Strength training offers a number of significant benefits.
- It helps your bones and muscles stay strong.
- It prevents disease and helps you develop better body mechanics.
- Boosts your metabolism.
- Creates a positive hormonal balance to aid fat loss.
- Increase muscle mass, which in turn helps burn more calories.
- Muscles look good! (to a certain degree, of course)
However, the most important reason to add strength training to your fitness program is probably that it will help you lose the dreaded lard.
Gym or at Home?
The first question to answer is do you want to go to the gym or work out at home? It’ not necessary to join a gym, but gyms do have their benefits. The obvious benefit is that you won’t have to buy any weights to get started. However, not everyone enjoys exercising in a gym environment or has the time to visit a gym several times a week. This is when training from home training comes into play. This is something I’ve been forced to take advantage of after my Wife gave birth to our Daughter just over a year ago due to time constraints.
Obviously, I’m well versed in exercise technique and don’t have any issues, but for those that are new it really does pay to get some help. You can of course watch my exercise demos in the video vault, but getting some hands on help. Whether it’s a friend, a brother or some professional personal trainer, you will certainly benefit from a few technique pointers early on. After all, the last thing I want is for you to drop a dumbell on your noggin (head)!
If you’re new to all this exercise lark, then training from home might be a good place to start. You won’t need any equipment for the first 4-8 weeks depending on your fitness level and even then, a cheap set of dumbbells from Ebay will do a good job for a considerable time afterwards.
Full Body Routine
If your goal is fat loss then you exercise several muscle groups in one go is the best way to burn calories, get your metabolism fired up and give your hormones a nudge in the right direction. When I say full body, I mean combining several exercises such as press-ups, squats, lunges and shoulder presses. Got it? A great way to do this and save time is to superset the exercises. This simply means pairing two exercises together. For example, you could do 15 squats followed directly by 15 press-ups. Rest for 30 seconds and then start again. This encourages your body to work harder and I have no doubt you’ll be slightly out of breath once you finish the press-ups. It doesn’t matter whether you use weights or your own body weight, the same principle applies.
You might have a friend who’s always banging on about doing chest one day and then back the next. This training method works well if the goal is muscle mass, but in my experience it’s not the most effective when it comes to melting fat quickly. The split routine stems from out of date bodybuilding programs, but is still used by many Arnie wannabes in the gym today. If you’re unsure which type of routine to use just give me a shout in the forum.
Most people already know the basics. You’re familiar with a press up and a lunge, right? These are strength training exercises that you can begin with at home. However, as I’ve already mentioned you’ll probably advance beyond these basics after several weeks. There are many videos, DVDs, and books you can use to help you create your strength training program. (Not to mention our own guides in the exercise plans section.)
If you’re not familiar with reps and sets consider this a quick tour. For beginners most professionals recommend high reps, this simply means doing lots of reps with light weights or using your own body weight. If you’re using then this roughly means performing 15-20 reps per set with a weight that you can do no more than say 21 reps. Body weight training usually allows for high reps, but is a little more flexible as the numbers will vary depending on the exercise and your current fitness level. Whether you’re starting with weights or simply body weight exercises, both will give your body a chance to strengthen its tendons and ligaments before progressing on to more advanced exercises with heavier loads.
After this initial high rep phase, your body should be ready to tackle more advanced exercises and heavier loads. If you’ve be using simple bodyweight exercises to get you started, now might be a good time to move onto some weight training to help improve muscle tone and spice up your workout program. Once you’ve reached this phase, your focus should be on 8-12 reps, which is considered the toning rep range by most fitness professionals. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never do high reps again, but using weights that only allow you to perform 12 reps will challenge your muscles and give them a reason to change and become more defined!