So you look at your fellow fitness club members who pump serious iron and think that it’s a fine workout regimen for them, but it really isn’t for you. Well, think again! Almost everyone can incorporate some type of weight training into his or her fitness program. Weight training provides many benefits, including increased muscle mass (which decreases with age), joint flexibility, increased bone density and better management of your body weight.
No less of an authority than the Mayo Clinic recommends weight training, which, according to its article on MayoClinic.com, “… challenges your muscles by providing a stress to the muscle that causes it to adapt and get stronger, similar to the way aerobic conditioning strengthens your heart.”
There are many options to weight training. You can use free weights – such as barbells, dumbbells or kettle bells – or weight machines. Short training sessions of 20 or 30 minutes performed two or three times a week are more practical and just as effective as extended daily workouts in producing a significant improvement in strength.
Use caution when starting a weight training program, as improper technique or starting with weights that are too heavy can cause injury. Future Fitness members have access to the fitness industry’s best, most experienced instructors, so be sure to get their advice in planning your program. Or check out one of our weight training classes. You’ll find one that offers the right training program for your fitness level and fitness goals!
Here’s some advice from the Mayo Clinic for beginners in weight training:
- Learn proper technique – even experienced athletes may need to revise their form occasionally.
- Do a single set of repetitions – a single set of 12 repetitions with the proper weight can build muscle efficiently in most people, and can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise.
- Use the proper weight – which should be heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
- Start slowly – don’t be discouraged if you can lift only a few pounds at first. Once you can easily do 12 repetitions with a particular weight, you can gradually increase.
- Take time to rest – one full day between exercising each specific muscle group is recommended. For example, you may work the major muscle groups at a single session two or three times a week, or plan daily sessions for specific muscle groups – arms and shoulders on Monday, legs on Tuesday, etc.