As a personal trainer, one of the top comments I hear from clients is that they want to “tone up.” Some even go as far to tell me which area of their body needs said toning. What they’re really saying is that they want more muscle and for that muscle to be defined. In order to gain muscle (and cut fat, which will give that defined look), you have to get stronger. To get stronger, you need to strength train.
Training to gain strength dates back centuries when warriors picked up heavy rocks and hurled them as far as they could as a way to prepare for the battlefields. Gladiators made hand-held “weights” to help prepare for their fight-to-the-death matches. Thankfully, we have become a little more civilized in our modern strength training quest, but it wasn’t until about 50 years ago that lifting weights became somewhat common practice. Today, strength training is one of the top 5 fitness trends for 2015, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Fortunately, there are multiple avenues for pursuing strength training – body weight training, free weights, weight machines, suspension training and plyometric exercises…just to name a few. There are plenty of mitigating factors that would lead me to choose certain modalities of training over others for each client with which I work, such as their exercise experience and medical conditions. No one plan will work for everyone. If it did, my profession wouldn’t exist! Strength training protocols follow a progressive approach, allowing for novices and more advanced athletes to work within the same framework. So while the exercises, amount of weight lifted and volume (sets/reps) may differ from one person to the next, the same, basic principles still apply. Getting into the exact number of sets, reps, rest time, etc. goes beyond this blog post and would be better handled individually anyway. The point of all of this though, is that if you want more muscle/to see your muscles more defined, you have to strength train!
Good news! This post isn’t all talk about weight lifting…there is an actual workout below! Quick gym plug: the RFC recently expanded its facilities, adding almost 7000 square feet of weight and cardio space. Come check us out! Ok, now for the workout. I’ve provided a full body strength training workout that encompasses most of the above listed modalities to give you a well-balanced workout. Certainly modify any of the exercises as you need. You could take this plan as is or pick and choose exercises to incorporate into your existing plan. Bottom line: JUST LIFT!
Full Body Strength Training – a general routine
Complete 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise. Reduce range of motion and/or modify exercises as needed. Before starting a new exercise routine, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. Depending on your specific health condition, some of the exercises below may not be appropriate for you.
….and for your printing pleasure: Full Body Strength Training by Brittany Skillman
Now, hit the gym!
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