You have decided to get yourself in shape and do some
strength training. You are excited
at the plans you have for the new you and you are ready to go full-force into an
awesome routine. Wait!!
If you haven’t been exercising, jumping into a heavy workout session will
do nothing but cause pain. If you
try to do too much too soon, you will spend the next few days trying to function
without using any of your muscles.
To avoid this, and the burn out that comes with it, start small.
One of the very nice things about strength training is that
you are able to start with a weight and repetition number with which you are
comfortable. From there you can intensify your routine by increasing reps or by
adding some weight. Many experts
recommend using the first six weeks as a prep period.
This will be a time for teaching yourself the right way to do the
exercises, as well as figuring out the proper starting weight and repetition
number. Remember that if you are not
doing the exercise correctly, you will not get the benefit from into matter what
weight or rep number you are using.
When using free weights or machines, the placement of your hands or feet can
make a big difference in what muscles are being worked.
Strength training involves pushing the muscle to the point
of fatigue, but when you hit the point that you are no longer doing the exercise
correctly you should stop. Failure
to do so stops the benefit you are getting and may also lead to injury.
You will want to give your muscles a day or two to heal before your next
Beginners might want to think of incorporating strength
training that will strengthen your core.
Some good methods to do this are to do exercises using a fitness ball.
Balancing while sitting on the ball and doing leg lifts, for instance,
will give you a workout that will surprise you!
Core strengthening will improve balance and lessen your chance of injury
with other exercises.
When starting a routine, for the first week you will want
to start with no weights or very light weight and work on your form and the
number of repetitions you are able to do.
For each exercise you will want to do from 12 – 16 reps.
Rest for a day or two and then repeat the routine, for 2 workout days in
a week. For week 2, increase the
weight by about 3 pounds or a little more for each exercise so that you can’t do
more than the 12 reps. When 12 reps
become easy, continue to increase by 1 rep until you are at 16.
Then increase the weight and go back to 12 reps.
Continue this cycle, adding one more workout day in week 4, and then
adding another set of reps in week 6.
This is a slow and steady way of easing into a strength
training routine. It is one that any
beginner should be able to stick with and see a benefit.
Don’t expect a large weight loss at this point; your body is just
becoming conditioned. Weight loss
will happen later. What you should
notice is feeling stronger and more energized, and that’s a great feeling!