Resistance (weight) training is an important part of a complete activity routine to improve or maintain your health and fitness. When done properly resistance training is safe for most people. If you have any concerns see your doctor before starting a resistance training routine.
First let’s define some terminology
- Reps or repetitions– the number of times you do the exercise.
- Sets – a group of reps (repetitions)
- Resistance training – Any activity that moves the body, a weight, a machine, or an elastic band repetitively to build muscular strength.
- Weight training – Resistance exercise that uses hand held weights or machines to provide the resistance.
How to safely and effectively perform resistance training
- Breathe out exertion, the push or pull portion of the exercise. Holding your breath while lifting a weight increases your blood pressure dramatically so make sure you are breathing while lifting and lowering the weights.
- Take it slow! Each rep should take up to 6 seconds.
- Rest 60 seconds between sets!
- Slow and controlled movements are preferable for muscle development as well as safety. Performing the exercise slowly also allows you time to ensure proper form.
- Choose a weight that you can lift 10 to 15 times fairly easily. It is better to start with light weights and gradually increase as your body becomes accustomed to exercise.
- 15 repetitions per set is a good number to start with when you first begin an exercise program. Performing 15 repetitions will build strength and endurance without the higher risk of injury that comes with doing lower numbers of repetitions with heavier weights.
- Changing your exercises, reps, sets, and weight every few weeks will help prevent injuries and boredom and will provide better results than doing the same workout for months at a time.
- An easy way to change your workout is to increase the weight once you are able to do 15 repetitions on your last set of each exercise. Initially you will not be able to do as many repetitions with the new, higher weight but gradually you will work back up to 15 repetitions.
- 8 to 12 repetitions will build strength. 12 to 15 repetitions will build muscular endurance.
- When you first start, your exercise routine should include just one set of each exercise. After a few workouts you can add a second and eventually a third set.
Fingers and hands can be hurt if they are in the wrong place. The equipment can be damaged if not used properly.
You can be injured by an elastic exercise band if it breaks or comes loose from its anchor. Keep bands away from sharp edges. Check the band every few weeks. They wear out over time, especially if exposed to sunlight when stored.
Recovery from activity is needed by everyone. You will need 48 hours between weight lifting exercise sessions. Initially you may be sore following your workouts. This is normal and will decrease as you improve your fitness level.