What Are Strength Training Activities?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

women exercising

Strength training is any practice or exercise specifically designed to increase muscle tone, strength, and fitness. Concerned that strength training will make you bulky and too muscle-y? You are not alone. Many women share your fear! The good news is that strength training is more about toning muscle than building it up, and lean muscle is more compact than fat, so strength training can actually make you smaller, not larger.

Examples of strength training activities include:

  • Using your own body (e.g., push-ups, squats, etc.)

  • Using resistance bands

  • Using weights or things around the house (like soup cans) for exercises like bicep curls

  • Using weight equipment at a gym like a leg curl machine

Experts recommend that we do 8 to 10 strength training exercises on 2 or more days a week. Be sure to include exercises for all major muscle groups including arms, legs, back, and chest. For each exercise, try to do 8 to 12 repetitions (for example, when doing bicep curls, lift and lower the weights 8 to 12 times—slowly). As you get stronger, you may want to build up to 2 to 3 sets of exercises for each major muscle group.

Check out our fabulous Strength Training Guide for some exercises to try out!

It’s important to listen to your body and give yourself enough time to recover between exercises. Also, give each major muscle group 1 to 2 days off before hitting the strength training for that muscle group again.

Strength Training Tip! Use your strength training time more efficiently by alternating muscle groups between sets. For example, once you’ve done 8 to 12 repetitions of bicep curls, do some squats while your arms recover before your next set of exercises using your arms. Ready for more? Plan your strength training for the week with the Weekly Activity Plan.

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