Strength Training for Beginners (and Experts, Too)

Strength training, otherwise known as weight training, is one of those activities that provides a wide range of benefits for the person who does it regularly. Like yoga, strength straining makes all your muscles stronger, enhances flexibility, and improves cardiovascular capability and capacity. In fact, two strength training sessions per week combined with one or two yoga classes per week will lead to super-fitness for most people within only a couple of months.

Strength training is beneficial for teenagers, young adults, and older adults.1 Many strength training exercises are done in a weightbearing position, and the process of doing reps and sets with a modestly or moderately heavy load makes your bones stronger. Not only muscles, but also the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system, including tendons, ligaments, and joint cartilage, are made sturdier by receiving increased supplies of oxygen and other nutrients. Engaging in a regular program of strength training will provide more restful sleep, rid your metabolism of accumulated toxins, add sparkle and tone to your skin, and improve your overall sense of well-being. All at the low price of two to three hours per week.

The key question is how to begin. Many books and online training videos are available. Most fitness centers offer a complimentary lesson or two with a personal trainer to enable you to learn the basics. Simply put, you want to train all of your major muscle groups once per week. For example, you can exercise your chest and back muscles on one day and your shoulders and arms on another day. If you're also doing one or two yoga classes per week, or one yoga class and two walking or running days per week, your leg muscles are covered.2

Let's say this is your chest and back day. Ideally you'll do three different exercises per body part. For your chest you could do lying-down (supine) bench presses with dumbbells, supine flies (in which you hold the dumbbells overhead and then open your arms out to the side), and incline bench presses with dumbbells. For your back, you could do one-arm rows, supine dumbbell pullovers (in which you use both hands to hold one dumbbell overhead and then lower the dumbbell all the way behind your head), and lat pulldowns on a machine. All together, doing these six different exercises, three sets per exercise, should take about one hour.

Then, two or three days later in the week, you do strength training for your shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Shoulder exercises could include seated overhead presses, standing lateral raises, and seated bent-over rows. Bicep exercises could include seated alternate incline curls, machine bicep curls, and seated concentration curls. Tricep exercises could include push-ups, lying (supine) tricep extensions, and machine tricep pressdowns. Again, these nine different exercises, three sets per exercise, should take about one hour.

There are many video clips available on the internet that demonstrate the mechanics of each of these exercises. Good form is critical. In fact, making sure your posture is balanced and your abdominal muscles are activated is more important than the amount of weight you are lifting.

Beginners, especially, need to know how much weight they should be using on each exercise.3 Importantly, lifting too much weight too soon will usually lead to injury. Of course, we want to work-out as safely as possible. Choose a weight at which you can comfortably do eight repetitions. If you can't do eight, the weight is too heavy. If eight repetitions with a particular weight seems ridiculously easy, try again with a weight that is 10% heavier. Repeat the process until you find the starting weight that is comfortable for you. There are many types of weight progression programs that you will employ as you become accustomed to the weight-training process. The main point is to begin to engage in this highly beneficial form of exercise. As your mastery of these techniques slowly improves, a new world of fitness, fun, and satisfaction will be revealed.

1Conceicao MS, et al: Sixteen weeks of resistance training can decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome in healthy postmenopausal women. Clin Interv Aging Epub Sept 16 2013

2Karavirta L, et al: Heart rate dynamics after combined strength and endurance training in middle-aged women: heterogeneity of responses. PLoS One 2013 Aug 27;8(8):e72664. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072664

3Van Roie E, et al: Strength training at high versus low external resistance in older adults: Effects on muscle volume, muscle strength, and force-velocity characteristics. Exp Gerontol Epub ahead of print

Locations

Office Hours

Monday:

