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Strength training isn’t just for Olympic athletes and bulking up—everyone needs a combination of aerobic AND anaerobic training for peak health, regardless of age, gender, lifestyle, or fitness goals.
If you’ve restricted yourself to the treadmill and shrink away from any mention of free weights or the sight of those large, complex machines at the gym, you’re missing out on a huge aspect of fitness.
Performing a variety of anaerobic and aerobic exercises is proven to target all aspects of the body, and the combo benefits us in so many ways. Plus, it decreases the chance of boredom with your workout routine (bonus!).
And while there are endless diet trends and complicated, never-ending workout routines touted by fitness gurus as the newest way to achieve maximum results, there are strength training tips that will never go out of style.
Benefits of Strength Training
Let’s skim over some amazing benefits that strength training offers besides building muscle.
Strength training can:
- Support the skeletal system’s daily functioning by increasing bone mineral density
- Lower risks of injury
- Improve flexibility and mobility
- Decrease the likelihood of osteoporosis
- Increased feelings of wellness and self-esteem
- Help maintain blood sugar levels
If those don’t convince you to add strength training to your workout routine, maybe this fact will: our muscle strength peaks in our 30s and then slowly declines. A lack of muscle maintenance can lead to severely decreased mobility in older age.
And it’s never too late to start—everyone regardless of age can improve their health and physical wellbeing with strength training. That’s why our tips below are not age-restrictive. Please always check in with your medical care provider to ensure it’s safe to start.
Tip #1: Nail Down Your Form
Good strength training is all about technique. If you are lifting free weights or even trying some machines at the gym, check in with an experienced friend or ask a physical trainer at the gym to check your physical form.
It’s not so much about what you lift, as it is how you lift. If you are exercising with the wrong movements, you can risk strain or serious injury, which will do way more harm than not training at all.
Tip #2: Start Light
Don’t overwhelm yourself! People often make the mistake of trying to make drastic changes to their fitness routine on day one, which leads to burnout and injury.
Start with light weights, focus on your form, and exercise with a friend if possible to make it less intimidating. Only up your weights when a physical trainer says to, or if you feel you can do a movement with no effort.
You should “feel the burn”, but not so much that you are hurting yourself. Start slow with a few workouts at a time to learn the difference between challenging and overexerting yourself.
Tip #3: Schedule Regular Workouts
Plan the strength training movements you will do in advance of the actual workout, and schedule out what days you will work out on a calendar.
It will help you feel more prepared for the gym or picking up your weights at home, so you are more likely to follow through and save time while doing it.
Tip #4: Target Different Muscle Groups on Different Days
There are three major muscle groups: upper body, lower body, and core. Some people prefer to do their core workout as the second part of their upper and lower body workouts, while others prefer to break it down further (core on Monday, upper on Wednesday, lower on Friday).
How many times a week you work a muscle group and what days you work out are up to you. However, breaking your workout down into different muscle groups on different days will give you less to do each time you exercise and will be less overwhelming than the thought of having to work out your entire body every time.
Tip #5: Pre and Post Workout Stretch
Stretching is essential to prevent muscle tearing and serious injury. Your mobility and flexibility are as important as your muscle strength, and stretching pre and post-workout will help you with correct form and endurance during strength training.
Make a goal to stretch for 5-10 minutes before and after your workout. Think of it as rest and recovery, and a chance to slow down and breathe. Stretching has just as many mental wellness benefits as it does for your physical wellness.
Tip #6: Take a Multivitamin with Iron and Vitamin B
In general, a quality multivitamin is a good way to cover all your bases, but some minerals and vitamins are especially beneficial for active lifestyles.
Iron and vitamin Bs are all essential to muscle tissue repair, revving up your metabolism, supporting bone health, and transporting oxygen to your muscles, which is necessary for optimal muscle performance.
Try our multivitamin + added iron today to support your body and make the most out of every workout.
Tip #7: Cardio
How often you want to do cardio is up to you, but it should still be a part of your exercise routine. Even 20 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio before or after strength training, or by itself for an entire hour twice a week, can make a world of difference.
Tip #8: Rest
Rest is just as vital to muscle performance as the actual workout. This is because the process of building physical strength is a cycle of tiny muscle tears during exercise and repairs during rest.
To build and tone muscle, you need a break in between sets of strength training movements, and a break in between workouts to maximize results and prevent injury.
You may eventually want to strength train more frequently, but to start, target each muscle group once or twice a week with rest days in between: (Upper + core on Monday, rest on Tuesday, lower + core on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, rest on Friday, upper + lower on Saturday, rest on Sunday).
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