Often when men think of resistance training (sometimes called weight lifting), they picture the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although it is possible to get bulging muscles (and there is nothing wrong with that), they are not a must. Building a strong muscle base and maintaining it requires a special routine, time and committment.
Everyone can benefit from some basic resistance training done a few times per week. Why you might ask? Well there are a number of good reasons: muscle tissue burns more calories than any other tissue, manual labour around the house will be easier, lifting your kids will be a breeze, and heck, who doesn’t like feeling strong?!
I find that for guys who are time pressed, myself included, a simple routine that incorporates 6-8 large muscle groups is most efficient (see table below). Using large muscle groups exercises (e.g., squats) as opposed to targeted exercises, which involve single muscle (e.g., biceps curl), gives you the most “bang for your buck”.
A bit of background knowledge to get you lifting and strengthening safely:
- Repetitions are the number of times you do an exercise. For example, you will do 8-12 repetitions in one set.
- Sets are the number of times you do a series of repetitions. Take a few minutes to rest in between sets. Two to three sets is usually recommended.
- The appropriate weight (for beginners) is one you can lift for the entire number of repetitions. You should feel some fatigue after one set, but not utterly exhausted. If you cannot complete the sets, the chosen weight might be too heavy.
- Always have a partner to spot (watch) you when lifting heavy weights, safer and much more enjoyable with a friend.
Finally, remember to focus on properly executing the movement. This will help avoid injuries, and in the long run you may end up lifting more! Feel free to give the Physical Activity Line a call (8-1-1) to get some FREE weight lifting and strengthening advice or to help develop a customized program that works for you.
Beginners’ resistance training program
|Squats||3||12||Feet should be slightly wider than shoulders|
|Lunge||2-3||8||8 each leg for total of 16 per set|
|Plank||3||20-30 sec||Gradually build to 1 minute|
|Mountain climbers||2-3||10||Having your feet closer to you makes it easier|
|Superman||3||10||Alternate lifting opposite arms and leg|
|Back bridge||3||12||Avoid arching your back|