Know More About Strength training
Strength or resistance training, which typically employs equipment such as weight machines, free weights, or resistance bands or tubing, protects against bone loss and builds muscle. It also improves your body’s ratio of lean muscle mass to fat. It, too, deserves an important place in your exercise routine.
Technically, strength or resistance training takes place any time your muscles face a stronger-than-usual counterforce, such as pushing against a wall or lifting a dumbbell. Using progressively heavier weights or increasing resistance makes muscles stronger. Aside from toning you, strength training provides the functional strength you need to do everyday activities— lifting groceries, climbing stairs, rising from a chair, rushing for the bus—with ease.
How much should you do?
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) two or more times a week, with at least 48 hours between sessions. One set per session is effective, though two or three sets may be better, according to some research. Repeat each exercise eight to 12 times (reps). Your body needs at least 48 hours for recovery and repair between strength training sessions in order to build more muscle and get stronger.
These tips for safe strength training will help you get the most from your workouts:
Focus on form, not weight. Align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Poor form can prompt injuries. Many experts suggest starting with no weight, or very light weight, when learning a strength training routine. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group. You isolate muscles by holding your body in a specific position while consciously contracting and releasing the targeted muscles.
Tempo, tempo. Tempo helps you stay in control rather than undercut strength gains through momentum. For example, count to four while lifting a dumbbell, hold for two, then count to four while lowering it to the starting position.
Breathe. Blood pressure increases during a work- out, but it rises even more if you hold your breath while performing strength exercises. To avoid steep increases, exhale as you lift, push, or pull; inhale as you release. To make sure that you’re not holding your breath, count your tempo aloud. You can’t hold your breath when you’re talking.
Keep challenging muscles. The right weight differs depending on the exercise. Choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two repetitions (reps) while still allowing you to maintain good form. If you can’t do the minimum number of reps, choose a lighter weight. When it feels too easy, as if you could continue doing reps, challenge your muscles again by adding weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs) or using a stronger resistance band. Alternately, you can add another set of reps to your workout (up to three sets), or work out additional days per week. If you add weight, remember that you should be able to do the minimum number of reps with good form, and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two reps.
Give muscles time off
Strenuous exercise like strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. These tears are good, not bad: muscles grow stronger as the tears knit up. Always allow at least 48 hours between sessions for muscles to recover. So, if you do a strenuous full-body strength workout on Monday, wait until at least Wednesday to repeat it. It is fine to do aerobic exercise on the days between your strength training. If you’re doing a partial-body strength session, however, you might do upper-body exercises on Monday, lower-body exercises on Tuesday, upper-body exercises on Wednesday, lower-body exercises on Thursday, etc., and also do aerobic exercise on as many days as possible.