This article is part of a series on why Cardio, Strength and Flexibility are equally important in our routines. In this piece, Body Temple‘s awesome personal trainer and Strength Class instructor Aimee Sin, tells you why STRENGTH is so important in your training and how you start!
What is strength training?
Strength training is a form of workout that employs resistance to build muscle mass, muscle endurance, as well as muscle strength. Depending on your goals, the form of resistance used varies from body weight, resistance bands, free weights, or machines.
Why should I start strength training?
Whether your goal is to lose weight, tone up, or to get stronger, resistance training is a great program to help you reach those goals. For starters, the building of muscle mass lifts your basal metabolic rate. This means that you’ll be able to maintain your body weight more easily, or burn fat more effectively for weight loss – with a healthy diet, of course!
Another benefit of strength training is the slowing down or even reversing of the natural ageing process: as we age, our bodies generally lose muscle mass and bone density, and resistance training helps strengthen and build bone mass, leading to improved postures and stronger bones! For people diagnosed with osteoporosis, building strong muscles also helps with coordination and balance which can prevent falls and osteoporosis-related injuries.
Outside of health benefits, strength training also helps boost self-esteem! Just like mastering a new skill, the progressive strengthening of one’s body brings with it a sense of accomplishment and builds confidence as you understand the physical and mental potential in you. For many women, the combined physical, mental, and emotional benefits help build a strong foundation of confidence that empower them to do likewise in many other areas of their lives.
How do I start strength training?
With so many different forms of strength training, it can sometimes be both intimidating and overwhelming to take that first step!
If you are completely new to strength training, consider engaging a personal trainer. Crucial basics like posture are key not only to ensure you train the right muscles – but safely as well! As the adage goes, prevention is always better than cure: and bad form or posture may not only be harmful to your overall progress but can cause serious injuries as well!
Another great way is to join a strength class as a group environment may be more comfortable for some. From a safety standpoint, whilst this may not be ideal as you will not get the devoted attention of a personal trainer, one recommendation that I would give is to make known to the instructor prior to the start of a class that you are a beginner. This way, the instructor should pay more attention to you throughout the class.
As you progress in your strength training regimen, the next thing to consider is frequency and variety. For a start, it is recommended to engage in three sessions a week for progress to be consistent. Also, there are many ways you can vary your training: be it muscle group-focused, circuit style, full-body, or high intensity. Keep in mind that balance is key: work all your muscles equally – not just those you’re familiar with. Be open to modifying your program according to how your body responds: after all, you know it best!
Full Body Strength Circuit
What you need: 2 x 4-5kg dumbbells
Level: Beginner – intermediate
Dumbbell front squats
Bent over rows
Weighted sit-ups (hold 1 dumbbell in front of chest)
15 reps each
Sumo squats (holding dumbbells in between legs)
Standing bicep curls
Lying straight arm tricep extension
15 reps each