Strength training can be hugely beneficial for men and women alike. It helps to build lean muscle— the type better at burning calories, even when the body is at rest—resulting in more effective weight loss and helping you to maintain a healthy weight. Regular strength training also helps to strengthen your joints and bones, which makes you less susceptible to injury and reduces your chances of brittle bones in later life. The strength gained allows you to see benefits in other areas of your workouts, such as cardio and stretches.
In a world of bodybuilders, however, it can be a little intimidating knowing where to get started with strength training. From bulking and cutting options in the world of supplements to a dizzying array of equipment, it can all be confusing. So, where do you start?
Start With Your Bodyweight
Cutting through all the jargon, strength training at the most basic level is simple using resistance to create more work for your muscles. That doesn’t mean a huge, complicated machine and massive weights (though these can come later). Instead, you can create this resistance using minimal equipment—or even your own body.
Bodyweight workouts include squats and push-ups, and these take the weight of your own body for the muscles to work against. Tools such as dumbbells, TRX bands, medicine balls, and kettlebells can also be useful as you gain experience and confidence.
It can be tempting to go all out and overdo it when trying out a new exercise regime, but the experts suggest starting with two days a week for three weeks, before adding a third day. Eventually, you should aim to be working out three to five days a week, but this can be a shock to your body if it is not used to such a rigorous workout.
Similarly, it is a good idea to start with 20-minute sessions and add on time in ten-minute increments until your workout is between 45-60 minutes. Mix this with regular cardio to make sure you are working all across the body.
A warm-up is crucial for maintaining an effective workout and keeping your body safe. Warming-up is essential to get your muscles ready to work and to increase the range of motion. This will help you to move further and deeper in squats and stretches producing better results. In addition, foam rolling is an ideal way to gently wake up the muscles, loosening up any tight muscles and helping coax them into exercise. A thorough warm-up reduces your risk of injury leading to better results and a healthy body long-term.
Give Your Body Fuel
After working out, your body needs time to refuel to replenish its energy. Make sure you drink plenty of water and choose a snack to rebalance your glycogen stores (the primary energy source in the body), and protein, which is vital for building and repairing muscles. By treating your body properly after each workout, you’ll be rewarded in the long term.