The holiday season is coming to a close and folks are eager to kick start their fitness goals for the new year. Fitness classes are beginning to fill up. If you’re thinking about getting started at the gym, or trying out a new kind of exercise, you’re not alone. The coming new year is the perfect time to venture boldly into the weight room and start strength training.
What is Strength Training?
Strength training is one of the key ingredients to achieving a balanced workout routine. It is much more than building muscle and more efficient that cardio. Strength training helps develop stronger bones, enhances quality of life, manages chronic conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, back pains, and sharpens your thinking skills.
Strength training can be done in the comforts of your own home or at a gym. However, your Bushwick or studio apartment may not have the necessary equipment or facilities to keep you motivated and focused.
Embarking on a strength training routine at a gym can be daunting. Beginners may feel intimidated wandering over to the weight room. But, it’s important to remember, everyone in that room were once a beginner at some point. So don’t feel discouraged or uncomfortable – we’ve all been there. From one #HBFITgirl to the next, here’s our strength training gains guide to help ease you into your strength training routine.
- Always warm up muscles: Never start lifting right away. Rather, warm up your muscles to decrease your chances of injuries. We recommend completing 15 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical. You can also complete three sets of 20-30 reps of jumping jacks, burpees, or side lunges to get your muscle warm and blood pumping.
- Targeted exercises: Ideally, your strength training routine should include 8 to 10 exercises that target major muscle groups. For example,you might want to focus on your back and biceps on Monday, legs and abdominals on Wednesday, and arms and chest on Friday. By focusing on one or two muscle groups at a time, you’ll give each muscle a chance to repair, recover, and grow stronger.
- Prioritize Form: Don’t start strength training routine thinking you’re going to be an olympic lifter. Everyone reacts differently to training routines. What might work out for Khloe Kardashian or Jillian Michaels might not work for you. Regardless of your skill level, it’s important to keep your strength training simple and prioritize form.
Using the heaviest weights in the fancies gym with the best facilities won’t mean anything without the accompanying form to tie them all together. Form is everything. Look into weight lifting exercises or apps. You can also ask a fellow gym buff for some pointers – they are always happy to help out. We recommend starting slow with a lighter weight to ensure that you have the correct form. For example, start with 3 reps of 10 to help build your endurance and strength.
- Increasing Weights: Once you feel comfortable with your routine and form, start incorporating a heavier weight. This will help to intensify your routine as well as help you see better results. If you decide to use a heavier weight, change up your rep range. For example, complete 5 reps of 10 instead of 3 reps of 10. However, it’s important to note that higher intensity routines and lower rep range will challenge your muscles and help you build a leaner body.
- Don’t overdo it: Off days are necessary. Your body needs time to recuperate, rest, and rebuild muscle. Your muscles need a chance to repair and recover from your last workout. To prevent yourself from overtraining, force rest periods in between your reps or change up your intensity level.
If you find that weights aren’t for you and prefer to hit a fitness studio, then check out our fave strength training studio – LIFTED at studio B