Introduction to Resistance Training
By Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer at Apple Athletic Club
In our Week 1 – Let’s Get Moving article, we gave you a very simple starting point of taking a daily brisk walk as part of your exercise program. This week we want to start you on some basic resistance training that you can do almost anywhere. We will be adding to this as your fitness level rises.
Benefits to Resistance Training
Why is resistance training important? Here are some basic benefits:
1 – Improve functional strength (Imagine doubling or tripling your strength in just 90 days)
2 – Strengthen your tendons, ligaments and bones
3 – Toned muscles make you look better
4 – Increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours after workout
5 – Relieve tension and stress
All of these benefits in only 20-30 minutes three times a week.
Here are a few precautions before you get started:
1 – Be aware that your first few sessions are new to your muscles so they are going to get sore. TAKE IT EASY FOR A WHILE or you may get miserably sore. Soreness lessens and goes away as you get into better shape.
2 – Never force yourself into a position that is causing undue pain. As a rule of thumb, do not go beyond “mild discomfort”.
3 – Pace your exercise days with at least one day off between sessions. Example: Select Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as your workout days.
3 Basic Movements
Get started with the following three movements you can do two or three times per session.
Your heart pumps about 74 gallons of blood in a single day – enough to fill up three gas tanks!
1) CRUNCH – Lie on a carpet or pad. Bring your knees up with your feet on the floor and place your hands on the sides of your head (not behind). Bring your upper body off the floor only about 10 inches and crunch down like you’re trying to put your head in your lap. You probably won’t be able to do many repetitions but do the best you can. Thirty days from now you will be doing 3-4 times your starting reps.
Muscles worked: Abs (you know the “six” pack)
2) PUSH UP – Facing the floor push yourself up using your arms until they are fully extended. If you are able do them with your body straight and up on your feet. If you are unable to do the full push up keep your knees on the floor. Do as many reps as you can with a goal of 15 reps in mind.
Muscles worked: Pectorals (chest) Triceps (back of upper arms) and front Deltoid (front of shoulder).
3) SQUAT – Standing straight lower your upper body by bending your knees until you are down as far as you can comfortably go. Keep you back straight (looking skyward will help you do this) and rise again to a straight standing position. Do as many reps as you can with the goal of 20 reps in mind.
Muscles worked: Quads (front of upper leg) Hamstrings (back of upper legs) and Glutes (those two big muscles that we call the “rear end”.