Today's Friday 5 theme is FITNESS! (per the rules of the Friday 5 Link Up).
Even though I am technically not a personal trainer anymore, I still learned a lot while studying for my certification. So I thought I would share with you some general tips about weight training.
Note: Never substitute my advice for the advice of a doctor or fitness professional! I am just sharing what I have learned over the years which MAY or MAY NOT work for you! One thing I know is every BODY is different.
1. Warm up! Just like you would warm up before a hard running workout, it is just as important to warm up your muscles before lifting heavy. Do some dynamic movements like jumping jacks, leg swings, arm circles, shoulder rotations, body squats/lunges, or even the elliptical to get your blood flowing. Then, be sure to do one or two light sets before putting on the heavy weights. For instance, I always do a set of chest press @ 15lbs before I do a set with 30lbs.
2. Quality vs. quantity. Pick exercises that target big muscle groups so you can get more bang for your buck. For instance, you can work all your major muscle groups even if all you did were pull ups, push ups, squats, and dead lifts. Isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep dips are fine (I do them!) but save them for last. And they should be the first things to go if you're pressed for time.
3. Make sure you are using the correct weights. If you can do 20 reps of something, that's probably too much. Find a weight where you can do 6-12 reps (depending on your goal!). The last two reps should be difficult, but you should still be able to complete them with proper form.
4. Aim for 2 full body workouts a week on 2 nonconsecutive days. For a runner who wants to gain strength and become a more well rounded athlete, two strength workouts is absolutely enough to gain strength and build muscle. Obviously some will do more and some will do less. I think two is the sweet spot if you are just getting started! And remember, these workouts don't need to be an hour and a half long! You can get an effective full body workout done in 45-60 minutes.
5. Hire a trainer! I learned so much when I hired a trainer to teach me how to weight train correctly. Yes, it was expensive, but the knowledge I gained was priceless, and I will have that forever!