How To Start Your Strength Training Program?

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Start a Lasting Strength Training routine. Find out the initial steps that you must do, some strength training strategies that work and some strength training tips for osteoporosis prevention.

This first part deals with the first stage of a successful strength training routine, goals and a plan for reaching them.

Step I: Setting Goals

All goals, from successful entrepreneur to earning a doctorate starts off as an idea in your head. Writing down your goals on paper is a good step towards making those dreams a reality.

Setting the goal of getting stronger and shaping your body is no different. So, the first step you must take is getting a notebook that you can dedicate to your new workout routine.

Once you have your notebook dedicate the first page to all of your goals, this can be anything from getting in shape for a healthier lifestyle or getting strong enough beat up your brother.

Next, break down your goals by the amount of time you expect it to take to reach them. It’s a really good idea to set short and long term goals.

Reaching short term goals gives you that extra boost you’ll need to sustain a long term fitness routine and reach some of your bigger, longer term goals. Here is a sample list of goals:

Short Term Goals:

1: Bench press 150 lbs.

2: Keep my routine going for at least a month

3: Be able to do 50 push-ups

Long Term Goals:

1: Bench press 200 lbs.

2: Keep my routine going for 3 months

3: Do 100 pushups

4: Look good for prom

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Step II: The Plan

Flip to the next blank page in your fitness journal and write a schedule for working out.

A 3 day a week commitment is great for beginners because excessive strength training can damage the body, particularly if you haven’t been active lately.

If possible, leave a day between every workout session. This allows your body to recuperate from the stress and rigors of strength training.

If you can’t spread out your workout sessions, focus on one muscle group during each session. This will increase the effectiveness of your workouts and also prevent damage being done to your body.

Next, plan your workout routine. A good routine will include stretches to warm up your body. Stretching before workout sessions is also a good way to prevent injuries and remain limber.

Starting off with a few push-ups and crunches is also a great way to gear your body up for a tough weight training routine.

Now, get out your journal and set dates and times for your fitness sessions, be very specific and make sure you have enough to time warm up and cool down.

Decide what muscle groups you’ll be working each day and design a workout routine specifically for yourself.

This will prevent you from competing against Joe Blow next to you who has been regularly working out for the past 5 years and keep you on track to reach your goals.

Step III: Your First Workout

Your first workout ever is not going to be your “normal routine”. Rather, you’re going to use your first session to gauge how in-shape you are.

Start with stretches of course and then perform some of these exercises to determine your physical condition: See how many crunches, sit, pull and chin ups you can do in a minute.

Next, check your max. Max means the maximum weight you can lift during an exercise. You can do this with bench press, leg press, curling, chest press, shoulder press, squats, and almost any other strength training exercise.

Next, you’re going to want to the amount of weight you can rep with every strength training exercise you plan to do.  “Rep” means to perform an exercise frequently without stopping.

Write down all your results in your fitness journal and date it. You’ll use this to track your progress which will also keep you motivated to continue your strength training routine.

Hopefully, this helps you understand the importance of keeping a log of your fitness routine because it can mean the difference between exercising for a week and exercising for life.

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Strength Training Strategies That Actually Work

Over the years there has been a surge of different strength training techniques that have come onto the market and just faded away.

Here we discuss the training strategies to gain the maximum amount of muscle in the shortest time possible that have stood up to the test of time.

Most of these strength-training strategies have been around for years but are not followed by many training systems these days. Let’s look at a few below that actually work.

1. Training Frequency

The two main components of strength training are the intensity of the exercise and the recovery after the exercise.

Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is what is needed to increase functional muscle size in the shortest period of time.

The latest research has repeatedly shown that muscles over-compensate (become stronger) up to a week after the previous workout, provided that the muscles are trained to failure.

Remember it’s not the training volume but the intensity and recuperation that are important when it comes to gains in strength and muscle.

2. Exercises Per Session

Tests under strict gym conditions have revealed that you’ve only got a limited amount of (readily available) energy to use for a weight training session.

Blood tests on individuals have also revealed that blood sugar levels (available energy) drop dramatically after 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity training.

As you only have a short period of time to train before our blood sugar level drops, “Exercise Selection” is crucial.

You have to use Multi-Joint or Compound movements, as this offer the most training stimulus for the available amount of time.

