In order to get stronger it makes sense that we need to get better at moving weight around. Once you have gotten used to using your own body weight to begin building a strength foundation, it is time to add additional load. The body adapts quickly and creating lean muscle is without doubt the smartest, quickest way to develop shape, definition, strength and power. Fear not if bulking up is a concern – if you have your nutrition down pat then heaving some weights around will be your road to transformation.
I used to be an utter weakling who focused solely on running, cycling and swimming to get fit. I had absolutely no upper body strength so you can imagine how feeble my swimming was. At first I didn’t really know what I was doing in the weights room and started by copying what other girls were doing. It was once I had me a proper, structured program that I first began to see the changes I was hoping for. It does take time to build muscle but for those new to weight training the good news is that newbies see the biggest and quickest results. The gains get smaller the longer you do it so by then you need to manipulate protocols and find cheeky new ways to surprise the body into continuing to develop muscle.
Here is a strength circuit you can do with relatively little equipment. If you don’t have access to barbells or a gym you can always use dumbbells, kettlebells or a medicine ball to create resistance.
As with any workout warm up the whole body gradually for 5-10 minutes first. Quality of movement is always the most important focus – tap into what muscles you should be using.
Weight selection: choose a decent weight that will challenge you to push through the last few reps. Never compromise form over load. If you are newer to strength training it may take you a couple of times to suss out what you can and can’t lift – all part of the process!
Sets: 2-3 depending on level of fitness and time available.
Level: (Intermediate: 3/5)
PRINTABLE WORKOUT LOG:Strength Training 2.0.pdf
Target zone: Gluts, quadriceps, hamstrings
Points to note: Abs activated, dig through heels to stand up.
2. CHEST PRESS
Target zone: Chest, triceps & shoulders
Points to note: Movement over heart not neck/face; stabilize core.
Target zone: Back, gluts, hamstrings
Points to note: Maintain neutral spine throughout movement; hinge from hips.
4. BICEP CURL
Target zone: Eating, drinking muscles!
Points to note: Keep elbows pointing towards floor & body still to isolate the muscle activation.
5. LATERAL LUNGE
Reps: 12-15 each side
Target zone: Legs, core
Points to note: Keep bar horizontal & body upright; push hips back.
Target zone: Core, lats, triceps
Points to note: Maintain ab connection to prevent back arching away from
Modification: Feet down or one leg extension only.
Progression: Double leg extension; arms & legs travelling longer & lower.
7. TRICEP KICKBACK
Target zone: Good bye muscles!
Points to note: Keep elbow high & hinge from elbow to fist; avoid rotating torso.
8. SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT
Target zone: Legs, balance
Points to note: Hinge at hip; maintain a neutral spine; extend back leg behind to emphasise glut activation.
9. SHOULDER PRESS
Target zone: Er, shoulders
Points to note: Split stance with weight through front leg & abs engaged to avoid undue pressure
through lower back.
10. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
Target zone: Core
Points to note: Keep back flat; hips rotate not shoulders; pull knee to opposite elbow, alternating sides.
Photo credits: Unsplash
S – T – R – E – T – C – H
Strength training will complement any other training you do; it can give you lean muscle definition; it will help boost your metabolism enabling you to burn more energy even when at rest and, best of all, feeling strong boosts your confidence and makes you walk taller (I used to be 3 foot tall!).
Here’s what you’ll need to reap all the benefits :