Once you have mastered LEVEL ONE of our LEVELUp Your Fitness Strategy:
The improved cardio-respiratory fitness you will get from mastering LEVEL ONE has many benefits, including increased longevity (low cardio-respiratory fitness is associated with twice the incidence of all-cause mortality).
However, an independent factor, muscular strength (along with mass), provides an increased longevity boost of a similar magnitude.
Muscular fitness also improves:
So to get the full complement of benefits from exercise, we recommend that you LEVELUp by:
Resistance training is any exercise where your muscles resist external forces.
This external resistance can come from your body weight, weights (barbells, dumbbells), machines, bands, or anything heavy!
The goal is to improve muscular fitness by increasing:
For beginners, this means either two full-body workouts - for more advanced programs, this could represent multiple split-body workouts each week.
What are the six major muscle groups?
Which exercises hit the major muscle groups?
There is a limitless supply of exercises to choose from for resistance training, and it can be challenging for beginners to prioritize specific exercises over others.
Choosing the exercises for your workout can be simplified by focusing on four major categories of exercises.
A functional full-body workout includes at least one exercise from each of these four categories. These four categories will cover the major muscle groups.
If you are creating your workout, choose four exercises, one from each category!
Here is an example of a weight training workout that incorporates an exercise from each of the four categories:
Variables for Resistance Training
How many times you perform an exercise in a row (i.e. 10 squats).
How many times you perform a group of reps (i.e. 2 sets of 10 squats). Perform all sets of a given exercise before moving on to the next.
How much resistance you use (i.e. a load of 20 lbs, a red resistance band pulled back 1 meter away, your body weight).
How long to take a break before repeating another set of the given exercise (i.e. 1-minute rest between sets of push-ups).
Recovery is the process of allowing the body to recover from the training stimulus. Muscles are damaged slightly during resistance training and take about 48 hours to recover and get stronger, making sure not to train the same muscles hard every day. Getting proper sleep, nutrition, and taking time off of hard training is essential to maximize recovery.
Training to Failure
Training to failure means performing as many reps as possible of a given exercise until the muscles can no longer produce enough force to overcome the resistance or until the proper technique starts to break down. Perform most exercises within a few reps of failure (about 0-4) to ensure the muscles are challenged enough to drive adaptation.
Guidelines for the Workout
There are many ways to train, but we recommend that beginners utilize the following guidelines:
Need help starting resistance training?
Get a personalized fitness plan to help you get started, progress or improve your enjoyment of physical activity
The TARGET Fitness Plan gives you expert advice to transform your exercise habits - whether you are getting started or want to improve your current program. Our exercise physiologist will assess what you are currently doing and provide you with a personalized fitness plan based on the LEVEL Up Your Fitness Strategy.
NEXT Week - Part 2 - Tips on Resistance Training
Dr. Brendan Byrne