January 24, 2015

Strength Training for your Health

I recently conducted a peer evaluation for a fellow faculty member and the topic of his lesson was Principles of Strength Training. While I was listening and evaluating his teaching specifically, I was reminded of how this content could be transferred easily from the Exercise Professional perspective to the average American. Because let’s be honest, sometimes a little reminder about the importance of strength training is needed.
From his presentation, I will identify FIVE key points which I believe are important for the Average American to know about Strength Training effectively.

1. Strength Training is a Skill. We must practice proper form and technique first to ensure we are participating in safe and appropriate movements. If you don’t know what if you are in the right position, then ask a professional around you. I caution saying, “Ask someone!” because anyone can give you an answer but it doesn’t mean it’s the right answer. But by ensuring we have proper form, then we can forcus on strength and not injury. But it takes repetition to learn a skill in order to become familiar with form and technique.

2. Don’t workout, instead TRAIN. Who cares if you say “workout” or if you say “train.” The question is- Are you moving towards a goal? How are your movements progressing you towards your goal? Or, are you just moving some body parts around with no real goal? Move towards a goal. May it’s jogging a mile in __ minutes… Or bench pressing your body weight… Or to do a pull up without any assistance. Whatever it is, TRAIN towards it.

3. Build Muscle. Muscle allows you to burn calories at rest. Wouldn’t it be nice to burn calories when you are doing nothing at all? When you are sleeping? Well it is possible… With muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.

4. Lift heavier weights. Unless your physician does not give you clearance, the Average American can/should lift heavier weights. Not the little pink weights with a rubber covering. The little one pounders. We can do more. The human body was made to lift more. To lift heavier. If you want to lift little weights for dozens of reps, that’s fine, but you are practically wasting your time. To maximize your time, lift heavier weights for less reps to improve your health. We can give into specifics in another post , but gradually increase your weight as you gain strength.

5. Women need to lift too. Many women avoid the weight room. Maybe they are intimidated, feel unknowledgeable, do not feel confident, they don’t want to “look like a guy”, etc. I understand. I work with many women who experience these feelings. But exposure, knowledge and practice will help you become successful. But let’s be clear- you won’t look like a guy. Just by lifting weights will not mean you will look like a guy. You may see bodybuilders or fitness models looked jacked. The Average American will not look like that… CANNOT look like that with basic lifting. But here’s the deal… Strength training is so important for women. Even young moms are lifting their babies up and down, carrying them everywhere, and after a while it can be tiring. Or if you think of adults in general who start to lose muscle mass in their 30’s, it’s even more important to build muscle and be STRONG.

So be active… Train towards a goal… And seek assistance from a professional to guide you to health (and not injury).

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