A Formula for Strength Training

  • Hire a trainer. This can be an excellent use of resources. View a trainer as an investment in your health, similar to a financial advisor for financial issues. Learn how to execute strength training properly, through a complete range of motion. Check in again two months later if not sooner and make some changes to your program so that your body continues to be challenged. Some use a trainer not only for technical assistance but also to provide encouragement and motivation.
  • If spending money for a trainer is an issue, buy one or more books on strength training, make a list of exercises and then go do them. I’ll list some books at the end of this book that are excellent. Take a book with you to the gym so that you can review the pictures and instructions before executing the exercise. Using proper form — doing an exercise correctly — is very important. Poor form can lead to injury which, can lead to giving up.
  • Begin with light weights or work on weight machines versus dumbbells or barbells. Get your muscles used to the process; don’t overload them. If you’re sore, wait until the soreness goes away. You’re in a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Be sure to warm up your body. Hop on a treadmill, exercise bike or whatever for ten minutes or more and then do some stretching exercises involving your back and stomach muscles, legs and arms at the end. Take the time to cool down at the end. Both are good physically and mentally plus help make the “work” of strength training more enjoyable.
  • Leave sufficient time for all of these activities. Stretching at the end will reduce muscle tension and the potential for later muscle use strain.
  • After doing lighter weight exercises for a few months, gradually increase the weights used. Then move to lifting weights to fatigue — lifting or pushing the weights until you can’t move them. Do two sets of eight to twelve reps, and once you’re there, do this type of exercise at least twice a week for the rest of your life. As your strength increases you can gradually increase the resistance — the amount of weight you lift.
  • In order to progress and gain you must incorporate the principle of overload. This is the process of progressively increasing the resistance which will increase the gains. If you reach a certain point and level off you’ll not show any further improvement in strength.
  • If you level off and don’t increase resistance but continue to work out you’ll retain what you have and resist both osteoporosis and sarcopenia.