A client I’ve worked with and coached for about 6 months now approached me last week and said, “Uncle Steve, I hear you talk all of the time about the importance of strength training, and I guess I sort of get it. What I don’t understand is just how to go about doing it and why, so much.”
I smiled, then said, “It’s what we do every day in our training sessions. I know it seems a little complex, the way I structure things, but I do it because I this is my area of expertise. It’s really not that complicated, so let me break it down for you.”
I went on to tell her what I’m about to reveal to you in this article. I hope you like it.
Principle #1 – It shouldn’t take you a lot of time.
If your training time in the gym lasts more than 40 minutes, you’re either lolli-gagging or spending too much time talking. Get in, get it done, and get out.
Perform brief and intense (15-30 minute) strength training sessions that allow you to lift moderately heavy weights (60-85% of your max) 3-4 times each week focusing on decisive, total-body strength with basic full-body exercises for moderate sets and reps, which translates to 3-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions per exercise.
Principle #2 – Strength Training for Women Is Imperative.
Strength training serves a far greater purpose, especially for women. Women should strength train because:
- Strength training is empowering!
- Strength training allows you to discover and appreciate what your body is capable of doing, so it can then do more!
- Strength training makes you feel and look awesome!
- Strength training positively affects your entire life. From bone density to increased muscle mass to lessening your risk of injury, strength training has a wide range of benefits.
- Strength training builds you up physically, mentally & emotionally.
- Strength training “tones” muscle, burns fat, boosts your metabolism, improves your health & increases your quality of life.
- Strength training is the foundation for ALL your health, fitness and wellness goals, and that includes endurance, etc.!
Bottom Line: Strength training is something everyone should do no matter their age!
Remember, you can be whatever you want to be, but make being strong first a priority!
Principle #3 – You’re Not Bodybuilding…
Bodybuilders are fond of “training to failure”, or in other words lifting and lowering a weight until they can’t lift it any further. Dr. Fred Hatfield proclaimed that one ought to “train to success,” as opposed to failure.
When it comes to strength & conditioning, you should avoid training to failure (momentary muscular failure, technical failure, etc.).
This requires stopping your sets 1-2 reps short of failure; resting long enough to maintain strength & form; or performing less than your repetition maximum (doing 3 reps with a 5-rep max).
If you think you need to push past your limits, get sweaty, feel tired or exhausted, feel beat down, or breathe hard during a workout to get stronger or improve your conditioning, you’re doing it wrong!
Bottom Line: For strength & conditioning, avoid training to failure.
Principle #4 – Muscle and Strength Are Life!
After the age of 30, we lose up to 10% of our muscle mass each decade while gaining 3 times as much fat during the same time.
Building muscle & strength should be at the top of your list to slow down or reverse the aging process and subsequent loss of muscle while preventing fat gain, not to mention the loss of bone density.
Bottom Line: You NEED muscle & strength to shape your body, improve your health & increase your quality of life.