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Is Something is Better Than Nothing?

Written by Erin Clason
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RS2273 shutterstock 263097353When it comes to strength training, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Most of us are aware of the benefits of strength training in areas like everyday physical function, bone rebuilding, self-confidence, fat reduction, and elevated metabolism. But did you know that strength training can also help prevent diabetes, enhance your cognitive ability, reduce blood pressure, reverse the aging process associated with muscular decline, and help balance your cholesterol levels?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends strength training exercises for all major muscle groups 2-3 times a week: upper body, lower body, core, chest, shoulders, and arms.

But let me be honest, I haven’t always practiced what I’ve preached about strength training. Running has consistently been a part of my life since high school, but it’s a struggle to maintain a regular strength routine. However, as I’ve dealt with knee, lower back, and hamstring injuries  in the past few years, I’ve learned that I need to incorporate some basic strength training if I want to continue to run.

I had to let go of my all or nothing mentality and start with a minimalist approach - something that was sustainable. I remember reading an article that Dan Distin wrote years ago about hitting some basics of strength training: if you only have time to do 2 exercises, make it pushups and crunches so that you work your core and upper body. Even 1 or 2 strategic exercises, if done consistently, can have a positive effect.

For me, accountability was a big part of starting and maintaining a strength routine. I started by training with a friend once a week, and I trained on my own for the second day. It was always more enjoyable and I worked harder when I was training with my friend. About a year ago I began teaching the Lunch Crunch class twice a week at The Academy for Sports & Wellness. It’s a boot camp style class that incorporates strength, cardio, core, function, and balance. Nothing like teaching a class to keep you on track! Working out in a group keeps us all engaged and motivated.

Push Up

If you’re just starting a strength routine, here’s a good 15-minute workout. These exercises work multiple muscle groups and require no equipment, so it takes one more excuse out of the equation. Also, you might start with the modified versions of each and progress to the full versions over time.                                                                                                                  

1)     Push ups (2-3 sets of 10 reps) 

Plank

2)     Plank and Side Plank (hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times); side plank (2 sets of 15-30 seconds each side)

Bridge

3)    Bridge (3 sets of 10 reps)

Lunge

4)    Lunge (2-3 sets of 7 reps each side)

 

 

 

 

 

Ideally, you should do this routine 2-3 times per week on nonconsecutive days. Two times a week is really the sweet spot to see strength gains while still allowing the body ample time to recover (less muscle soreness).

Would you like the benefits of working out with a class under the guidance of experienced instructors? Are you looking for a more advanced routine? Try a class at The Academy for Sports & Wellness within our Southeast clinic. Drop in and try 2 free classes! Choose from a beginner class, like Back on Track, to the higher level Lunch Crunch or Iron Maidens. http://www.pt-cpr.com/academy/class-description

Remember to ditch that all or nothing mentality. Now get down on the floor and give me 10 pushups! 

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