If you’re involved in any kind of exercise program right now, that’s great. Way better than average, actually. Whether the goal of your exercise program is fat loss, muscle toning, strength, or just getting in better shape, you’ve got a goal and you’re doing something to accomplish it! An effective exercise program needs at least one or two specific goals to keep you motivated.
But are you doing the right kind of exercise? Strength training is the king of exercise. That’s a bold statement, but the research on exercise programs is clear — you get far more bang for your time and effort with strength training than you do with any other type of exercise.
Why Your Exercise Program Needs Strength Training
Both strength training and cardiovascular exercise (“cardio”) burn calories. Steady-state cardio burns calories during the session, and can often be done more frequently than strength training, due to the relatively low level of intensity. Cardio is better than no exercise at all. Aerobic exercise can increase your endurance levels and improve overall heart function.
But a strength training program gives so many more benefits! A solid strength training program will:
- Tone and strengthen your muscles
- Increase your metabolism
- Improve your posture
- Reduce aches and pains
- Improve bone density
- Increase immunity and health
- Help regulate hormones and sleep
- Increase energy
- Reduce depression and anxiety
- Improve diabetes
The workouts you’ll get from Basics and Beyond’s personal trainers are founded upon the 6 fundamental kinds of strength training moves (see below). With our system, you’ll get the maximum benefits out of a safe, comprehensive, and effective workout in minimal time.
You Don’t Have To Exercise in a Gym
Another great thing about strength training is that you don’t have to work out in a gym. There are plenty of ways to incorporate strength training into your exercise program that involve just your body weight, or a few simple home fitness tools.
Squats and lunges can be done anywhere. You can get on the floor and work on pushups, sit-ups, hamstring bridges, side-lying leg raises and clams, and planks.
If you have some small dumbbells or kettlebells, it’s easy to add weighted overhead presses, rows, biceps, and triceps to your home exercise program.
Rows with exercise tubing are a very easy way to improve your posture and alleviate neck pain — and you can do these easily at home or at work.
Starting a Strength Training Program
A basic beginner’s strength training program will involve 6-8 exercises. Here are some suggested exercises to put into your program:
- Squats, or lunges if you’re good at squats
- Rows with exercise tubing or weights
- Pushups or chest presses with dumbbells
- Hamstring bridges if you’re new to strength training. If you’re more experienced, kettlebell swings or deadlifts.
- Overhead press
- Core strength and stability work (“abs”)
The specific variation you choose and the level of difficulty depends on your abilities and your goals. Here are some general guidelines:
Start with one set of each of the six basic exercise movements above, and pick a weight or a level of difficulty that allows you to perform 15 to 20 repetitions. As your strength and abilities improve, gradually increase both the number of sets and the difficulty of the exercise and work your way up to three or four sets of 8-10 repetitions.
It’s always a good idea to get with a qualified personal trainer for some technique instruction. A good trainer will also be able to select the appropriate difficulty for you, so your workout isn’t too easy or dangerously difficult!
Why do you want to work out?
Staying committed to a workout program is much easier if you stay focused on why it’s important to you. What do you want from it? What changes did you want to see in yourself?
- The desire to get stronger
- I want to look leaner, more toned, ripped
- Have more energy for my kids
- Protect my health for myself and my family
- Feel stronger and more capable for my sport, hobbies, and activities
If you start to lose your motivation, staying focused on your personal Why is a great way to light the fire again!
If you want a few lessons to start your own exercise program, contact Basics and Beyond to discuss options. We’ve got a talented team of friendly personal trainers to help you, and we use lots of different locations. Convenient and affordable!