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Lifting for
Life

Written by Vitality Clinician Jonathan Kibble
You’ve heard it called many names; strength training, weight training, pumping iron and lifting, but what does it all mean? It means, training with some form of resistance. Whether that be a dumbbell at a gym, a box at work, your kid at the park or just your bodyweight. The point is, resistance training can happen anywhere, any time and can benefit everyone. The best part is, you don’t have to put on your best string vest and head into the gym.

When you think of resistance training you may think of the bulging biceps of Arnold Schwarzenegger but there are many benefits other than helping you tone up.

Top three benefits of resistance training:

  1. Resistance training will help you burn fat – Not only will you burn calories while resistance training but that little bit extra muscle you build will increase your metabolism so you burn more calories even when just sat at your desk at work!
  2. It also helps with posture – If you’re sat at a desk all day your posture can suffer. Resistance training can help reverse this by strengthening the muscles that become weak. Rounded over shoulders at your desk? Give the seated row machine a go and squeeze those shoulders back and down while you pull towards you.
  3. Stay flexible and strong for years to come - No matter what resistance training you’re doing, you’re probably moving your joints through large ranges of motion they wouldn’t go through otherwise. This keeps your joints strong and supple. As you age your bone density and muscle mass generally decreases therefore making you more likely to get injured or pull something. Resistance training can reverse this to keep you strong and injury free!

Those benefits sound great I here you say; but how do I go about resistance training? There are so many articles out there it can get very confusing. Three easy tips to start resistance training would be:
  1. Get a workout buddy – It’s a lot easier to do something with a friend, especially if you haven’t done it before and need a bit of motivation. Grab a friend, a free room at work and give some bodyweight moves a go!
  2. Make a simple plan and stick to it – It could just be to do four upper body exercises on a Monday and four lower body exercises on a Friday. A good starting point would be to do three sets of twelve reps on each exercise with one minute rest between sets. Take your time and focus on good technique.
  3. Take some classes at your local gym to learn movements – Once you’ve mastered machine or bodyweight exercises, classes are a great (and cheap) way to learn movements with free weights; the instructor will help you with your technique. With this knowledge you can carry on doing the classes or go out into the gym with the new techniques you’ve learnt.

If you have a quick bit of time spare on your lunch break at work and don’t have much equipment try: five rounds of twenty jump squats, twenty lunges, ten burpees and ten press ups. This could be done in a spare room at work! This incorporates resistance training but you’ll also get your heart rate up and get a cardiovascular benefit too!