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How to start a Strength Program

If you read our most recent blog post, we talked about how vital strength training is for your health as well as sporting performance. World Health Organisation guidelines for activity for adults tell us we should all be performing strength exercises at least twice a week. So how do you go about that without breaking the bank or spending your life in the gym?

  1. Schedule two sessions a week, for 30 minutes. You will perform 5 or 6 exercises and can do this at home with minimal equipment to begin with. Some dumbells or resistance bands can be enough to start with. You will probably progress fairly quickly and either set up a home gym or join a commercial facility. If you get hooked you can hit the weights 3 or 4 times a week.
  2. This will be a “full body split” program. Split refers to how you “split up” your exercises over a week. More advanced trainers split the week’s sessions up according to body parts (arm day, leg day). Let’s keep things simple and do a variety of exercises targeting ALL the major muscle groups at each session.
  3. We will do an exercise for each of the following fundamental movement patterns: Squat, lift from the floor, upper body push, upper body pull and core.
  4. After a 5 minute warm up consisting of a walk, bike and some stretches we will perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. To save time you can perform these as a circuit with minimal rest between each exercise, having a longer rest between each round of exercises. It could look like this

– Bodyweight squat to a chair x 10

– Kettlebell Deadlift x 10 (use bucket of water)

– Push up x 10 (knees or full)

– Single arm dumbbell row x 10 (use tin of paint)

– Bridge x 10

– Rest 3 minutes, then repeat above 2 more times

  1. Progress slowly week to week by adding weight or making the exercises more difficult. You could do single leg bridges, full pushups or feet on a step for example.
  2. As always, if you have any medical conditions or injury concerns that need addressing, a visit to your GP or to us at Parkside Sports Physio is a great idea to start your strength training experience safely.