Part II: The HOW behind strength training as you age

Last post I tried to set the stage, light the fire, get you all jazzed up to start strength training but didn’t give you any of the tools to begin.

DISCLAIMER: These are instructions for someone who has never strength trained before or has minimal experience. It is advised that you proceed with caution, go easy and follow the recommendations.

“Where should I start?”

Simple and Consistently.

“You said it should be hard, how do I know it is challenging enough?” I want you to feel like you are giving effort. Run through the program provided below twice per week for two weeks. If it did not tire you out or make you sore at all, you have to progress. Resistance training can and will make you sore, but not so sore that you can’t climb the stairs, sit on the toilet and are limping while you walk.

“What exercises should I do?”

I am going to review the main components of a resistance training routine for a beginner. These require no equipment at all and can be performed at home. You can begin all of these with 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions, 2 days per week.

Hip thrust

This is a great exercise for the legs and lower back. It is a VERY important area to strengthen in order to lift, carry, go on long walks, prevent falls… the list goes on.

Push up with assist

Push-ups are a standard movement to get good at. The problem is, most people can not do even one! It’s a tough one… That being said, there are many ways to get stronger at them and this is one. This movement is very important for a handful of reasons but one major reason is that if you fall, you want to be able to get back up!

Air Squat

This is one of the most foundational movements known to the world of resistance training. You can not go wrong here! This is an un-weighted squat but can be a very effective way to build up leg strength, help your knees and your lower back!

Plank

The plank… another foundational movement! This is a FULL BODY move that works everything! This is an exercise that not only helps you gain a stronger core, but it is great for shoulder strengthening, lower back and knee health. This would be one that is performed for time, suggested at 3 sets of 15-20 seconds for beginners.

Reverse lunge

Now… This one is a bit advanced but I love it. There are many people who are not able to perform this move as shown in the video. That being said, it can be easily made less challenging by holding onto something like a door handle, door frame, kitchen counter, etc… This move works on balance, strength and coordination. If you are someone who can not get up from a kneeling position without your hands, this exercise is a must!

Suitcase carry / march

This is one that many don’t know about but is is incredibly beneficial! Have you ever struggled at carrying in the groceries? Been challenged by dragging a heavy bag of leaves across the yard? Felt the strength of your grip disintegrate? The suitcase carry works all of the above. This would be an exercise also performed for time if you are marching, or distance if you are walking. I would suggest 3 sets of 20 seconds per arm – hold a gallon of water, fill a grocery bag with canned goods…?

Step up

This one is fairly obvious but I’ll give you some examples as to WHY it’s important. How often do we carry things up and down stairs? (Often). You never want to lost the ability to do that! You also want to keep your knees, hips and lower back’s healthy, too? Of course.

Try these out… See what’s challenging, see what’s easy and make adjustments accordingly. Resistance training should be a part of your life forever if you plan to live long and healthy. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective.

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