3 July 2020
If you're a beginner to exercise and you've ever felt intimidated by the idea of strength training, you're in the right place. In this article, we will explain what strength training is and why it is vital to your workout routine. We will also share five strength training exercises that are perfect for beginners.
Strength training is also known as resistance training because it uses the forces of gravity and weight to build strength, endurance, and muscle mass. You don't have to start using weights like dumbbells straight away, and in fact, that is not recommended. Using your body weight is the perfect place to begin strength training because you can focus on getting the form correct, which is essential for balanced and effective training.
Strength training brings many physical and psychological benefits. It increases bone density, which is especially important for women as they age to decrease the risk of osteoporosis. It aids weight loss and burns more fat because a higher muscle mass percentage equals a higher resting metabolic rate.
Strength training tones your body, giving more strength and power for everyday tasks, and improving body image. Lastly, strength training can improve your mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that adding strength training exercises into your workout routine can alleviate symptoms of low mood and depression.
Starting with using your body weight is the best way to get into strength training for beginners. If you want to ensure that you have the correct form before building habits, ask for an assessment at your local gym. Most gyms offer these to their clients free of charge. Alternatively, book a session with a personal trainer to get you started on the right track. If neither of these options are available to you, try following a video whist checking your form carefully in a large mirror to ensure you are performing the exercise correctly.
Here are five beginner-friendly strength training exercises using bodyweight. Do three sets of these five moves, 3-4 times a week, and you'll soon start to see and feel the results.
Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width, feet parallel. Raise your arms out in front of you, relax your shoulders, and open your chest. Simultaneously bend your knees as if you are sitting down on an imaginary chair. Keep your knees in line with your toes. Come down to 90 degrees if you can, so that your thighs are parallel with the floor. Your weight should be back in your heels. Drive through your heels to return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes as you come up. Repeat for 10-15 reps per set.
Start on your hands and knees, palms on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. Raise your knees off the floor by stepping one foot back and then the other, balancing on your toes. Extend your heels towards the wall behind you and pull your navel toward your spine. Hold for 15-30 seconds, three times per set.
Come into a plank position. Lower your body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Ensure that your core is firm. Push yourself back to the starting position. This may feel too challenging if you are brand new to strength training, so feel free to drop the knees to the floor. If you are doing knee pushups, ensure that your hips are forward of your knees and not directly above. Repeat for 10-15 reps per set.
Come to your plank position, either on your toes or on your knees. Release the right hand and make a fist, pulling the elbow behind you so that you feel a squeeze between your shoulder blades. Return the right hand to the plank position on the floor and repeat with the left arm. Complete 10-12 reps on each side per set.
Lay on your back; knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Have your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Raise your hips as high as you can while squeezing your glutes. Hold for a moment and then, in a controlled way, return to the starting position. Repeat for 10-15 reps per set.
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