7 Tips on How to Improve Your Strength
Are you curious about how to improve your strength, but not quite sure what to do or how to get started? You’re not alone. Starting a new exercise program or workout can be intimidating, and even more so, trying to figure out how to use unfamiliar or complicated gym equipment.
The good news is strength training can be pretty straightforward and if you want, it can even be done in the comfort of your home. You don’t need fancy machines to give your muscles a great workout and increase your strength, just your own body.
There are countless exercises you can do to work a wide range of muscles and increase your muscle tone using free weights, exercise bands or even your own body weight. On top of this, the health benefits of strength training are impressive.
What Are the Benefits of Strength Training?
Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Increasing muscle strength and tone is likely your primary goal for strength training, but did you know there are many other amazing health benefits strength training has to offer?
Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of strength training and ways you can improve your strength:1,2
- Muscle burns fat: Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more you burn — even when you’re resting.
- Increases your bone strength and density: Maintaining strong healthy bones not only can help to prevent injury, but also reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Boosts your mood: Physical activity helps to increase the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormone, which may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Helps you sleep better: Falling asleep, staying asleep and the functioning of your internal clock (circadian rhythm) may be improved.
- Reduces your risk of diabetes: Increased muscle mass helps regulate your blood sugar, making you more sensitive to insulin.
- Reduces your risk from other chronic conditions: Strength training improves your overall health and can help reduce your risk for heart disease, arthritis, and back pain.
7 Tips for an Effective Exercise Routine to Improve Strength
These seven tips can help you create a successful strength training routine:3
- Make a routine and stick to it
Making the choice to improve your strength is an important first step. Next is finding and committing to a workout that’s right for you. You’re more likely to continue doing something when it’s something you enjoy. That’s not to say there won’t be some days where motivation is nowhere to be found. But finding routines that feel good to your body help motivate you to continue.
- Create a workout space at home or join your local gym
You can get similar benefits whether you workout at a gym or in your home. Joining a local gym can offer a variety of options, but there’s also a plethora of online resources you can use to get you started. For example there are websites and apps available that will guide you through each workout in the convenience and privacy of your own home (at no additional cost).
- Warm-up and cool down
Don’t forget to spend at least five to 10 minutes at the beginning and end of each workout to warm up and cool down. Not only does this help avoid injury, but also helps gradually increase your heart rate and blood flow throughout your body.
- Practice good form
Having good form is an important part of any type of exercise. In fact, doing fewer repetitions of a movement with excellent form can be more effective than doing more repetitions with poor form. Make sure to use slow and controlled movements, and focus on lifting and lowering each movement at an even pace.
- Focus on your breath
Focusing on your breathing during strength training exercises is very important. Inhale through your nose as you contract your muscles and exhale through your mouth as you relax your muscles. This helps prevent your muscles from cramping.
- Resistance train at least twice a week
Ideally, you want to work each major muscle group at least two times each week. You can either focus one day on your upper body and one day on your lower body, or you can alternate. One week, on two separate days, focus on your lower body and the other week, focus on your upper body, or even better you can do a full-body workout two times a week.
- Give yourself a break
Starting any kind of workout that involves your muscles can make you a little sore. So, give your muscles a chance to recover for at least 48 hours after you workout.
Whether exercise is new for you or you’ve been doing it for a while, adding in strength training is a great way to increase your lean muscle and improve your strength. Take your time and listen to your body, if something doesn’t feel right, back off and go slower.
Make your exercise routine work for you. As you continue strength training, it will become easier and you will become stronger!