5 tips for strength training
Looking to add strength training to your exercise routine? Consider these tips for doing it right:
- If you do strengthening exercises with a particular muscle group, give those muscles at least one day rest before doing it again. You may want to develop a plan for working specific muscle groups on given days. For example, on Mondays and Thursdays you work your chest, shoulders, quadriceps and triceps. Those are all muscles that push. On Tuesdays and Fridays you can work your back, hamstrings and biceps — muscles that pull.
- Start with a weight that’s appropriate by selecting a weight that you feel you can lift comfortably 15 to 20 times. Then start with half the number of repetitions you think you can do. It’s important not to do too much at first, as this can cause pain and exhaust your muscles.
- Do each exercise slowly, deliberately and smoothly. Count “one, two, up” when lifting the weight and “one, two, down” when lowering.
- A physical therapist or fitness instructor who regularly works with older adults can be a good resource for ensuring that you use proper technique to avoid injury. They can also help you design a strengthening program that targets all your main body areas, including legs, arms, chest, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles.
- You don’t need to spend a bundle to do strengthening exercises. Exercise bands or tubes, simple hand weights from a discount retailer, your own body weight or even a soup can or sand or water-filled bottle can be used to build strength.
There's a ton more on strength training, staying fit, active and independent at the Healthy Living group.