Basics For Sensible Strength Training

If you are interested in adding a little muscle tone and increasing your strength and fitness, you should consider adding strength training to your exercise routine. Strength training can be as involved as regularly hitting the elaborate gym equipment or as simple as pumping out some reps on your living room floor. Cardio workouts are great, but they will be even better if you add strength training to your program.

Have you noticed that your muscle tone isn’t exactly what it used to be? That’s because our muscles begin degenerating in our early twenties. Halting and reversing muscle atrophy can be accomplished if you build your muscles up through strength training. An added benefit to more muscle mass is an increase in metabolism, causing your body to burn more calories during periods of inactivity than your previous less muscular body burned. One of the best perks is that your bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments will be stronger and more resistant to injury.

Don’t be so enthusiastic about getting started that you burn out. Every move you make needs to be performed with control. Make sure your muscles are doing the work, not gravity or momentum. Break the movement into three phases: contraction, tension, release. Move to a steady beat, contract for two, tense for two, and release for four beats. Breathe deeply and consistently.

The number of sets and reps you perform during each session is up to you. One strategy is to do reps until you are completely exhausted and can’t do another rep. When you can not do another proper rep, you have reached the point of failure and are finished. If you prefer less weight and more reps, choose a weight that is a bit more comfortable. Perform two or three sets of eight reps each. When your strength has increased to the point of being able to do 12 reps using either method, up the resistance slightly. Always record your results so you know where to start with each exercise during subsequent sessions.

Let your muscles recover between workouts for at least 48 hours. Strength train one day and do cardiovascular work the next. You could also split your workouts into different muscle groups, working group A one day and group B the next, followed by group A again. Be sure each muscle group receives equal attention for a balanced result.

The major lower body muscle groups include the gluteals (glutes), quadriceps (quads), hamstrings, inner and outer thighs and calves. Squats and lunges target most of these muscles simultaneously. Leg presses are also a great exercise that can workout a number of lower body muscles.

On the upper body you will work the biceps, triceps, delts, lats, traps, rhomboids, and pecs. Pull-ups will work nearly all of these muscles.
It is important to strengthen your core as well by focusing on your lower back and abs. Proper form in the other exercises strengthens the lower back, but a trainer could also show you back extension exercises. A variety of abdominal crunches will tighten the abs. Try reverse crunches where you lift your bottom, or twist your body as you crunch to target the obliques.

The specifics don’t matter as much as the fact that you get out there and get fit. Whatever work you put into it, you will get back out of it in the form of a sleeker, stronger body. You will never want to go back.

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