat fatigue will make the activities that pack your already-full schedule much less daunting.
  • You may also find it easier to focus if you engage in strength training. The results of some studies have suggested that older adults who do this type of activity have an increased attention span.
  • If you are living with a chronic condition, you may be able to get symptom relief by performing strength training. People with back pain, arthritis and osteoporosis can benefit from doing so. Exercise can be used as part of an overall treatment plan to deal with depression as well.

Before you start a strength training routine, check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to exercise. You will also want to ask about any restrictions that you need to keep in mind when you are doing so.

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.