Strength Training For Beginners

March 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Bareskin Towel, Fitness, tips, Weight Training | Leave a comment
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By Crabby McSlacker

Thinking about adding some strength training to your exercise routine, but aren’t sure how to get started?

Building up muscle strength is really good for you. (More on that in a moment) And if you’re female, we promise you’re not going to end up looking freakishly masculine and massively proportioned. First off, you need a bunch of testosterone for that. And secondly, hardcore muscle-building is kick-ass hard work! It involves effort, frustration, exhaustion, and pain, and it’s pretty much impossible to accidentally do too much.

Wait, where are you all going???

Sorry. Strength training really doesn’t have to be all that unpleasant. That’s mostly a problem for whiny slackers like yours truly, who would love to look pretty darn muscular, but would like it to happen via Fairy Dust, not actual work. Even for slackers, working with weights is pretty rewarding. Not just in terms of appearance and health benefits, but in actually being able to lift heavy stuff without ending up in the hospital.

So, for some tips to get started, who is better suited to offer advice than Crabby McSlacker?

Almost anyone, that’s who!

That’s why I asked some much better informed folks, like MizFit and Kelly of Fitness Fixation and Rupal of 101 Exercises and Personal Trainer Terri Walsh to help me out with links from their sites and helpful tips. Plus… we got The Google in on it too.

And if you already strength train, hang in there, because I’m really hoping you’ll read this post, realize you know a LOT more about the subject than I do, and chime in with your tips and personal experiences for newbies to benefit from.

Why it’s So Important to Learn The Physiological Processes Behind Muscle Building
In order to start strength training, it crucial that you first understand the process by which muscle is built and concepts such as progressive overload, zzzzzzz the distinctions between isotonic, isometric zzzzzzzzz and plyometric zzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz.

Okay, maybe we don’t really give a crap about that after all.

Why Is Strength Training Good for You?
There’s a handy list at WebMD. But there’s also a nice summary over at 101 Exercises of what strength training can do:

  • increase metabolic rate which in turn allows your body to burn calories more efficiently, even at rest
  • cut down on cardiovascular stress by reduction of resting blood pressure and heart rate
  • increase bone density, thus reducing risk of osteoporosis
  • improve strength, power and muscular endurance
  • and even help firm up ‘bingo arms’ ‘moobs’ and ‘muffin tops’!
Rupal also contributed some further thoughts and inducements:

“Each pound of added muscle burns approximately 35 to 50 more calories daily. That can add up! And if you’re a competitive sort, strengthening can enhance athletic performance. Swing the golf club harder, climb hills faster in a race, jump higher and cycle faster! It can also help prevent injuries: stronger, more balanced musculature equals greater stability at joints, more effective and efficient biomechanical relationships and enhanced movement performance.”

Choosing Equipment and Setting
You can do your strength training in a gym. You can do it at home. You can do it on a train; you can do it in the rain; you can do it with a fox; you can do it in a box… oops, wait, maybe not! (Too much Dr. Seuss as a child, sorry).

As to equipment, you can use weight machines (they have combo home versions too); or use barbells, dumbells, a weight bench. Don’t like heavy objects? You can also use resistance bands or tubes; fancy suspension systems; you can use use your own body weight for many exercises too. You can use even use live human children, but don’t tell anyone we said that.

How to decide which way to go?

It’s all very personal, and of course has quite a bit to do with convenience, space, goals, and costs. There’s no right or wrong answer. I would advise against making huge financial commitments, either with long-term gym memberships or fancy-pants equipment, until you’ve tried a few different methods.

One tip: there are many reasons you might want to avoid gyms, like you don’t want to leave the house to exercise, or you hate to wait for equipment, or the smell of a gym reminds you of high school and causes you to burst into tears at unpredictable intervals. All very reasonable. But don’t let self-consciousness keep you out of a perfectly good gym.

You have every right to be in that gym, beginner or not. If you get some basic instructions before you start off, and don’t do anything too obnoxious, no one will even notice you. The regulars are all too busy flexing, grunting, cursing, and staring at their own reflections in the mirror to care that you’re lifting bright pink 2 lb dumbbells or grand pianos. You can join for a brief period; try out all kinds of things; get some instructions; and then use that info to put together your own home set-up.

Read the rest of this article at CrankyFitness

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