Strength training - how do I get started from home?
This week I asked on social media what form of exercise, cardio or weights, did everyone enjoy and I was surprised to find out that most love weight training! It really is important to find a workout format that you love so that you stay motivated and consistent. The purpose of a workout isn’t only to get sweaty or to feel like you can barely move the next day. The purpose is to help you be that healthy, pain-free and physically capable person you want to be! If you are working really hard and putting in a lot of effort, you should be enjoying what you do as well.
Weight training in particular is so beneficial for women.
Not only does weight training increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis and osteopenia, it also promotes an increase in muscle mass and prevents muscle loss. The slowing down of your metabolism as you age is due largely in part to the muscle mass that we lose as we age, as well as a decrease in activity. If you are weight training properly, not only can you prevent this loss of muscle mass, you can also gain muscle mass and give your metabolism a boost as you age. Proper weight training also helps with postural issues, pelvic floor and incontinence issues that many women experience. It also improves your insulin sensitivity and can help keep your blood pressure within a healthy range. Finally, weight training is absolutely critical for sustainable fat loss.
With that being said, most women want to start a weight training program but just don't know how to or are afraid that they will bulk up as a result of lifting weights. Bulking up does not just happen when you start lifting weights. In fact, most find that they lean out v. bulk up once they add weight lifting to their workout routines. Bodybuilders are able to gain lean mass and "bulk up" due to following strict workout regimens, nutrition protocols, and/or ingesting supplements.
So what equipment do you need at home if you want to begin a weight training routine?
To be honest, you can start a weight training program with your bodyweight alone and then progress to using dumbbells or resistance bands of varying intensity.
In my new program, Back on Track, Back to You!, I will be taking women just like you through my 6-week beginning strength training program, HIIT to Lift FIT. The workouts are designed so you only need a few pieces of equipment to begin your strength training routine at home. At most, any exercise in these workouts will require a pair of dumbbells and/or a resistance band and a chair/bench/or low stool.
Below is the equipment that I recommend for my new program. These are great pieces of equipment that you can keep at home for your weight training routine.
Of course, to start I want you to work with what you can lift comfortably. If that's a pair of 5 lb. weights, then that is where you start. For most women in my program, a starting range of between 5-25 lbs. will work out great. Consider having at least 3 sets of varying weight to your home gym so that you can adjust the resistance for different exercises as the program progresses.
The brand and style of dumbbells does not truly matter. I personally prefer Neoprene weights for my home gym as they are comfortable in my hand. I suggest you use weights that feel comfortable to you. Amazon has a wide selection of dumbbells for a reasonable price, as well as your local sporting goods store.
Resistance bands -
The resistance bands I recommend are SPRI Xertubes found here - https://www.amazon.com/SPRI-Resistance-Tube-Band-Pack/dp/B000XZXGA8.
They are so versatile and can be used in lieu of bands for almost every single exercise in my program. Consider purchasing a green and a red SPRI Xertube so that you can adjust resistance for different exercises as the program progresses.
Amazon has a wide selection of resistance bands for a reasonable price, as well as your local sporting goods store.
No dumbbells or bands?
You can always do bodyweight exercises or pick up filled water bottles or cans in lieu of weights.
Having a set of dumbbells or resistance bands on hand is a "no excuses" way to make sure you can always get a great workout in from home.
If you are traveling, you can always pack a resistance band in your suitcase or do a bodyweight-only version of weight training exercises.
Chair/ Stool -
If you’re doing box squats, you don’t need an actual box to squat down to. You can use a normal chair like you see in my demonstrations; one that is strong and stable enough to not move around when you squat on it.
There’s no single height that the box/object needs to be at; it varies a lot from person to person. For squats and tricep dips, you want to set the height somewhere around the lowest level you can get to while successfully maintaining the performance points in the video, like heels rooted to the ground, ribs down and knees out over the center of your feet. For most people, that’s pretty close to the height their normal chairs are at.
For step-ups, you can use a normal stair step or curb. The height that people need will vary a lot (usually anywhere from 6-18 inches) and you don’t need one specific height for the exercise to be effective. If you don’t have access to a box or step of any sort, you can just perform the movements on the ground and add heavier weight for more of a challenge.
Foam Roller -
Foam rolling is a type of self-myofascial release in which pressure is applied to certain body parts to relieve pain.
I highly recommend foam rolling as a part of the warm-up prior to each workout as foam rolling has been found to boost workouts by significantly increasing range of motion. When combined with static and dynamic stretching, foam rolling can also lead to impressive flexibility improvements and a decrease in muscle soreness and risk of injury.
You can purchase either a 12 inch or 36 inch high density foam roller. You can purchase one on Amazon or at your local sporting goods store.
Hope this helps get your home gym ready for a workout anytime! If you are interested in more information about my new weight training program that starts September 25th, check it out here - https://www.livefitwithmichelle.com/back-on-track/.