The June 2016 issue of WedMD magazine published an article by Kara Mayer Robinson in its “Living Healthy” section highlighting the importance of adding weekly strength training to your exercise regimen.  Not only does the article touch on important benefits of strength training, such as increased muscle and bone strength, improved posture, reduction to the likelihood of injury, and improved metabolism, but it also provides a solid list of recommendations for optimizing your results.  The purpose of this post is to provide a summary of these recommendations, as many of them fall in line with the training philosophies here at Fitness First.

Target Every Zone- In order to reduce the likelihood of muscle imbalances and posture problems, it is important to aim for two to three strength training sessions a week targeting every muscle group.  This will ensure proper muscle symmetry and balance, as well as provide attention to any muscle groups that may be lacking.

Focus on Form- At no point during an exercise should form be compromised to achieve more repetitions.  Fitness First focuses on the importance of quality movements as opposed to focusing on the quantity of movements.  This ensures a safe, efficient, and effective approach to strength training.

Add Weight Without Compromising Form- Progression is an importance aspect of achieving your desired results from strength training.  An appropriate resistance should be utilized for every activity until a desired repetition range can be achieved without compromising form.  Adding resistance gradually and sensibly is a good rule of thumb

Take Time Off- Strength training causes micro-trauma to muscle tissue and it requires rest and recovery to repair itself.  This tearing of the muscle tissue and repairing process is what leads to increases in muscle strength.  Aim for at least 48 hours betweens training sessions.

Don’t Hold Your Breath- It is important to maintain a normal breathing pattern as you perform any strength training exercise.  This will help ensure optimal delivery of oxygenated blood to the muscles during activity.  It also helps reduce issues related to hyperventilation, which can lead to the premature termination of an exercise due to central nervous system defense mechanisms

Don’t Go Fast- We’ve been saying this all along at Fitness First! This article gets it right by saying that slow, controlled movements are better, no matter the type of resistance being used.

Don’t Quit Too Soon- The article hits the nail on the head with this tip.  Performing repetitions until you cant do any more with good form is imperative for maximizing a training session.  Training to “failure” or fatigue means an adequate stimulus has been provided to the muscle tissue for it to adapt, rebuild, and ultimately get stronger.  That is the purpose of strength training, right?

Don’t Fall Into a Rut- Mixing things up periodically is important to navigate around boredom and burnout during exercise.  It is easy to create habits, but eventually new challenges are needed both physically and mentally.  At Fitness First, we address this by alternating workouts so that not every session is exactly the same.  After 20 sessions, we redesign a client’s exercise prescription, providing variety with equipment, activities, and overload protocols.  We take input from the client for activity selection and use our expertise to design routines that provide a comprehensive approach to total-body strength training.

The WedMD magazine article highlights many important strength training recommendations.  The bolded points above are cornerstones to the training philosophy at Fitness First.  All of these guidelines form a foundation for training safely, efficiently, and effectively

Robinson, K.A. (2016, June).  Work It Out: Training Day.  WebMD, 34.