Strength training is such a fantastic form of exercise that more and more people are becoming interested in it. This is also a very important part of achieving your weight loss goals. Plus, it is a key component of excellent overall health. However, just how do you get started? And just what is strength training?
“Strength training is one of the oldest disciplines. Legend has it Milo of Croton trained for strength in Ancient Greece by carrying a newborn calf on his back daily until it was fully grown.”
Before you reach for the nearest calf, you will be happy to know that things are considerably easier these days. Let’s take a look, therefore, at everything you need to know to get started with strength training. Good luck and enjoy!
How Do You Train?
There are different types of strength training and choosing the right one depends on your goals and the equipment you have available. The first option you could choose is bodyweight training. This requires almost no equipment and you can do it anywhere. The difficulties to be encountered with this type of training are staying motivated and setting the bar higher as you progress.
Then, there is dumbbells training. You will usually be able to find an array of dumbbells in any gym, or you can purchase some yourself. The great thing is that you can build up your resistance as you go along and it is great for beginners as well.
One step up from dumbbells training is barbell training. This really builds some tremendous strength. Plus, you can do certain things like presses, squats and deadlifts and adjust the weight as you see fit. However, you will struggle to do this at home unless you have a lot of space available.
Choosing between the different types of training depends on your own preferences and abilities.
“Choosing the right exercise is a matter of finding an activity that helps people achieve their fitness goals and is safe, sustainable, and enjoyable (or at least tolerable). Exercise should also offer some degree of challenge so that the exercise increases or sustains fitness levels.”
Also, you can mix and match the types of strength training that you do as you see fit. If you have a gym membership, working with barbells one day and dumbbells on another day is a great way to keep things varied. And then you can do bodyweight training when you can’t go to the gym. There are also other options out there, including yoga, rock climbing and parkour to name but a few. However, these are more advanced forms that require instruction and equipment.
How to Pick a Program
If you are completely new to the world of strength training, you need to choose a program that is suitable for beginners. Set the bar too high, and you will set yourself up for disappointment. Additionally, it means you will be less likely to keep going with a program that is too difficult because you will lose your motivation. There are many programs available online that you can download for free, but do make sure they come from reputable sources so that you know you will actually see some results.
Learn the Moves
Next, you need to know how to actually do the moves. Once you know that, you can actually start to build your own program to keep your routine varied. Do make sure that you practice the movements without any actual weight first. This is because you need to get to know which muscles you engage as you are doing the movement before you put too much pressure on them.
Form is crucial to all your moves, or you risk injury. Hence, practice your deadlifts, squats, bench presses, pull ups and more before you actually do them with any weights. Practice them at home if you don’t want to lose face and compare yourself in the mirror to video images, for instance. If you’re still not sure, look around you in the gym or ask a personal trainer for a demonstration. You have to be completely safe with your movements before you push yourself to new limits.
What Equipment Should You Bring?
Firstly, you need to be fully comfortable in your clothes when you do strength training, regardless of what anyone else is wearing. Make sure your shoe is light and non-restrictive and that the sole is non-compressable. You also need to bring a water bottle to make sure you stay hydrated during your workout.
“A 2% drop in body water can cause a small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking. Dehydration can also reduce endurance, decrease strength, cause cramping, and slow muscular response.”
Next, you may want to bring some showering gear and a change of clothes. To keep your mind focused, consider bringing an mp3 player with a good playlist as well. Other than that, you are good to go.