Are you keen to start a strength training program but find it difficult lifting your weekly shopping bags? Follow my guide and you will feel capable of challenging Arnie in no time!
Start with body weight – body weight training is often underrated. However, if you have never done any type of strength training in the past, it is vital you start this way. Jumping in and grabbing a pair of heavy dumbbells or kettlebell is a one-way street to injury. Start by mastering correct execution and good technique of exercises using your bodyweight before you even think about introducing any load.
Find a routine you can see yourself enjoying and sticking to. The beauty of bodyweight is that you can do it anywhere. It is best to have a sequence written by a professional trainer who is aware of your goals. Otherwise, you can find many basic strength training routines available online or in a good health and fitness mag.
Strength training should be functional (unless your goal is specifically to compete in a body building competition or you want to look like He-man). This means movement should be linked back to how the resulting strength will enhance your everyday life i.e. a squat pattern will assist in picking things up from the floor.
Keep technique and posture at the forefront of your mind throughout. Strength training can lead to injury and be detrimental to your posture if performed incorrectly. Make sure you are keeping your core engaged and maintain focus on the muscles you are using to complete the exercise.
Start with basic moves and simple rep patterns. i.e alternate reps of:
- 8-10 Push-ups with 8-10 squats x 3
- 8-10 Bent over row with 8-10 deadlifts x 3
- 8-10 Alternating reverse lunge with 3 x max plank hold
Progressively add load to these exercises as you go, starting with a couple of light dumbbells or even water bottles.
Remember – Muscle soreness is good; it means you are creating the tiny muscle fibre tears that are required to build muscle. However, if you are unable to get out of bed or you feel the pain is not muscular you have probably gone too hard. Listen to your body and check in with how you feel when performing day-to-day tasks. If you are struggling to walk up the stairs or can’t bend down, take a rest day and pull back on intensity. If you think it may be something more serious visit your GP or Physio.
It is always best to have guidance and instruction from a qualified PT when completing any training program.