Whether you’re a fitness rookie or a cardio lover, the thought of strength training might be a little daunting. That’s especially true if you’re surrounded by muscular pros in the weight room!
Fortunately, a lot of local gyms are friendly places where the regulars will be happy to answer your questions. But it’s understandable that you may want to do a little research before diving into a new workout. Below, we’ve answered five FAQs about strength training.
1. What are the benefits of strength training?
While building muscle and getting stronger are two obvious benefits, strength training has many more advantages, such as:
- Strengthening bones
- Protecting against diseases
- Boosting metabolism
- Regulating insulin
- Lowing inflammation
- Improving posture and sleep
- Boosting mood and energy levels
- Improving balance
- Helping you meet new people at the gym
- Improving self-confidence!
2. What are some examples of strength-training exercises?
There are various ways you can add strength training to your workout routine. Some gym-goers love to lift weights, while others prefer stretching with resistance bands. Other types of strength exercises include:
- Climbing hills or stairs
- Sit-ups and squats (with or without weights)
- Yoga and pilates
- Heavy gardening (digging or shoveling)
3. What should my routine look like?
No matter what strength-training activities you choose, aim for a full-body workout to do 2-3 times per week. This routine should include at least one exercise for each of the following:
- Quads (front of your legs)
- Butt and hamstrings (back of your legs)
- Chest, shoulders, and triceps (“push” muscles)
- Back, biceps, and grip (“pull” muscles”)
- Core (abs and lower back)
The best strength-training workout for you depends on your age, weight, fitness level, and wellness goals. But more than that, you want to find a routine you actually enjoy! Consider working out with your partner, or make friends in the weight room whom you can’t wait to see every day.
4. Should I get a personal trainer?
You can work your muscles with a personal trainer’s assistance, or you can lift weights independently. It really just depends on what you prefer and how comfortable you feel with your strength training program.
If you’re just getting started in the weight room, a personal trainer can help you develop a customized fitness plan. He or she can work around your schedule and needs while guiding you toward your strength training goals.
5. How long will it take to see results?
A new strength-training routine is hard enough. You may also feel discouraged if you don’t see your muscles growing, even after weeks of dedicated exercise. But it’s completely normal not to notice more definition until six weeks or more. The good news: You’ll realize you’re getting stronger before you see bigger muscles!
Still not getting results? Stick to your overall fitness plan, but try these changes:
- Eating more protein
- Using heavier weights for fewer reps
- Starting with weights, then cardio
- Targeting multiple muscle groups at a time
It can be frustrating when it feels like you’ve hit a plateau or can’t find a workout you love. But adding weights to your exercise plan can help you set new goals or achieve even more. If you still have questions about strength training, a staff member at your local gym can help.
The Lafayette Family YMCA is a community dedicated to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.