Strength training has been shown to improve bone density, increase energy levels, improve metabolism, increase muscle strength and mass, and maintain stronger more resilient bodies. It’s been shown that seniors who strength train have fewer falls that those who don’t. Included in this article is a basic strength training program and journal for you to keep track of your workouts. Remember, strength training isn’t the only component of your workout routine! It should also include a good flexibility and aerobic training program.
Most of the exercises listed on the journal will need to be performed at a workout facility which requires a gym membership. All workout facilities should have someone to show you how to use the equipment and how to perform these exercises recommended. You can “Google” the name of each exercise and get a general idea of how to do each exercise.
The internet is full of videos and explanations on how to do various exercises. As always, check with your health care provider before starting any exercise program. You may have certain physical limitations that do not allow you to do certain exercises. If you have certain limitations that prevent you from doing one of the exercises, we advise that you skip the exercise or work with a qualified trainer to find a replacement. Weight training is fun because there are so many different exercises you can do to work the same muscle group. We encourage you to mix it up a bit and have fun with it.
Proper form is very important in order to get the most out of your work out and to prevent injury. If you are a beginner, for the first 2 weeks of training, you may consider performing only two sets of each exercise. After this beginning phase, go ahead and move up to performing 3 sets of each exercise.
Muscles soreness will be a factor. To reduce muscle soreness, follow the warm-up and flexibility information listed below, drink plenty of clean water and take 6-10 Inflavonoid per day. Remember to drink 1 quart of water per 50lbs of body weight per day (see our July 2008 newsletter on Hydration).
Don’t forget to take a good multiple vitamin (Choosing a Multiple Vitamin)
Warm up and flexibility: If you are only doing weight training on your workout day, a 5-10 minute aerobic warm-up is suggested prior to beginning your weight training workout for the day. One of the most over looked parts of working out is flexibility/stretching. Stretching is VERY important when it comes to injury prevention, balancing muscle groups, improving physical performance, reduction of muscle soreness, and improving posture. It gets the blood pumping! Do a few minutes of total body stretching before every workout. And in between sets, stretch whatever muscle you are working out at the time, stretch it in between every set.
Overtraining occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making physical progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness. Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes. Allow at least 48-72 hours rest for each muscle group. Yes, even your abdominals [stomach muscles] need that amount of rest as well. Your abdominals are muscles too and they need adequate rest to recuperate from the exercises in order to become stronger. For example, if you do an abdominal workout on Monday, you should not do that abdominal workout again until Wednesday or Thursday.
Here’s how to use your journal… For each set, record the amount of weight lifted and then, after the “|”, record the number of repetitions completed. We recommend 8-10 repetitions in each set. Choosing the amount of weight you will use is very important to get the most out of your workout. We recommend that you choose enough weight so that the last 3-4 repetitions are hard to do but not so hard that you lose good form and increase your chance for injury. If you choose a weight that is too light or very easy to do, you will not get the desired effects. Challenge yourself!
Your journal is set up to work a different set of muscle groups on each day that you workout. Take a look at your journal, you’ll do your “Chest, Triceps, Deltoids” workout on Monday, “Legs” workout on Tuesday, and “Biceps, Back and Abs” on Wednesday. Then start all over again for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and take Sunday off. This method is a 6-day strength training plan. Each day’s workout should take you about 20-30 minutes to perform.
The great thing about strength training is that is doesn’t have to be done this way to get results! You can turn this into a 3 day program if you want! For example, you can do the “Chest, Triceps, Deltoids, Legs, Biceps, Back and Abs” all in one day. This workout may take you 60-90 minutes to get through. You can implement this workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and have rest days on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. If you’re doing everything in one day, you will need that recovery time.
We would love to hear about your fitness success! Give us a call at [phone] and tell us how you’re doing.