Strength training is one of my favourite ways of training. I love to feel strong! Resistance training is also one of the best ways to improve your health & fitness. That being said, any form of exercise that you will do consistently is the one that I recommend first & foremost!

If you haven’t done any type of strength training before then this will help you get the basics down.

If you haven’t done any type of exercise before or there is anything you are concerned about with your health it is a good idea to have a quick chat with your health professional just to give you the all clear.

What is Strength Training?

Put simply strength training is a form of exercise where you train your muscles using resistance. The resistance may be from weights, bands, machines or body weight.

What are the Benefits of Strength Training?

There are so many benefits to strength training and it could be a whole other blog post. In fact, I have done one about why you need to be strength training as a woman over 40 .. check out the link below.

In the meantime, here are the basic benefits of strength training.

  • Increase in muscle mass, strength, power & endurance
  • Reduce the risk of certain illnesses & disease
  • Improved metabolism
  • Minimise weight gain
  • Reduce the risk of injury & some back & joint pain
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Improved self confidence

I absolutely recommend strength training for everyone .. of every age. However, as we age, strength training becomes even more important in keeping us strong & mobile.

Find out more in this post about why, as a woman, strength training is super important especially when you pass the magical 40 years of age.

How often should you strength train?

OK, this all comes down to you and your goals .. and how much time you are willing to commit to your training.

At the most basic level I recommend that you do some form of strength training once per week. this session should be a focused full body session to ensure that you are working all your muscles. The session doesn’t need to take hours. Using big compound exercises you can do an effective workout in 30 minutes. You won’t be waffling around resting, taking selfies .. you will be resting as needed and getting on with it.

Many of my clients can only commit to training with me once per week and this is how I design their sessions to get maximum benefit for them.

As you become stronger and more experienced you may find that your goals change, you may decide that you really like the way your body feels, or the changes that are happening within your body and would like to increase the number of sessions you do each week.

Anywhere from 3 – 5 sessions each week is completely normal provided that you are incorporating the right training structures & rest days into your program.

Again, this all depends on you, your goals and how much time you can commit to your workouts each week.

What to do

Warm Up     Ideally a minimum of 5 minutes getting your heart rate up and blood circulating. The idea is to warm up your muscles & joints and in particular the ones that you will be working during the workout. I prefer dynamic warm up, mobilisation & activation exercises to make sure the muscles are ready to work!

Start with the basics     Your workout does not need to include super complex exercises. When you are just starting out, a full body workout is a perfect efficient & effective choice.

It’s not necessary to spend hours in the gym or doing a workout when you can cover the majority of your large muscle groups & multiple joints by performing a number of compound exercises.

Challenge yourself     You won’t build muscle & get stronger if you don’t challenge yourself. Work with a weight or level of body weight exercise that is tough but you can complete almost all the reps without compromising technique. Gradually increase the weight you are using or increasing the difficulty of the body weight exercises as you become stronger. Again, great technique is really important to ensure you are using the right muscles & getting the most benefit.

Warm down & stretch     Gently stretch the muscles you have been using. Some people find that this helps with DOMS ( delayed onset muscle soreness ) the next day or so after the workout. I find that it helps to relax the muscles after they have been working.

Some Notes for Beginners

When starting out strength training it can be a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to start with the most complex exercises .. in fact, I strongly recommend that you don’t! I’ve been training for years & I still revert back to the basics regularly & build from there especially when I’ve had a break away from training for whatever reason.

Starting off doing body weight exercises will give you a chance to see how your body reacts to strength training. You can still do a great workout & see tremendous benefit from body weight training!

Have a read through this post here for some more hints & tips to get started weight training.

If you’re keen to check out a full body strength training workout for beginners, find one here. It’s body weight, no equipment and you can do it anywhere, anytime! Really there’s no excuses!

As you progress with strength training there’s so many different ways to become fitter & stronger. There are many different types of training that you can do, and many different ways to vary your training.

As you become stronger you will need to challenge yourself with heavier weights, higher intensity, different rep counts ( the number of times you do the exercise ), different exercises, shorter or longer rest periods so that you keep reaping the benefits of strength training.

You may even decide to split your training so that you exercise different body parts at different times throughout the week. This then becomes a whole other story and so much more complex! But if this is what blows your hair back and you are seeing the benefits then I say go for it my friend!

As I said above, I absolutely recommend doing some form of strength training session at least once per week. No, you don’t need to consult a personal training or be a member of a gym. Once of the great things about strength training is that you can use your own body weight and do a workout anywhere, anytime.

What I will say though, is to make certain that you are completing the exercises correctly to avoid injury and for them to be the most effective.

If you are ever unsure get yourself to a fitness professional and learn correct techniques .. you will get better results .. faster by doing it right.

Do you have any questions about strength training, how it could benefit you or even how I can help you get started or take the next step? Please feel free to email me vicki@ascenthealthandfitness.com.au

Enjoy your training!