Strength training at home is a vital component to your fitness routine. Strength training will help you develop strength and muscle endurance, and best of all, it can be done from your own home. What are some tips to begin strength training at home?
Check with Your Doctor
It's always wise to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, and strength training is no exception. This will ensure that your body is ready for the challenge.
Stock up on Equipment
One perk of strength training is that it requires little equipment to get started. If you are a beginner, you may want to start without weights, but you will quickly build to the level where you will need them to increase your strength. You can buy a variety of hand-held weights (begin in the 3-5 pound range), which are widely available.
As you become comfortable with those, you may want to branch out and purchase more home strength training equipment. Prices for this equipment vary widely, so shop around for the best prices.
Decide on a Routine
With strength training, it can be very helpful to have a personal trainer. Check out ads at local gyms or YMCA branches for possibilities. Even if you use a trainer only for a short time, she can give you excellent tips on strength training exercises and can analyze your form for you. There are also numerous strength training DVDs on the market which can give guidance for your program.
Set a Schedule
As with any exercise regimen, a schedule is vital to effective strength training. Because of its muscle-taxing nature, strength training sessions are usually shorter than those of other types of exercise. Plan on 3 20-minute sessions per week to start you out.
Structure Your Workout
Incorporate the following elements for the most effective strength training workout:
- Warm up: This can involve walking, stretching, and other types of gentle exercise.
- Use variety: Strive to work various muscle groups during a workout - arms, glutes, abs, etc. It is fine to focus on "trouble spots," but aim to work all muscle groups in the course of a week.
- Pump it up: In strength training, it is important to overload a muscle group. This involves pushing a muscle to its limit, and gradually increasing the amount of weight used and the time spent on the workout.
- Cool down: Just as your muscles should be warmed up before beginning a workout, you should bring them down slowly during a cooling off period. You can repeat warm up exercises as a cool down.
When strength training, be careful not to overdo it. Mild muscle soreness and achiness the next morning can tell you that your routine is working, but if it persists more than a day, you've probably tried to do too much too fast. The key to success in strength training is to increase intensity slowly and consistently.
Strength training is a wonderful tool in your exercise toolbox. It increases metabolism, bone density, and resistance to injury. With a careful approach, you will soon be stronger and leaner than ever.