Updated: Feb 23, 2020
13 tips to improve your strength training from Certified Fitness Trainer since 2002, Kathie Owen:
1. Do a light cardio warm-up before strength training to help prevent injury and post-workout soreness.
2. Proper form is more important than number of reps; use a mirror to check your form. This is what mirrors are for in the gym, not for vanity purposes!
3. If you want to see results faster, do at least three strength-training sessions per week.
4. Save time and burn more calories by doing super sets, working opposing muscle groups back-to-back, and moving quickly from one exercise to the next without resting. This is also called circuit training.
5. Don't just lift dumbbells. Explore all types of equipment including resistance bands, kettlebells, stability balls, medicine balls, and barbells, as well as moves that require no equipment at all like push-ups and free squats. These are also called isometric moves. We do these when we do Tracy Anderson Method. (blog post on this coming soon.)
6. Bodyweight exercises are shown to burn more calories than moves that use dumbbells - think full-body exercises like push-ups vs. bench presses.
7. Work harder by creating instability. Stand on one leg, or balance on a BOSU ball or stability ball while doing strength-training moves. We have small discs in the O-Zone.
8. Multitask! Don't just stand there doing bicep curls when you could be doing squats to tone your lower body at the same time.
9. Play with speed to keep your muscles guessing. Lift slowly and lower quickly, or pause in the middle of the rep. Slow train method blog post coming soon.
10. Keep two to three different-sized dumbbells on hand so you can reach for heavier weights when working larger muscle groups.
11. Add more weight as you progress. Your muscles should feel fatigued within two reps of the number called for in your program. If they are not, increase the dumbbell weight by two or three pounds. This is called pyramid work.
12. Keep things balanced and work your back as much as you work your abs to keep your entire core strong. Treadmills aren't just for running. Slow down the speed and try walking very slow and make gigantic steps. At the YMCA we walk on the treadmill with no power, talk about a great workout.
13. Take rest days! If you did arms Monday, do legs Tuesday. Rest days allow your muscles time to heal and get stronger.
Happy training! Until next time, Kathie