To Lift or Not to Lift?

If a great Shakespearean protagonist had, anachronistically, joined a gym, his internal existential inquiry might have been, "To lift or not to lift?". Many centuries later, the identical inquiry, or controversy, persists. Joining a gym (health club) usually implies the new club member is going to engage in strength training in one form or another. Such exercise provides an abundance of benefits and is a valuable lifestyle choice for most people. But the possibility of injury exists. The key to safe, beneficial exercise is to learn how to do strength training correctly, then develop a plan, and follow the plan.

Government health and wellness guidelines recommend doing 150 minutes of (at least) moderate exercise per week. This translates to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times per week. Strength training is an important component of any exercise program designed to fulfill these recommendations. In combination with cardiorespiratory exercise, strength training greatly improves muscular capabilities and endurance. Your body becomes fit, toned, and honed, and as a result, you become much better equipped to successfully manage the mechanical stresses and strains that everyone encounters during the course of a normal day.1-3

If you are new to strength training or haven't done this form of exercise in a while, then the most important rule is to start slowly. Scientifically determine how much weight you should be lifting by experimentation. Choose a very light weight and see whether you can do eight repetitions with that weight comfortably. If it's difficult to do eight reps, then start over with the next lighter weight. If it's too easy to do eight reps, then start over with the next heavier weight. If eight repetitions feels just about right, then that's the weight with which to begin that particular exercise. Follow these steps for each of your exercises and you'll have established your beginning routine on a personal and safe foundation.

Strength training need never become boring, as you can change your routine with almost infinite variety. For example, for a 12-week period you could do chest and back exercises one day, then leg exercises a second day, and shoulder and arm exercises a third day. You would do your cardiorespiratory exercise on the remaining two days (for a total of five weekly days of exercise). During a different 12-week period, you could do cardiorespiratory exercise on three days and do arm and leg exercises on one day and chest, back, and shoulder exercises on a second day. Or you could choose to "work light" and exercise all your body parts on a single day. You could do your total-body strength training two or three days a week, filling in the other days with cardiorespiratory exercise. The only guideline in the context of these routine designs is whether the routine works for you. If it works, then it works.

As with all exercise programs, the more consistent you are, the greater long-term benefit you'll derive. Be sure to build-in recovery time by taking a week off here and there for rest and recharging. A modern Hamlet would find his or her exercise time enjoyable and rewarding, and would answer the perplexing question with a resounding, "Yes. I will lift."

1Granacher U, et al: The importance of trunk muscle strength for balance, functional performance, and fall prevention in seniors: a systematic review. Sports Med 43(7):627-641, 2013

2Grier T, et al: The effects of cross-training on fitness and injury in women. US Army Med Dep J Apr-Jun:33-41, 2015

3Liu Y, et al: Effects of combined aerobic and resistance training on the glycolipid metabolism and inflammation levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Phys Ther Sci 27(7):2365-2371, 2015
These are very good points. With expanded research funding it may be possible to fulfill the assumptions of parametric analysis with greater confidence.

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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!"