Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Where to start when lifting weights

GettyImages-85446814When thinking about starting a resistance training program there are a few things to consider. Making sure you have the right order for exercises, determining the appropriate number of reps/sets to perform, and making sure you get enough rest are what we will be going over in this blog. With any program you start, make sure that you are warming up properly before performing any type of lift. The great thing about resistance training is it can provide you with muscular strength and endurance gains no matter your age.

1. Making sure you have the right order.

There are thousands and thousands of exercises that can help increase strength in certain muscles around the body, but what is the best order to do them? Most programs will have you start with compound exercises. Compound exercises like the title suggest recruits multiple muscle groups to help preform the lift. Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlifts are examples of compound exercises that should be performed first. After the compound exercises you can do what are called accessory lifts. These lifts will typically only activate one muscle. Biceps Curls, Triceps Push Downs, and any machine exercise are examples of accessory lifts.

2. Determining the number of sets and reps.

Before starting a program, you have to figure out why you want to do this in the first place. Establishing goals can gear you towards keeping you on track and building the perfect program. For example, if your goal is to do the most exercises in a row, you would want to build your program around muscular endurance. ACSM suggest to perform at least 12 reps (how many times you perform the exercise) for 2 to 3 sets (How many rounds you perform the exercise) with little or no rest in-between sets. There are 2 different resistance training programs. To gain muscular endurance, perform 6-12 reps for 2-3 sets with 1-2 minutes of rest in between and to gain muscular strength, perform >6 rep for 2-6 sets with 3 minutes of rest in between.

3. Why is rest so important?

When starting a weight lifting program, after the first couple of weeks you can be experiencing some soreness due to the muscles being used. Now making sure that your soreness doesn’t become an injury is making sure you build in rest days around your program. ACSM recommends the amount of time you should rest a muscle group before performing resistance training again is 24-48 hours.

Interested in getting started with a resistance training program, seeking support from a qualified fitness professional can be a great step. There are fitness assessments you can complete to evaluate your current strength and fitness levels that can be used to design a resistance training program unique to your goals and needs.

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Topics: weight lifting

NIFS: Lifting weights will make you bulky... MYTH

woman lifting weight resized 600To my knowledge, I don’t think there’s ever been a survey taken regarding this issue but personally, this is one of the most frustrating things to hear as a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, fitness manager, fitness specialist…fitness ANYTHING! So let me be clear right from the beginning. Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky.

The origins of this myth may never truly be known but I think we can all agree that females (and males for that matter) generally associate lifting weights with big muscle-bound bodybuilders. Although this may be true for some, the majority of us (exercisers and non-exercisers alike) lift weights and will never look like big, bulky bodybuilders. I’d even go as far as to say that the “bulk-factor” only applies to approximately 10% of exercisers, which does not even include the non-exercisers which would bring that percentage down. There are quite a few reasons that support this theory. Here are a couple:

Time – This applies to a couple aspects of life. First of all, do you realize the amount of time these muscle-bound men are putting in at the gym? We’re talking two+ hours in the morning and two+ hours in the evening…at a minimum! Most likely they may be getting in an afternoon session as well. Possibly even a little cardio at some point in the day. And to be specific, each two+ hour session is most likely focused on one muscle (i.e. chest day, leg day, arm day, etc.). Chances are you are working out one hour per day at most and doing a full body workout. There is not a chance you will get bulky exercising in this fashion.

Diet – This is the second aspect of time consumption. The planning that goes into each and every meal throughout the day and throughout the week is staggering. 6 meals a day; no cheat meals; getting a well-balanced diet throughout each day (i.e. getting enough protein, natural vitamins, water, etc.); and staying on schedule with each meal and/or snack. This takes A LOT of time. But it’s for good reason. A great workout plan is not much without a clean diet. These big guys need enough nutrients for their muscles to grow. They cannot have little cheats here and there…a candy bar in the afternoon for a pick-me-up, an alcoholic beverage while relaxing with friends, any sort of pastry to eat while they drive b/c they are late for work. No. They are very strict with their clean diet. Can you honestly say you are that strict with yours?

As I previously stated, these are only a couple of the reasons you will NOT get bulky simply by lifting weights. Unless you are purposefully trying to get bulky and basing your lifestyle around it, you don’t stand a chance to do so. On a positive note though, lifting weights will definitely help you target those trouble spots you’ve been trying to get rid of…the back of the arm, your lower back, your thighs. The next time you give yourself a goal of losing 10lbs, I challenge you to accomplish this feat through lifting weights, not by jumping on a treadmill for 30 min. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  Connect with your corporate wellness staff to help you get started.  They can set you up with a plan to meet your goals.

 So get out there and start lifting to NOT get bulky!

Topics: corporate fitness nifs fitness management fitness weight lifting