Intro To Strength Training Exercise
Strength training, or resistance training or lifting weights, is just as important as cardio. Not in order to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but to make sure you are healthy for the long term. These exercises are simple once you know what you’re doing; you don’t need to go to a gym to build muscle. You only need to know how to do it.
Benefits: For long-term health and fitness, building muscle is the best thing you can do for your body. More muscle means an increased metabolism—which means the amount of energy (calories) you burn naturally increases, too. Good muscle tone positively affects all parts of your life: from better posture, to more energy, from more strength, to better balance.
Additionally, once you build a base-level of strength, you can turn strength-building exercises into aerobic workouts by increasing the number of reps you do, to up the impact of your workout. Also, strength-building exercises are easy to perform; while weight lifting typically requires a gym and professional oversight, resistance exercises and body weight exercises can accomplish much the same and require little to no equipment.
Before you start: Before performing any kind of strength-building exercise, make sure you warm up the part of the body that you will be working with a bit of cardio, like jogging, cycling, using a cross trainer, or rowing, and some dynamic, movement-based stretches targeting the body parts being worked out..
During: If you’re lifting weights, it is best to visit a gym to have access to the variety of equipment you need and experts who can advise on proper technique. If you are doing body weight exercises at home, like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, or by using resistance bands or exercise balls, professional assistance is less necessary.
Always try to alternate the muscle groups you work out giving them 48 hours rest between workouts. You can do this by exercising a variety of muscle groups each day (e.g., sit-ups, squats, and push-ups every day) or by focusing on a different muscle groups each day you exercise (e.g., lower body on Mondays; back, shoulders and core on Wednesdays; and chest and arms on Fridays, etc.)
Once you move beyond the beginner stage and have established a base level of strength, you can continue pushing yourself by adding in elements that will strengthen your core as well as the particular muscle group an exercise targets. For example, graduate from doing squats standing on the floor, to doing squats while balancing on a bosu ball or stability pads.
After a workout: It’s beneficial to cool down and stretch after a strength-building session. This helps repair muscles and keeps them from becoming overused. If your session focuses on one particular part of the body, such as your arms and shoulders, your stretches should focus on that part of the body.
Also consider: Strength training – and specifically weight lifting – exercises can easily cause injury when done without proper technique. For this reason, I recommend you start out at reputable gym with a qualified trainer to teach you proper technique. Learning technique from Mike Boyle’s videos on YouTube will also help put you in the right direction. Finally, work out with a friend who can help motivate you and spot you if you’ve exhausted your muscles.