Understanding Strength Training

Health Check

picture of weight machines

Understanding strength training is important since The American College of Sports Medicine, the nation’s leading authority on fitness, states the following. “Aerobic exercise 20-30 minutes per day, 3 times a week, is not enough to promote optimum fitness.” Consequently, we all need resistive weight exercises at least three times a week for 15-20 minutes. If done correctly, this will increase strength in all the major muscle groups. Especially relevant is the fact that strengthening in this manner also promotes good posture. Probably more than ever before in our history, Americans suffer from degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and low back pain. As a result, we need to strengthen muscles to decrease pressure on joints and prevent thinning of bones (osteoporosis).

According to recommendations, each strength training session should consist of ten exercises that work each of the major muscle groups. So, consider working the following muscle groups.

1) Upper back (latissimus dorsi, or lats) and chest (pectorals)
2) Lower back (lumbar muscle) and abdomen
3) Front and back of thighs (quadriceps and hamstring)
4) Shoulders (deltoids)
5) Front and back of the arms (biceps and triceps)

Furthermore, The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that satisfactory strength development is achievable from one set of eight to twelve repetitions per exercise.

Understanding Strength Training – Is It Appropriate?

In addition to the benefit that results from decreasing the probability of degenerative conditions, studies have shown that combining aerobic activity with strength training is a very effective way to burn calories. Most noteworthy is that this combination burns more calories that aerobic activity alone.

In conclusion, consider pulling those old weights out of your closet or basement and adding a well-balanced strength routine to your aerobic program. Also, remember to check with your physician before starting this or any exercise program.

Please refer to patient education for other brief articles in our educational series. It is through these articles, in part, that we keep our patients (and others) informed of common injuries and conditions, their treatment and healthcare in general.