I still remember the agony of hanging from a pull-up bar in elementary school gym class and trying with all my strength to lift myself up. The other children seemed to be naturally endowed with physical abilities, but I came to believe that using their arms to answer questions in class was the best.
Still, I’ve been enjoying my physical strength since then. I took a weightlifting course in college and loved how building muscle felt. I discovered the satisfaction of being able to carry more than that.
Beyond the instinctive pleasure of feeling strong, I also recognize the health benefits of building muscle. A combination of two rounds of strength training has been found to not only increase lifespan, but also improve people’s quality of life and health. Numerous studies have found that resistance training is good for mental health. It has been shown to positively affect cognition and reduce depression and anxiety. Evidence also suggests that it makes our bodies feel better.
But every time I did enough strength training to see progress, my commitment eventually wore off, mainly because of the demands of everyday life. I have pursued the path of least resistance, both literally and figuratively. Most people also struggle to find time for strength training, and while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that an adult do her strength training twice a week, this He met the standard only 31% of the time. So I asked exercise psychologists, scientists, trainers, and muscle evangelists for their best advice for starting his routine of sustained strength training. Here’s what I learned.
If you haven’t done a lot of strength training, or haven’t done it in a while, experts recommend starting with short but consistent strength training. “Set yourself some small goals,” Corbell says, “some movement is better than no movement.”
how small? Exercise scientists suggest strength training for 20 minutes twice a week, he 3 times a week, maybe he 10-15 minutes, depending on your schedule, needs and desires.
This is backed up by another recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The study found that just 30-60 minutes of strength training per week had significant long-term benefits, including a 10-20% reduction in risk of death. , cardiovascular disease and cancer. (Notably, the effect leveled off at 1 hour a week and decreased at 2 hours.)
Fitness marketing often tries to convince us that any routine worth doing requires fancy devices or specialized gear, when in reality very few do. “Strength training doesn’t have to mean barbells, super-heavy weights, and lots of equipment,” says Anne Brady, professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Muscle-building exercises that rely on your body weight, such as push-ups, planks, and sit-to-stands (sometimes called chair-rises), can be incredibly effective when done correctly and consistently. Equipment can be incorporated at any time as it improves.
Accept that you are a beginner.
Starting a strength training routine with little or no experience can be daunting, especially if you’re exercising in a gym or public place, or if you’re a more experienced exerciser. I have.
Many of us “live by the standard that we need to look like we already know what we’re doing,” according to the popular lifting newsletters “She’s a Beast” and “Liftoff: Couch to Barbell.” “It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to ask questions.”
Above all, learning proper form and which movements are the safest for your body can help prevent injuries and promote a sustained routine. Consider hiring a certified personal trainer to guide you through a few virtual or in-person sessions. Also, if you work out at the gym, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for guidance.
What are the advantages of starting from scratch? Your strength increases exponentially at first. “I think most people would be surprised at how much faster and stronger they are than they are,” Johnston said. After a few sessions, she said, “You’ll really feel the difference in how your body functions.”
Do it early in the day.
you are like me and often schedule I do strength training at night, but after 5:00, I feel like I can’t get myself off the couch, so experts recommend making time early in the morning.
There is a reason for this. Research shows that the more self-control you exercise during the day, the less you need to feed at night. “So if you’re trying to exercise self-control and plan to exercise in the evening,” I’d be surprised if you gave in to the desire to eat vegetables instead of exercising in front of your phone or TV. It doesn’t matter. Elizabeth Hathaway, professor of exercise psychology and health behavior change at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said: “Self-control is not an infinite resource.”
Try the Temptation Bundle
Need an extra push? Kelly Strohacker, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who studies health behavior change, suggests a behavioral economics hack called “temptation bondage.”
It works like this: The possibility of doing the latter by “bundling” something we love and look forward to, for example, our favorite podcasts and TV shows, gripping audiobooks and playlists, with challenging activities. can be increased. “Simply put these together to soften the initial ‘I don’t really want to do it, but I know I should,'” Dr. Strohacker said. The key, though, is to allow yourself to indulge in that particular pleasure only while you’re working out.
Wear (pretty much) whatever you want.
If the thought of changing into a particular “athletic outfit” is a barrier to strength training, don’t worry.
“Wear whatever you feel comfortable with,” said Dr. Brady. “The most important thing is that you can move freely through different ranges of motion.” , no need to buy special wicking exercise equipment.
Remember the goal is to move forward.
Show self-compassion if you have to miss a session, said Dr. Strohacker. However, it is important to maintain it for the rest of your life.
“Our culture strongly pushes this narrative of ‘if you really want to do it, you can do it,'” she said. “This is a huge oversimplification.” Her life happens. Research shows that the true path to longevity and consistency in any activity is to “enjoy it and feel a sense of accomplishment,” she added. This will be easier if you celebrate and find a way to get back together when you get off course.
Consider a couch workout!
If the desire to spend time on your couch is overwhelming you, make it work. Use the sofa as equipment to facilitate your workout.
With a couch, you can do sit-to-stand exercises, Dr. Brady says. You can turn around and do push-ups or planks.
Or, if you prefer to watch TV while you’re working from your couch, pick a show with commercials and try the “Commercial Challenge”. Place the hand weights at your sides and lift until the program returns. Make sure you can maintain good posture and form.
“I don’t want to move my back like a shrimp,” she said. But if she can “keep her hips in place, her spine in line, her shoulders back and her feet touching the ground,” there’s a lot she can do on the couch.
Try this 20 minute starter routine.
Ready to get started? Dr. Brady recommends starting with this basic strength-building routine. All you need is your body and a set of Resistance bands that you can buy online.
Do each exercise in turn 10 to 15 times, then come back and repeat the second set. Exercise should alternate between muscle groups and be done at moderate intensity.
1. push ups (Also modified push ups)
3. Seated rows with resistance bands
Four. groot bridge
Five. Overhead press with resistance bands
6. bird dog
7. Pulldowns with resistance bands
Daniel Friedman © 2022 The New York Times
This article was originally published in The New York Times.