Resistance (strength) training is not just for body builders. It is a safe, cheap and effective exercise for all ages. It improves the strength and tone of your muscles as well as giving many impressive health benefits.
Strength training involves working your muscles against resistance, using:
· Free weights, e.g. dumbells (hand weights)
· Weight machines with adjustable weights
· Theraband (like a big rubber band), or
· Your own body weight e.g. sit-ups, squats
Training can be done at home with minimal equipment. A set of dumbells (even cans of food or house bricks!) and a swiss ball are sufficient.
You can train at any age
with just a set of dumbells
Strength training helps to prevent and better manage many health conditions including:
· Heart disease
It also improves weight control (lean muscle mass metabolises fat more readily), depression, mobility, balance, posture, sleep and wellbeing.
Before you start
Consult your GP before you begin, particularly if you are overweight, over 40, have a medical condition or haven’t exercised for a long time.
As injuries can occur from poor technique, it is a good idea to see a physio, personal trainer, exercise physiologist or sports physician for a personalised program and correct instructions.
A typical workout consists of 8-10 exercises that work the main muscle groups. Do each exercise 8-12 times in a row (8-12 repetitions or reps), and perform 1-3 lots (sets) of each, with a rest between sets.
Start with a light weight. Once that becomes easy, gradually increase the weight.
Train 2-3 times per week, resting your muscles for at least 1 day between workouts. Sessions of 30-60 minutes will usually give results.
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is common and harmless. It passes in the first 2 weeks.