Whether you are new to strength training or struggling to make resistance training a routine, it’s a good idea to start with the basics and steadily build your way to a consistent routine and follow it with discipline.
Strength training or resistance training refers to any exercise where you are working against resistance such as weights, resistance bands, or even your own body weight.
Regardless of your age or level of fitness, engaging in strength training will benefit you. It makes you stronger and more injury-resistant by increasing bone density and strengthening the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding your joints. Along with other benefits like reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol, strengthened heart and blood vessels, it also helps minimize the risk associated with ageing, ranging from falls or osteoporosis.
Further it can burn calories and reduce body fat more efficiently than cardio, by keeping your metabolism elevated for days after each workout. It is even more effective for flexibility than certain styles of stretching. It helps improve mood, reduce depression and might have protective effects against dementia and cognitive decline.
Despite having a plethora of benefits, strength training can be intimidating due to the use of weights which is why using your own body weight to strength train is a good place to start. But, if you are looking to level up and invest in some equipment, you can go a long way with some dumbbells and resistance bands.
When it comes to beginner strength training, it’s important to start small, focus on exercises that target major muscle groups while also promoting proper form and technique. Before you start, remember to warm up. You can go for a 5-minute jog, do some stretching or aerobics.
Here are a few highly effective, lower body strength training exercises that are great for beginners:
Targeted areas: Squats are a fundamental lower-body exercise that targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body by bending your knees, and then push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Targeted areas: Lunges work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Push off with your front foot to return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
3. Glute Bridges
Targeted areas: Glute bridges strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Push through your heels, lifting your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a second and then lower back down.
Targeted areas: Deadlifts are a compound exercise that engages your entire posterior chain, including your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a barbell in front of you. Bend your knees, keeping your back straight, and lift the barbell by driving through your heels.
Remember, when using external weights, it’s crucial to start with lighter weights and focus on proper form and technique. Gradually increase the weights as you become more comfortable and stronger. It’s also a good idea to consult with a fitness professional to ensure you’re performing the exercises correctly and safely, rest in between sets and take rest days, to help your muscles recover and get stronger.
Ready to give it a try? Share your strength training journey with us.
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