8:00 am-12:30 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-12:30 pm

2:00 pm-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-12:30 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-12:30 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "I have been a patient at Dr. Meylor’s clinic for the past 15 years, and during that time, he has been my primary health specialist. As an elite age group runner, it is extremely important to stay in alignment – both to prevent injury and to sustain optimum performance, so it is crucial to get a chiropractic adjustment at least once a month. Along with proper training, orthotics, attention to nutrition, and adequate sleep, chiropractic has been an essential part of my success in which I have been fortunate to compete at a national level in my age group for many years. And at a time when many of my age group competitors are declining in their running abilities, I have been able to improve my performance based upon age grading scales and have even been listed nationally in USA Track & Field’s rankings over the past two years. I am convinced this wouldn’t have happened had I not been getting regular adjustments from Dr. Meylor."
    Andriette Wickstrom, Storm Lake
  • "In addition to adjustments, there have been several occasions in which I have had non-invasive acupuncture treatments, with very successful results, especially during several instances in which I experienced severe headaches from allergic reactions. Not only did the acupuncture alleviate the pain, it also convinced me to never attempt to mask such problems by using aspirin or other such drugs or pain relievers."
    Andriette Wickstrom, Storm Lake
  • "I realize that not everyone is a competitive athlete, however, being in the best physical condition possible should be a goal for all of us as we strive to lead happy and productive lives. I greatly recommend having chiropractic care as an integral part of everyone’s health plan. The high quality care I have received from Dr. Meylor has contributed to my overall excellent health, and I would encourage others to maximize their own physical potential by choosing chiropractic treatment. Not only does Dr. Meylor offer exceptional skills, he is also very approachable in communicating to patients using understandable terms, and I completely trust his professional expertise."
    Andriette Wickstrom, Storm Lake
  • "I was diagnosed with Fibromylagia 9 years ago, after being in bed for 6 week's due to the severe pain I was in. A friend recommended that i go to see Dr. Meylor. When i first walked into Dr. Meylor's office I was struggling to hold my head up without support. Dr. Meylor suggested therapy, acupuncture, an alignment, proper nutrition and exercise. The combination has kept me moving.
    Dr. Meylor sees me once every 3-4 week's Keeping aligned has proved to give me the best relief from my fibromyalgia symptoms. Thanks to Dr. Meylor and his staff, over the course of the past 9 years I have been able to have a very good quality of life with fibromyalgia.....something I once thought I would never have."
    Chandra Younie
  • "I came to see Dr Meylor with constant burning in my ear, down my neck and arm. The office staff made me feel so welcome. Dr. Meylor examined me and i was adjusted twice that week and I felt so much better with each adjustment. I know that with my stressful job I will feel and do better to keep myself adjusted and continue going to Dr. Meylor on a monthly basis. Best decision I ever made."
    Rebecca
  • "I first started see Dr. Meylor in November 2012. When I first came to the office I was unable to walk for more than 1 block and I was not able to stand for more than five minutes. I was in such severe pain with my lower back that I had opted to seek pain control through the use of pain medication shots put directly into my spine . After a series of a total 12 shots into my spine I was still in severe pain and no relief in sight."
  • "Upon Dr. Meylor's recommendation I started seeing him 3 times a week for 4 weeks then 2 times a week for 3 weeks and finally 1 time a week for 2 more weeks. I was finally able to cope with what little discomfort I had. I now am able to stand for a good portion of my day and I can now walk about 8 block now without much pain. I will never be free from my back issue but I am now able to return to a normal life. I owe a lot to Dr. Meylor for helping me to become stronger and more functional in my day to day living. I continue to see Dr. Meylor on a weekly basis and am so happy with my improvement. I would highly recommend him to anyone that is needing help with any kind of chiropractic need."
  • "I had been suffering with severe low back pain and sciatica down my left leg for months. This affected everything I did and I became less and less active. I could not sleep at all at night because of the pain. My family could see how much pain I was in and I was not myself. I had to stop going to my children's school and sporting events that required me to sit in bleachers because of the constant pain.
    I went to my MD several times and was given pain pills and muscle relaxers. They made me feel terrible and now I had more side affects from them. The Dr. told me I should have back surgery which scared me to death."
  • "A friend told me to try her chiropractor Dr. Meylor. I called and they got me in that same day. Dr. Meylor listened to all my complaints and did a thorough exam and x-rays. He explained why I was experiencing this kind of reoccurring pain and what he could do to help. I was adjusted that day and given therapy. I felt immediate relief after my adjustment. I could'nt believe it! I had two more adjustments that week and I was so excited to be having less pain and I started sleeping thru the night! I continued following Dr. Meylor's recommendations and I feel great now and truly have my life back! I have my friend to thank for recommending Dr. Meylor and I have told many friends about my experience!"