Strength Training for Fitness: 3 Things You Should Know before Beginning Your Program

You know that it is time for change. You have finally motivated yourself to start going to the gym, may be a little nervous underneath, but ready to start the journey.
05072016-1
You have a $20/month membership to XX gym that you have been paying for for the past several months, but only went here and there and hopped one of the 50 treadmills usually isolated from the rest of the gym.

Finally this time you go in, and you are ready to begin a REAL program…but there is just one problem.

You don’t really have any idea where to start.

Here are 3 things you should be pretty concise on before you even begin your fitness program:

1.) Be Very Clear and Very Realistic About What You Want To Do

This is where a good amount of people struggle. You walk in the gym and start doing exercises but fail to understand why you are really doing them.

Establish your goals.

Do you want to “lose weight”?

Do you want more energy?

Do you want to get “toned”?

Put something down. But also keep in mind that the more specific you are in your goals, the more clearly you will be able to see them.

Lose weight is vague.

Losing 10 pounds in 2 months is a lot more specific.

Don’t just workout to workout.

Work out to achieve something.

Also, be realistic about your goals. Do not try to look like the girl from the video on Facebook or Instagram doing burpee backflips through a swing set and bound up 10 steps at a time.

Thats not for everybody. In fact, that’s not for a lot of people.

Keep it real with yourself.

2.) Understand the Body and How Different Types of Training Affect It.

Announcement: Treadmills and running are not THE solution to complete fitness.

If you are trying increase your energy levels, or accelerate fat loss and put on more muscle, understand that you will need to incorporate resistance training into your routine.

While running makes for a good aerobic exercise and is a solid way to lose some calories, you won’t get “leaner” just from cardio.

When you have a better understanding of the different energy systems that the body uses and the adaptations that take place, then you are better able to manipulate your results.

For instance, knowing how to increase or decrease reps during sets will affect your strength and or endurance.

Knowing when to decrease rest in between those sets will also not only effect muscle growth, but also fat burn long after the workout is over.

Steady state, or cardio training lacks this effect.

If you are training for strength, use challenging resistance with low to moderate reps but increase your rest between sets to allow for adequate recovery.

If training to get toned or muscle growth, you can increase the amount of reps, while also reducing the amount of rest between sets, and slowly progress your work to rest ratio to increase the challenge.

Knowing this simple fact can greatly change your results.

Understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss. Though they are closely related, fat loss is not necessarily a result of weight loss, since you can burn fat without actually losing weight. If your aim to to get lean and you are looking to accelerate fat loss, then incorporating the right strength training program is essential.

…which is a good lead into our next point.

3.) Incorporating Loaded and Unloaded Power Exercises

Adding explosive exercises to your program like box jumps, kettle bell swings, burpees, hang cleans, squat jumps are a great way to stimulate muscle growth and really activate the central nervous systems and elicit different hormonal responses within your body.

They can be a combination of Olympic lifts like barbell deadlift, to hang cleans, or if not that advanced yet, partial Olympic lifts like clean pulls.

Essentially, full body explosive movements will recruit more muscles and promote muscle growth and accelerate fat loss.

Advanced explosive exercises like hang cleans or power cleans/snatches should only be performed if properly coached and your are ready.

Starting off with simple bodyweight squat jumps, or box jumps are still an extremely easy and efficient way to train explosive muscles.

As you start to get adjusted then you can simply add resistance through holding dumbbells, increasing height of the box, increasing weight of the dumbbells, or move on to more advanced exercises.

The following are Power exercises that you can add to your routine in order of beginner to more advanced.

Beginner:

Squat Jump
Box Jump
Single Leg Box Jumps
Hurdle Jumps
Lateral Hurdle Jumps
“Burpee”

Intermediate:

Hang Pulls
Clean Pulls
Clean Shrugs
Clean High Pulls
Dumbbell High Pull
Bounding (Body Weight)
Kettle Bell Swings
Push Press

Advanced:

Hang Clean
Power Clean
Dumbbell Snatch
Seated box Jump

Though these might seem like an extensive list, these are just a few that we sometimes use at WPT.

Incorporating full body explosive movements in your routine as they target large and small muscle groups, stimulate muscle growth, and also can enhance overall movement patterns.

***

So the next time you walk into your gym, take these few simple tips and incorporate them into your routine.

One of the best things you can do is arm yourself with knowledge, which will give you the ability to directly manipulate he results you want.


Leave a Reply