In other words, we can train many muscles simultaneously and thus use our energy more efficiently.

Performing three to four exercises with high intensity during a session are what most people are capable of. All the main structures of the body are worked hard during this time.

Working on these big compound movements has a knock-on effect throughout the whole body; there is no need for specialization techniques or isolation movements.

The fact is, the whole body is worked hard, rest and recuperation is allowed to take place and at the next exercise session you push out a few more reps than before with the same weight, then you have gotten stronger muscle.

3. Number of Sets Per Exercise

After performing one complete set a compound exercise to total failure, it should be just about impossible to generate the same force and intensity for another complete set of the same exercise.

If you’re able to generate the same force and intensity for this second set then it’ll be pretty obvious that not enough effort has been put into the first set.

Thus, you’ll have to raise the intensity level you put out for the first set.

If you give the first set 100% effort and work the exercise hard to total failure. For example, you cannot move the bar after the last rep.

Then, there will be not more requirement for further muscle stimulation on that specific exercise.

If you think that volume training (multiple sets) is more effective then you’re wrong! The latest research shows that single set training is as beneficial as multiple set training.

Training one set will decrease the chances of over-training. It will also allow you to save more energy for other exercises required during the workout.

4. Number of Repetitions Per Set

The development of muscle and strength is interrelated, it always has been. Strength training Sessions produce increases in strength that is equal to increases in functional muscle. You’ll become stronger and you’ll grow muscle.

Cycling intensity through changes in repetitions and weight throughout a ten-week program is an effective way to maintain progression and avoid training plateaus (slumps in strength).

Repetitions can be cycled. The higher repetition range will stimulate the slow twitch muscle fibers and promote endurance.

Moving further down the scale, the lower repetition range will activate the fast twitch muscle fibers and increase strength and muscle size.

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Strength Training Tips for Osteoporosis Prevention

What’s one of the best ways to prevent osteoporosis? According to many experts in the field of bone health, it’s exercise.

More specifically, strength training offers many benefits for men and women at risk of bone loss from osteoporosis.

Strength training, also called resistance training, uses resistance from free weights, resistance bands, and water exercise or weight machines to help build strength in muscles.

It also can help work on the bones to prevent the loss of minerals that weaken them.

In fact, according to sports doctors, strength training can increase your bone strength, reduce your risk of osteoporosis, improve the strength of your connective tissues, which increases joint stability and increase the functional strength of your muscles.

If you already have osteoporosis, say doctors, strength training can still benefit you in many ways, but you should work with your doctor or an experienced physical therapist to design a workout that will benefit your bones without increasing the risk of stress or compression fractures.

If your main intent is to prevent osteoporosis, you should work with heavier weights and more resistance.

A study conducted at the University of Arizona and published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise gives some answers to that.

In that study, scientists recruited 140 post-menopausal women with a history of sedentary lifestyle for a year-long regimen of three time’s weekly workouts.

The women performed eight exercises specifically chosen to work on particular muscle groups. Scientists took bone scans both before and after the study.

The results showed that the chosen exercises had a measurable effect on the bones of the hips, site of the most common fractures in post-menopausal women.

They also found that the greater the amount of total weight lifted over the course of the year, the greater the benefits to the bones.

If you’re just starting a resistance and strength training program, doctors and physical therapists offer the following tips:

Consult your doctor and follow a program designed by a physical therapist which takes your strengths and needs into account.
Work out at a gym or health club under the supervision of professionals who can help monitor and adjust your workout program.
Start slow and build gradually. Strength and resistance training is a slow process.
Never increase weights in resistance training more than 10% at a time because increasing more than that risks injury.
Lift and lower weights slowly. Avoid ‘jerking’ them up to avoid injury.
Perform your resistance workout every third day.
Avoid exercise that puts a lot of strain on your joints and bones, and stay away from the rowing machine. The bending required puts your spine at risk of compression fractures.
If any area is particularly tender or stiff immediately after a workout, apply ice to it for 10-15 minutes to reduce inflammation.

 

Proper exercise, weight control and a healthy diet all contribute to keeping your bones strong and preventing the loss of bone density due to osteoporosis. Do your bones a favor and give them a good workout a couple of times a week.

 

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