Strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program. Learn exactly what it entails and how to get started.

Here's Why:

Strength training (also called weight lifting) builds lean muscle mass, which increases your physical strength and your bone mass. Examples include:

  • Weight lifting, using:
    • Free weights
    • Weight machines
    • Elastic tubing
  • Calisthenics, such as push ups or chin ups

Here's How:

If you have not lifted weights before, make an appointment with a certified athletic trainer to help you develop a safe strength-training program. You can find a trainer at a local gym or through a referral from your doctor or a friend.

Tips for getting started:

  • Begin each exercise with very low weights and minimal repetitions.
  • Slowly increase weight, never adding more than 10% in a given workout.
  • Do strength-training exercises 2 to 3 times a week. Allow at least one day between each workout for your bones and muscles to rest and restore themselves.
  • Gradually increase the number of repetitions to 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions with a rest period of 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
  • Although stiffness the day after exercise is normal, if you are in pain, you did too much. Decrease the intensity or the duration of your exercise next time.

Note: Before starting any type of exercise program, check with your doctor about any possible medical problems you may have that would limit your exercise program.