Strength training is perfect exercise for everyone, really
As trainers, we often hear the question "So what do your workouts look like?"
Of course, no "one" workout is perfect for everyone, but one type of exercise all our trainers practice, regardless of their goals, is strength training.
Strength training involves exercising with a load, such as barbells, dumbbells, or bodyweight in a manner that causes momentary muscle failure. As an effect, your body rebuilds and comes back just a little stronger the next time around. Building and maintaining our muscle mass is one of the most effective ways to stay strong, functional, and metabolically efficient as we age.
Here are three popular exercises you'll see our trainers performing on a weekly basis.
The Deadlift. This total body exercise demands strength, power, cardiovascular efficiency, and postural control. When performed correctly, the deadlift works the entire posterior chain -- including the hamstrings; glutes; low, mid and upper back; as well as muscles of the quads, core, shoulders and arms.
Step up to a weighted barbell with shins nearly touching the bar and feet hip to shoulder width apart. Squat down toward the bar as you keep your heels firmly planted while maintaining a natural curve through the back. Grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder width and tense your body. As you lift the weight, push your feet into the floor while exhaling. Be sure to keep the bar close to the body as you lift. Maintain your posture throughout the lift, keeping tension through your shoulder blades as you rise to the top position. Control the weight back down to the floor and repeat.
Walking Lunges. The lunge may seem like a simple concept, but attempt to walk the length of the gym while lunging and you may be surprised how much cardiovascular efficiency and balance this exercise requires.
When performed with a set of dumbbells held in each hand at shoulder height, the walking lunge works many of the same muscles as the deadlift, but with the added benefit of overall stabilization and balance. Since you are stepping and bringing one foot off the floor, the shifting of weight adds a form of functionality that helps us move better on a daily basis.
The Pushup. This bodyweight exercise is one of the most popular exercises due to its simplicity and effectiveness. It can be done literally anywhere with no added equipment.
To perform, take a traditional pushup position with hands slightly narrower than shoulder width apart, feet hip width apart, and maintain a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Slowly drop your chest towards the floor as you bend your elbows to 90 degrees, pause, and then exhale as you push back to the top.
An easier version can be done from the knees rather than the toes, and for those of you who need more of a challenge, try a pushup with your feet elevated on a bench or bar.
So be sure to include these exercises often in your workouts and you'll see why they are some of our trainers' favorites. For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our blog and social media resources.
• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.