Arnold Schwarzenegger, move over... the secret is out! Strength Training (weight lifting) is for everyone! It doesn't matter if you’re 8 years old or 108 years old; male or female; human or alien (well, maybe not alien). Your training programs will be different but your results will be the same...a positive, long-term impact on your functional fitness, quality of life, resistance to disease and how gracefully you age.
Can't wait to get started? First, a word of caution. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a medical examination prior to beginning moderate exercise for anyone with signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease or with a known disease. It also recommends an exam prior to vigorous exercise for males over 40 and females over 50.
So, how do you do this Strength Training thing anyway? It's simple. Just follow these ten commandments for a strength endurance program and watch your life change.
The "Ten Commandments" are as follows:
I. Warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes before lifting weights with an aerobic activity such as walking, cycling, or jump rope. The rule of thumb is to break a sweat.
II. Stretch your back, chest, shoulders and legs prior to your workout to reduce the risk of injury.
III. Progress slowly, starting with light weights and single sets of 12 repetitions. Gradually, work your way up to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions with each set being progressively heavier. Never increase your weights by more than 5% and never use a weight you can't lift at least 8 times.
IV. Speed of Movement is of paramount importance. Raise weight on a 2 second count and lower on a 4 second count. Each repetition should be 6 seconds. Fast repetitions are ineffective and have a high injury curve.
V. Breathe out when you are lifting weight and in when lowering. Do not hold your breath.
VI. Cool-down at the end of your workout with a low-intensity aerobic activity for 5 to 10 minutes then stretch to minimize your muscle soreness.
VII. Duration of your workout should be from a minimum of 20 minutes to a maximum of 60 minutes and can be done in two or more smaller increments throughout the day.
VIII. Frequency needs to be a minimum of two times a week and a maximum of three times a week if you are doing a full body workout. Allow 48 hours between workouts for your muscles to recover but not more than 96 hours.
IX. Muscle Soreness unfortunately is part of the game particularly if you've been sedentary. If, your soreness is severe or chronic you are doing too much too soon. You should never experience joint pain, back pain or sharp muscle pain.
X. Invest in Your Health by hiring a physical therapist, exercise physiologist or certified personal trainer to design a strength training program specifically for you and to teach you proper form and technique. It's an education that will last you a lifetime.
So, what are you waiting for? Seize the Day and change the quality of your life!