***Always consult your healthcare professional prior to modifying your current training program***

Previously we’ve covered why resistance training is a great addition to any healthy activity program, and went over some of the things you need to know prior to starting your own resistance training program. I think it’s important to know the ‘why’ behind an activity, and how it can benefit you, before making a decision. If you’re interested in getting started, today we’ll go over how you can decide what the best type of resistance training is for you, and the safest ways to start out.

Learn the Movements

            The most important component of each different type of resistance training is doing the movements properly. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually important to always have in your mind; proper form is the key to safe and effective resistance training.

Form What is it.png

            When you’re new to resistance training, just hopping in and ‘getting after it‘ like you’ve been doing it your whole life can be a recipe for trouble. It’s important to learn the basic movements first and commit them to memory prior to increasing the difficulty of your program. If you’ve never done an exercise before, always start with just your body weight (as in no weight added to the exercise). Mirrors are a great way to be able to check your form, if you don’t have a training partner, and alter the way your body is moving, as you can’t always tell just by the way it feels. Also, it’s a great idea to work with an exercise professional to learn the movements properly (usually the fastest learning curve). This ensures that you avoid developing bad habits, which can cause injury, and that you’ll later have to unlearn; which is really what makes learning processes take longer than they need to.

            If you’re having trouble with a certain movement, or a component of that movement, don’t get frustrated. The thing that I love about resistance training is that I always have something to focus on, or to improve on. It’s a challenge that I enjoy overcoming every time I go back to my exercise routine.

Decide on a Routine

            Is your routine going to include exercise machines? Free weights? Just your body weight? There are pros and cons to each. It’s up to you to decide which one you’d prefer.

Bodyweight

BW Pro Con.png

            I like bodyweight training, especially when I’m doing a new exercise, because there’s less risk of injury. It’s also a lot easier to learn how to do new exercises because when my muscles aren’t straining as hard I can modify the movement until I’m comfortable with it. One other benefit I enjoy is not having to go to a gym, so I can avoid driving in to town, so bodyweight exercises are something I use regularly in my exercise routine.

Exercise Machines

            I like to use the exercise machines when I’m new to an activity, but would like more of a resistance than just using my own body weight. They’re great for one-dimensional motion, but be aware of developing overconfidence when you move on to free weights, as the machines don’t develop your smaller stabilizer muscles.

Free Weights

            Free weights are my favourite component of my resistance training program. They’re incredibly versatile, challenging, and engaging. But they do come with the added risk of injury, and they can be a bit daunting when you’re first starting out. I think that despite this, they’re a great goal to work towards, and can make the resistance training program a lot more interesting and fun.

Conclusion

            Resistance training can be a diverse and fulfilling addition to your exercise program. It’s important though, that you take into account the various pros and cons to each different type of training that you consider, and find what’s the best fit for you. As you progress, you can start mixing and matching. I love supplementing my free-weight program with bodyweight exercises, and vice-versa, but it’s important to know what I’m doing in each area before I jump between the two. Hopefully with time and careful practice you’ll find as much reward and enjoyment in the world of resistance training as I have!

 

***Always consult your healthcare professional prior to modifying your current training program***

 

 

References:

1.       Staci Ardison. Strength Training: Where Do I Start? Nerd Fitness. https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/strength-training-101-where-do-i-start/ Published Unknown. Accessed March 19, 2018.

 

2.      Dick Talens. What “Good Weight-Lifting Form” Really Means, and When it Matters. Vitals. https://vitals.lifehacker.com/all-about-lifting-form-what-to-worry-about-and-what-n-1692058974 Published March 2015. Accessed March 19, 2019.

 

3.      Ultimate Performance. Bodyweight Training For Building Muscle: Pros and Cons. Ultimate Performance. https://upfitness.com/en/article_posts/bodybuilding/training/bodyweight-training-building-muscle-pros-cons Published Unknown. Accessed March 19, 2019.

 

4.      Simply Gym. Pros and Cons: Free Weights Vs. Machines. Simply Gym. https://simplygym.co.uk/pros-cons-free-weights-vs-machines/

Published October, 2015. Accessed March 19, 2019.

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