We all know strength training is important…for so many reasons!
- You will lose bodyfat and gain muscle.
- Your clothes will fit better.
- It’s so important for injury prevention. Doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or not…lifting helps with joint and bone health for later in life!
- You will gain confidence.
- Lifting will help you if you do other sports as well, such as running, cycling, etc.
Well, I know all of this but have totally been slacking in the strength training department! It’s probably been over a month since I have strength trained. I have done core work but it’s been hard to balance running and strength training. The main issue I have is that after a run I am not really wanting to lift weights. But I plan on starting to lift again because I know how important it is. I DO miss squats, lunges, pull-ups…especially pull-ups! I was finally able to do unassisted pull-ups but probably lost all that strength.
This week, I plan on trying out a BodyPump class at my gym. I have never done one but I’ve seen Olive to Run‘s posts and instagram pictures which got my curious!
So, since I’m going to start strength training again, I wanted to leave you with my favorite exercises I love to do. I will list 1-2 for each major muscle group. Feel free to let me know if you have questions about form or technique!
Split Squat: One of the best lower body exercises, especially for those with knee issues or knee pain. Really hits the quads and glutes. Here’s a how-to video I made for this.
Back squats: Obviously. But only if you can do it with correct form! If you are trying it for the first time, ask a floor trainer to help you.
Romanian Deadlift: Really hits those hamstrings and lower back. Start with light dumbbells and work your way up. Always, always, ALWAYS maintain a flat back.
Swiss Ball Leg Curls: Another great hamstring, glute and core exercise. Once you master this, try single-legged.
Single-Leg Deadlift: If you’re a runner, this is a must! Hits hamstrings but you work on hip strength too because you are balancing.
Pull-ups (assisted or unassisted): I like neutral grip, because it hits both lats and biceps. For more biceps, you can do supinated grip (palms facing towards you), and for more lats, you can do palms facing out (hardest grip).
Single Arm Dumbbell Row: Great for back strength!
Pushups: no explanation needed. Basically a full-body exercise. Just always maintain a flat back and don’t let your hips sag!
Dumbbell Overhead Press: Hits chest but shoulders too. A lot of people have weak shoulders, and this is a great way to target them. You can do both arms or single arms.
You may have noticed I left out chest exercises like bench presses, or any time of press for that matter. I try to limit chest exercises because seeing as I (and most Americans) sit all day (and probably hunched over), there is no need to do an exercise that will end up shortening your pec muscles and make you appear even more hunched. Back and core strength are more important especially if you are sitting in an office all day.
What are your favorite strength training exercises? Do we share any of the same ones? Let me know what you think!
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