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9 Things You Should Know If You Want to Try Strength Training

Have you been doing YouTube workouts pretty much everyday but haven’t seen any improvement in your strength? Do you want to try out weight training but  don’t know where to start? I happen to be a certified Personal Trainer and Coach, so keep reading to solve your workout questions. 

We tend to associate strength training with 100-pound dumbbells and confusing equipment that seems impossible to figure out… but what if I told you that it’s way easier than you think? Strength training is simply moving your body against any type of resistance. This includes your bodyweight, resistance bands, dumbbells, and even a backpack or dishes!

The beauty of exercise is that there is no “right way” to get your body active. We all come in different shapes and that’s what makes exercise so powerful! We are able to use exercise as a self-care tool. We can shape our workouts to make our bodies feel good. We give ourselves control over our own movement. And we can get strong mentally and physically in the process.

Starting off strength training with these nine steps will get you ready to challenge yourself and get stronger this year! Remember, there is no “right way” to strength train, but these tips are a general guideline for building strength!​

Set your why

First ask yourself: why have you decided to incorporate this type of movement into my routine?

When you begin to incorporate strength training into your life, it can boost your confidence, improve your overall strength, decrease your risk of injury, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, and build up muscle. So whether you want to be able to carry your groceries up three flights of stairs to your apartment or you are hoping to gain more stability in your stride, set a clear intention for why you want to accept this challenge!

Warm up your muscles

Warm-ups exist to prepare your body to do something challenging, both mentally and physically. An effective warm-up will increase your range of motion, reduce risk of injury, and increase blood flow to your muscles. Aim to do a five to 10-minute warm-up before every session that incorporates dynamic stretches and cardio.

Start with your body weight

Before picking up any weights, it’s important to get proper form down using your bodyweight. Weightlifting can be dangerous with improper form. If there’s a move you’re unsure about, ask a trainer or do a quick search on Google, such as: “how to do [insert exercise]” or “[insert exercise] correct form.” Learning proper form prevents injuries and can get you better results!

Know your training options

Strength training doesn’t just involve dumbbells! You can also use resistance bands, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and even household items like canned foods or shampoo bottles!

Schedule your workout

In order to keep yourself accountable, try setting aside two days per week for the first two weeks that you are going to weight lift. You can add this to your calendar, let a family member or friend know your schedule so they can hold you accountable, or set a reminder. It’s important to set aside time during the week that works with your schedule and daily routine.

Keep it simple

Weightlifting is less complicated than you think. I suggest starting out by repeating the same workout on each day you plan to weight lift. This will gradually build up your strength to begin a program with a trainer or start a more challenging group fitness class! This is also a perfect opportunity to practice proper form. 

Know your reps (and your rest time)

Start your weightlifting journey with this workout with me! I recommend repeating the moves one to two times through and 12 to 15 reps (reps refers to how many times you do the movement) per movement. Recommended rest time is between 30 to 60 seconds after each set. Resting is your body’s opportunity to recover and build up muscle, so don’t skip this!

Aim for eight

When picking out your weights, try something that feels heavy enough to give you a challenge but one where you can still perform that 15th rep with the same form as your first. You’ll notice the weight will start to feel heavier towards the end of your sets. Think about your weight on a scale of zero to 10, zero being laying in bed and 10 being the hardest thing you’ve ever physically done. By the end of your set, you should feel an effort level of eight. If you feel an eight halfway through your set, it is a sign you need to drop down in weight.

Recovery is key

Cool down! Be sure you are leaving enough time in your workout to stretch out your body. Your body just went through some physical stress; the least you could do is give it five to 10 minutes of love before heading out.

Your strength training journey is YOUR journey. So have fun, be bold and get strong! Now that you have the tools to start your resistance training journey, find out how to crush your workouts!

Sareena graduated from the University of Oregon in 2020 with a Bachelor's degree in Social Science and minor in Nonprofit Administration. She is a certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor who creates inclusive fitness experiences where every body and mind can feel proud of their accomplishments! She is currently a full-time personal trainer and coach in Southern California! Sareena hopes to empower Her Campus readers with her voice and chronicle the realities that comprise post-grad life.  You can find her on instagram, @seedswithsareena. If you want to try one of her workouts, find Seeds with Sareena on Youtube!
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