I am having a cliche’ title week. Sigh, sometimes I fall prey to mainstream cheesiness. What can I say? Except Sundays are great days to strength train. Before we start the muscle burn I will answer two common questions regarding strength training:
1. Why should I strength train?
Research states starting at the age of 25 we steadily loose muscle mass. Yes, 25 folks. Now at this young tender age the percentage of muscle mass loss is very small. But, as we grow older into the wise decades of 70s, 80s and 90s the percentage loss rapidly increases each decade exponentially.
Research also states one of the biggest preventative ways to slow down this rapid decrease of muscle strength is to perform resistive training. let me put this in other words. You want to strength train so when you are 75 rocking on your front porch, kicking back having a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon. Your leg muscles will continue to be strong enough to assist you in standing up from that chair without pain, or you will not be dependent on another person to help you. Strengthening for this age group also prevents falls which can lead to fractures and all kinds of other issues.
You say yeah, yeah, yeah, but I’m in my golden years how does strengthening benefit me now? Resistive training will also help to prevent injuries, and pain or help to reverse an painful issue currently occurring. There are a lot of postural syndromes occurring in the work force and mom force these days from sustained positions and repetitive motions. Just like the hip flexor stretches I showed you help to reverse a sitting position. Strengthening will help to maintain an improved postural position, or just help to decrease the wear and tear on your joints by maintaining proper alignment- in a nutshell. For specific issues you should be evaluated by your Physician or if you are in a state with Direct Access, a Physical Therapist.
2. Where do I start?
Form, Form, Form. Ironically, I do see a lot of gym rats in my clinic from over exercising or strength training with poor form. If you have never strength trained before it is a good investment to see a personal trainer. The will help to get you started safely. make sure they have their certifications though! ACE, NSCA (this is what I have), ACSM are good certifications. Always go with the philosophy if it hurts don’t do it. I am not talking about muscle soreness here (nice try), I am talking about sharp, shooting or joint pain.
But you do not have to shell out your hard earned dough to get strong and protect your joints. You can start with water bottles and cheap resistive bands, or even use your own body weight to start. There are a ton of U tube videos out there. Some are better than others. Make sure the video you are following is made by some one with a License or Certification. This will help to prevent injury.
Back it up
Enough talk, show me the money. Here is a progression of an excellent back, glutes, and hamstring strengthener. Try the first picture, if you have no pain, and it is super easy then you can try the next. If you have pain don’t do it! You can modify these strengtheners by how long you hold them, or by how many repetitions you perform. They are great for protecting your back if you sit for work, or help to prevent knee issues if you are a runner.
Lie on your back with your feet away from your hips, and directly under your knees. Keeping your stomach engaged push through your feet and lift your hips up. Keep your knees pointing forward (AKA don’t let them go in or way out to the side).
Hold for 5 seconds and lower slowly. If this is too easy extend a leg so it is even with the other knee, hold, and push through the foot on the ground. On this one make sure to keep your hips even. What I mean is, if you were to set a plate on your stomach, it should not fall off to the side. A good place to start with these are 3 rounds of 10-12.