A strength training routine should be a part of everyone’s workout regimen. Strength training prevents bone loss as we age, helps to protect joints, and boosts your metabolism so that maintaining a healthy weight is much easier. Plus, muscle tone looks great!
But if you’re new to strength training, you’re probably picturing heavily-muscled fitness buffs, or overly forceful personal trainers who yell at you like an Army recruit. Those stereotypes aren’t entirely accurate to begin with, but strength training really doesn’t have to be a grueling process that leaves you bulked up like the Hulk.
Check out this quick guide to strength training basics, and you’ll see what we mean.
Weight machines. This is probably what you picture, when you think of strength training: That row of intimidating machines at the gym. However, you can set the resistance as low as 20 pounds (and no, no one is looking). They look a little scary from a distance, but approach them and you’ll see that most include detailed diagrams which teach you how to use the machine. Or, you can schedule one session with a personal trainer (who is much nicer than you picture, we promise) and they can teach you how to use each machine.
Body-weight exercises. You can use your own body weight to train your muscles, meaning you don’t need fancy equipment and you don’t need to leave your own living room! In fact, push-ups are one of the best exercises for your upper body. Squats help to tone your butt and legs, calf raises can give you sexy, toned lower legs, and abdominal crunches or planks flatten your midsection.
Free weights. You can also pick up a few free weights at a sporting goods outlet or thrift store. They’re not expensive, you can store them under your couch, and you still don’t have to leave home to get fit! These make a great addition to your push-ups routine, helping you fine-tune your upper body regimen.
Resistance bands. Resistance bands offer even greater flexibility to your strength training routine, allowing you to push and pull on various planes. You can use them on your legs, too.
It doesn’t matter if you choose just one of these strength training types, or try a bit of all of them. The point is to get started, see what you like, and then adjust as time goes one. Pretty soon you will realize the benefits of strength training, as you look and feel stronger and more toned. And before long, you won’t feel intimidated by it, either!
Of course, it’s always best to schedule an appointment with us before beginning a workout routine. We can examine you and make sure your plans are safe for your level of fitness and health.