Always wanted to build muscle or lose the weight but don’t know where to begin? Try strength training. A form of exercise that necessitates the use of weights to create resistance, strength training builds muscular strength, endurance, improved cardiovascular function, enhanced joint function and reduced risk for injuries. By resisting muscular contraction through the use of weights like dumbbells or kettlebells, this form of exercise does not only develop strength, it also increases the size of skeletal muscles and contributes to weight loss.
Bodyweight training is another form of strength training that uses one’s own body as the vehicle for resistance. This runs contrary to popular belief that all strength training exercises require the use of weights. Because of its ability to provide total body workout by engaging in multiple joints, bodyweight training is one of the most commonly recommended forms of strength training for those who can’t or don’t want to lift weights in the gym.
If you’re new to the strength training circuit, here are seven tips to get you started on your program:
1. Begin with bodyweight exercises. Lifting any other form of weight like dumbbells and barbells won’t do you any good if you can’t lift your own bodyweight first. This is the first resistance that you must overcome. Do push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges and crunches. Intensify your bodyweight exercises as you get more used to it. The more intense your exercises, the more muscle you’ll build, the more fat you burn.
2. If you’re beginning to lift weights, start with the lightest in the category. Add weights in increments until your body gets used to it.
3. Follow correct form and technique. Get a fitness trainer or coach to teach you the correct way of holding or handling any form of weights or exercise equipment. This way, you’ll not only be following proper form, you’ll also be exercising safely as well.
4. If you want to develop strength and muscle size, perform sets of one to five repetitions of a particular exercise. If you want to focus on developing strength, do sets of 13 to 20 reps. Meanwhile, if you’re aiming for the right mix of strength, muscles size and endurance, doing sets of 6 to 12 reps is how to go about counting a particular strength training workout.
5. Don’t make the mistake of training only one particular movement. Make sure that any strength training regimen you follow will allow you to perform movements on opposing muscle groups. Focusing only on one could potentially be injurious and damaging.
6. Always give your muscles time to recuperate. Don’t do strength training exercises seven days a week. Do them for no more than 3 days weekly and for about 40 minutes each. If you don’t give your muscles time to rebuild and create new connections, it’s going to waste away due to exercise over use.
7. If you’ve just come back from a long hiatus, do only one set of workouts. Build up your tempo over time.