Strength Training Programs

by Amy Pusey
(last updated April 22, 2009)

It is one of the most common New Year's resolutions made every year. We promise ourselves that we will begin and maintain an exercise program to help us become strong and healthy. And then it happens, we start out so sincere in our intentions and diligent in our efforts, but slowly we digress to our less active lifestyles. Honestly, we know we are only hurting ourselves, but it just seems so hard to carry out our plans. For beginners, especially, starting a strength training program is quite difficult because you are not sure if you are performing the movements correctly, you do not know when you should progress to the next skill level, and it is just so darn exhausting being your own motivator.

If you are serious about beginning a strength training program, then your best bet is to either hire a personal trainer or find a friend already committed to a healthy routine that is willing to train and mentor you. The whole purpose of changing your lifestyle and undertaking a strength building routine is to build a solid foundation on which to successfully build a healthy life, so it makes sense to begin with the basics. The directive of basics training is to develop basic, functional strength, so that subsequent training levels can introduce more strenuous activities. This type of training aims to create balance, so all the major muscle groups are worked, as well as tendons and ligaments, and joints, which will help prevent injury further on in your program. The end-goal is to balance, or equalize, strength on both sides of your body. This is necessary because if you participate in certain sports, such as tennis, soccer, or baseball, you may notice that from repetitive actions one side of your body is stronger and has more muscle tone than the other side.

Core strength training has become a familiar term to many individuals. When beginning a basic strength routine, it is important to focus on your core muscles, which include the abdominals, lower back, hip area, and spinal column because when these muscle groups are weak you are more prone to injury, and placed in further jeopardy of injury as your routine becomes more strenuous and demanding. The best way for a beginner to start a strength training program is to focus on the following:

  • The newbie to training should practice a basics routine for approximately 12 weeks, which helps prepare the body for more intensive training.
  • The goal is to exercise the majority of the muscle groups, so it is beneficial to use a circuit training model, which will consist of: 8-12 types of exercises; each exercise completed in a set amount of time; the total circuit completed two times. This model should be followed 2-3 times per week, and as you progress you can include more demanding exercises in your circuit.
  • Learn the purpose of varying equipment you may use in your routine. This may include resistance bands, dumbbells, medicine balls, or barbells. When you know why and how they are used in your program, you are more likely to perform your exercises correctly and safely.
  • Be sure your program exercises are set up so that muscle groups are not concentrated on in consecutive exercises, but alternated to prevent being overworked. A popular formula for safe training is to focus on total body, then upper body, followed by lower body, and completed with core exercises.

In a last ditch effort to convince you that basic strength training is right up your alley, here are a few key reasons it is beneficial to you to begin one of these programs:

  • Lower risk of coronary disease: helps reduce blood pressure and lower that bad cholesterol
  • Faster metabolic rate: this translates to losing fat and gaining muscle mass
  • Increase bone density: reduces brittleness of bones and the chance of Osteoporosis
  • Improve balance: by maintaining flexibility and balance we reduce the risk of accidents, like falling
  • Age gracefully: feel stronger and more alive, and with strength comes resiliency
  • Feel better: improving the body will improve the mind, and that can mean better self-esteem

Author Bio

Amy Pusey

With over 18 years experience in operations and human-resource management, Amy Pusey uses her skills in her consulting and freelance writing activities. She is a freelance writer for Tips.net, as well as a resume writer for GreenThumbResumes.com. ...

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