Introduction into Strength Training

Strength (or resistance) training is, in short, the process of improving our muscles ability to contract and move under load.

Typically, a very suitable reference about squats or a deadlift would fit right in here and would easily demonstrate the principles and benefits of strength and resistance training.

So lets start with standing up from a chair instead, we have to tense muscles in our legs and apply a force to stand, as we age this becomes a little more difficult, depending on our training regime. This is where strength and resistance training enters the chat.

If we were to conduct a sit to stand in the gym, with a small load (plate, kettlebell, dumbbell etc) we can increase the tension the muscles are under meaning they are working harder.

The harder they work the easier the corresponding body weight movement would be due to the increase in size and ability of the muscles.

So many times, conversations are had about ‘strength training’ being for the young peeps and that staying healthy is ‘all I’m really looking for’ after I let a small tear roll down my cheek, the conversation normally goes into different area’s of the day, things like:

  • Getting out of bed
  • Up and down stairs
  • In and out of the car
  • Activities undertaken for their job
  • Hobbies and interests

Normally within these there are parts that could be made easier, and often that could be achieved by improving strength in one or more areas.

Circling back, getting out of bed requires many muscles to work in order, your core, lower back and finally a sit to stand from the edge of the bed. These all require the muscles to be functioning in the best possible way for the movement to be as easy and efficient as possible.

Luckily the landscape of fitness is changing, now more than ever we realise how important strength/resistance training is to our overall wellbeing, ability to carry out daily activities and helping our overall body composition.

To begin with, we should look to introduce exercises that use a variety of muscles, use a lighter weight and concentrate on the correct technique.

Whilst there are many ways to structuring resistance workouts, generally we should:

  1. Ensure we warm up
  2. Use appropriate weights – start lighter
  3. Begin with 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
  4. Workout for around 45 minutes – less if we are just starting out
  5. Have adequate rest between sets – 45 seconds to a minute
  6. Stretch when we complete our workout
  7. Have a rest day between workouts to ensure we allow our muscles to recover

When considering increasing the weight or volume of training, it doesn’t need to be all at once, for example we could increase the number of sets or the weight. We could also only increase the weight of one of the sets to keep our technique looking good.

For help with your resistance training, either starting out or a refresh to your current program, speak to a member of Team SF –