Strength Training 101

So my friend at work finally convinced me to do training with her.  As in strength training.  With a trainer. 

via: Google images "Popeye"

And to be honest, after several sessions…I love it!

Some things I was introduced to:

BOSU
Named for the stability trainers that resemble a Swiss ball sliced in half, Bosu helps with balance, coordination, and agility by using either the flat platform or the squishy dome.  You can perform familiar exercises – bicep curls, back extensions, lunges, abs – which challenges you to engage your core muscles to keep you centered and upright.

BODY BAR
The Body Bar is a simple piece of exercise equipment: one piece solid steel, weighted fitness bar encased in easy grip rubber.  Again, you can perform familiar exercises with the Body Bar to give you an added workout – lunges, chest presses, abs.

STRENGTH TRAINING BASICS
How do you know how much weight to use?
  Choose a weight heavy enough that you can do about 12 to 15 repetitions. By the last few, you should feel challenged enough that you wouldn’t be able to do more without sacrificing form.  Your weight limit will be different for every exercise, so try a few reps to see how you feel.  If it seems super-easy, move to a slightly heavier weight.
Do you need a day of rest in between workouts?  You can do cardio, stretching, and core (abdominal) exercises every day.  Other muscles, however, need a day or two to rest and repair in between workouts.  Doing too much too soon may result in injury and hinder your progress.
What’s better: heavy weights and low reps or lighter weights and high reps?  Ideally, you’ll get the best results if you mix it up.  Using heavier weights with fewer reps will improve strength, while doing more reps with lighter weights will improve endurance.  And healthy muscles need both. 
How do you stay lean and toned and not bulk up?  Use weights two to three times a week, and do cardio three to five times a week.  And watch your diet.  You’ll lose fat and become firmer, not bulk up. 

EXERCISES
Part of the reason I decided to go to a trainer, besides the fact that I need someone to PUSH ME, was to learn proper use and form.  I wanted to learn how to engage my muscles while having a lil’ bit of fun.  I love the idea that you can mix ‘n’ match workouts to target specific zones, or do a total body circuit for maximum sweat-fest!  I am actually really loving circuits!  Most of these exercises use basic equipment, such as mats and free weights.  If you attend a gym, or use similar home gym equipment, you could modify your exercises to include your regular equipment.  Take a peek at the workouts I have completed so far:

Looking to start your own strength training?  Check out these blogs for some ideas and major inspiration:

 

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One thought on “Strength Training 101

  1. That’s awesome you’re working with a trainer! When I belonged to a local gym, I had Matt Merz (from college) as my trainer!! He was awesome and I was dead after each workout! I’m so happy for you and am glad to hear you are enjoying it! 🙂 You inspire me in so many ways!

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