As someone who is relatively new to strength training, I thought this article, 7 Strength Training Tips for Beginners from Health.com was pretty good. I know this is my second post inspired by the site, but when you find good information it makes sense to pass it along.
I say I’m, “relatively new” to strength training because I’ve been incorporating weights into my workouts for a while, but never on a consistent enough basis to actually build strength. I may look “toned,” but I’m not all that strong, something I’m hoping to change. I also have some favorite muscle groups I work consistently and others I avoid like the plague. I love to work my abs, but don’t like to work my legs. As a runner, I sometimes feel like sore legs get in the way of my cardio goals. This is an attitude I’m working on changing since both strength training and cardio are key to getting fit and strong.
I’ve summarized the strength training tips from the Health.com article here:
1). Do a cardio warmup: It’s important to get your heart pumping and warm up your muscles.
2). Learn proper technique: This prevents injuries. You can find tutorials of most exercises online. (YouTube is great for that).
3). Know your options: Dumbbells aren’t the only tool for strength training. Kettle bells and resistance bands work too.
4). Figure out the right amount of weight for you: You should feel fatigued by your last set of reps, but not significant discomfort or pain.
5). Work on imbalances: Sometimes one side of your body is stronger than the other
6). Incorporate new exercises and equipment into your routine.
7). Include rest days
These tips are great, but I would also add a few of my own. One thing I’ve noticed is that certain muscles are stronger than others—on me anyway. For example, I can lift heavier weights for shoulder and back exercises, but not for biceps. Don’t get discouraged by this. Each muscle is different and you need to build strength over time.
I’d also suggest strength training that incorporates short bursts of cardio similar to a bootcamp style workout. I like to do these when I’m feeling a little less than motivated to hit the gym because the constant movement wakes me right up and puts me in the zone.
My last tip would be to listen to your body. You know when something doesn’t feel right so don’t push it. There’s a difference between feeling fatigued and being hurt. Don’t try to do too much at once.
Happy strength training!
Don’t forget to add your tips in the comments below.