Strength training for beginners!

2014March08_StrengthTraining_AStrength training exercises are usually associated with bodybuilders, rippling muscles. and spending hours lifting weights in front of the mirror. However, there is more to strength training than building bulk. If you want to build your muscles to make your body stronger then you will benefit from some great tips and exercises to help you get started.

Most people try to avoid strength training because of the wrong notion that this will cause them to bulk up. While it is true that strength training can build muscles, regular strength training will not necessarily give you muscles like those of bodybuilders. In reality, the right kind of regular strength training can create a more defined figure and the better functional fitness for everyday life, without your muscles getting too tired too fast.

Each strength training exercise focuses on a specific muscle group. Beginners can choose one or two exercises for each muscle group, that target your upper and lower body muscles.

  • Biceps and triceps – bicep curl, tricep extension, triceps pushdown

  • Shoulders – lateral raise, front raise, overhead raise, military press

  • Chest – push-up, bench press, chest press machine, chest fly

  • Back – back extension, seated rowing machine, lat pulldown

  • Abs – crunch, pelvic twist, oblique twist

  • Hips, buns, and thighs – lunge, squat, calf raise, deadlift, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, air bike

Before you really get into strength training, keep in mind the following tips to ensure your routine is injury-free and more effective:

  • Start by warming up with 5-10 minutes of cardio or a few light weights. If you lift heavy weights right from the start of your workout your muscles will become sore afterward. It is important to increase your heart rate first by doing light cardio, such as marching in place, jumping jacks, lunges, and leg swings.

  • Practice perfect form. No matter how many squats you do, these won’t be effective if you’re not in perfect form. Moreover, bad form increases your risk of injury and leads to sore muscles after your workout. Take some time to master correct positions and style before starting to lift weights.

  • Start with a few sets and repetitions, then gradually increase as time goes by. A couple of sets of 8-16 repetitions of each exercise per muscle group is a good place to start. You should also only practice a couple of exercises per muscle group so as not to easily exhaust yourself. Once you feel that your body is getting used to your routine, you can increase the frequency of the sets and repetitions, or even increase the weight load.

  • Take recovery periods. Typically, you should only do strength training up to three times a week. If you decide to exercise your upper body one day, let it rest for 48 hours before exercising in this way again. In the meantime, you can exercise another muscle group, such as your core or legs. This will prevent muscle soreness and injury.

  • Be cautious if you have injuries. If you have back or knee problems, then you should not put too much stress on these muscles. You can still lift weights targeting these muscles in order to strengthen them, but limitations should be set so as not to aggravate any pre-existing injury. Consult your doctor or physical therapist if you are planning to start a new exercise regimen.

If you are looking for a gym with a fitness trainer who can give you a beginner’s program of strength training, contact us for more information.

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