Where do I begin?
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Your 'how to' on strength training
I've got something a little different for you this week ladies! I know that for many, weight lifting can be intimidating; not knowing what to do or where to start. So I want to break it down for you! What is it? Strength training is performing every day movement patterns against resistance, to push our muscles beyond their current capability and get stronger. It follows the basic movement principles of: 1. Squat (knee flexion) 2. Hinge (hip flexion) 3. Lunge 4. Push 5. Pull 6. Rotate 7. Carry We perform these movements every day. When we go to pick mess up around the house (hinge), when we sit on the sofa (squat), when we open doors (push), when we turn around to shout at the children/partner/pet (delete as appropriate!). That's rotation at its finest! A well designed full body workout will include most, if not all of these. Two things to remember The two most important factors when it comes to strength training are: 1. Progressive overload: gradually increase the weights you are lifting as you get stronger. Keep pushing your muscles! 2. Frequency: you have to do it enough to benefit from it. I recommend 2-3 times a week as a starting point (approximately 150 minutes). If you nail these, you're winning! Why do it? I'm biased but strength training is the best form of exercise! Well, it is if you want to increase lean muscle and/or reduce body fat and maintain these changes for the LONG TERM! But it's so much more than that. It improves strength, flexibility and mobility, it prevents injuries, it improves bone density. it helps balance hormones, improves cognitive function, reduces anxiety and depression, protects against disease, increases our metabolism, skyrockets our confidence... The list is endless. It's basically the best! But I don't want to get 'bulky'? Ladies! I promise you won't get bulky! It is almost impossible for women to build significant muscle unless you are following a very strict training regimen and diet. We just don't have enough testosterone. But if you want to tone up and feel strong, I think you'll like it! Ok, so what should I do? A full body approach is the best place to start. A workout that focuses on achieving muscular balance throughout the body. This includes: Legs Back Shoulders Chest Arms Core, including glutes and pelvic floor Beginners Workout Here is a great starting routine I'd recommend for beginners. 1. Squat 2. Shoulder press 3. Reverse lunge 4. Single arm row 5. Chest press 6. Bicep curl 7. Bench dip 8. Dead bugs But what about repetitions? No problem, it's very simple! Aim to repeat each exercise 12-15 times. This will help you build lean muscle. Do 2-3 sets of each exercise and rest between rounds for up to 60 seconds. So for example, do 15 squats, 3 times. Simple! What weights do I use? Start with dumbbells and/or kettlebells as these are affordable and versatile! I recommend a small range from light to heavy (e.g. 3kg DBs, 6kg DBs and 8kg DBs is a perfect starter kit!). Each exercise will be a bit 'trial and error' to begin with, but typically I find this rule to be the most straight forward. The set should feel hard towards the end, the last 2-3 reps in particular. You should have to push these final reps out, without compromising your form. That means you're on the right weight for that exercise. If you're sailing through, increase your weights! If you can't get through the set, decrease the weights and try again. And that's honestly all you need to know! Watch my video tomorrow for tips on technique and away you go! So, if you want to fall in love with exercise, have a serious confidence boost and feel strong inside and out, this is definitely for you! If you have any questions on any of the above, please just ask. Or why not come and see me in the studio? I can show you how to do this workout and more, check your form and give you pointers to take home or into the gym to start your journey on the right foot. Let's smash this week ladies, keep our heads up and stay strong! All my love, Emma x