When we think of the weights room, we are flooded with images of Schwarzenegger types and protein shakers resting on the side of towering weight racks. This traditional image however is long gone in the fitness industry, with strength training proving a plethora of benefits for men and women of all types.
Whilst cardio and aerobic exercise aims to improve the performance of the lungs and heart, weight training strengthens our other muscles whilst also improving our bone density. As we age, a concern is the loss of muscle mass that makes daily activities like carrying shopping or moving furniture around more difficult. A regular resistance routine however can help us maintain our ability to carry out these tasks in the future and help manage chronic pain.
Where do I begin?
- A novice should be incorporating resistance training into their fitness regime at least 2-3 times a week to gain the maximum benefit of strength training
- Begin with light resistance and focus on good form for each exercise – keep the motion controlled
- Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions for every exercise and ensure you take at least 30 seconds to one-minute break between sets.
- Focus on progressive overload over the course of the program (slight improvements on either the weight or an increase in repetitions)
- Reassess your routine every 6-8 weeks and change up the exercises to see continual improvement
As always, when considering a new fitness routine, it is advised that you to speak to your doctor to ensure you are partaking in resistance training in a safe way. If you are a complete novice it is also a good idea to consult with a qualified personal trainer to demonstrate correct form for the exercises in your training regime or, talk to a member of staff at your gym to set up a gym induction if you are unfamiliar with how to use the machines correctly.