Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Strength Training & Feeling Great!

Two weeks ago today, I exposed myself and committed to making some changes in order to improve my strength and personal power. (I feel rather vulnerable as I lose weight, but that sense of vulnerability goes way down when I am lifting weights). Since then, I've been doing upper body strength training a couple times a week. The results are amazing! I am always surprised by how little time and effort it takes for my muscles to start building up and making themselves known. I have only worked my arms four times in two weeks, but you wouldn't believe the difference. No, you can't really *see* the changes yet, but boy do I feel them. So many things are easier with strong arms: mopping, carrying groceries, picking up a child, moving boxes, cleaning, gardening, yard work, etc etc.

I want to challenge you to try strength training. It is SO EASY. Really. It takes almost no time at all. Here is what I do:
biceps curls
triceps kickbacks
wrist curls & reverse wrist curls
counter push-ups (push-ups off the counter instead of the floor)
overhead presses
shoulder flys
bent over rows
dumbbell shrugs
and crunches, just because I like strong abs

It sounds like a lot but it is NOT. I do 2 sets of 12-15 reps of each exercise. I started using 5lb hand weights from Wal Mart. I use 8lbs now.

This whole routine only takes me 15 minutes! Can you spare 15 minutes twice a week?

I am not currently doing any lower body/leg exercises because of my knee issues and time constraints, but I do walk several times a week. I may add leg stuff later. For now I am focusing on my arms, back, shoulders, abs.

Every time I lift I feel powerful. And every time I go to pick something up or move something, I notice the improved strength in my arms. I love this feeling!

I am not a strength training expert. I had no clue what I was doing at first. I didn't want to go to a gym, so I just do this in my bedroom in front of a mirror. When I started out, I Googled a lot of exercises; there is a lot of info online. I also ordered these books. They are SO helpful to me as I change or add to my routine:

Weight Training For Dummies (simple, straightforward, very basic advice for beginners)

Strength Training Anatomy (I love this because it explains the muscle groups and I am a sciency/geeky kind of person who loves to read this kind of thing and look at pictures)

Strength Training for Women (Nice. Teaches how to build strength and tone but not BULK.)

I just ordered this one:
Anatomy for Strength and Fitness Training: An Illustrated Guide to Your Muscles in Action (Because once again, sciency brain)

And this one is next on my list (I love to read!):
The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess

You can find everything you need to begin online, or you can look around for a manual that you can sit down with and flip through as you build your routine. I love this stuff. It is so worth it to me to build strength and definition and feel powerful again. Give it a try! Let me know how you feel after a few weeks!


Andra said...

Strength training rules!

The Lou Shuler book (New Rules of Lifting for Women) has changed my body and my thoughts on working out. It's a fitness myth buster and a tough but amazing workout.

I'm nearly done with Stage 3 and can now deadlift 105 pounds! I'm doing moves that I never even heard of like Romanian single leg deadlifts and loving them. I come from a family of women with no shoulders but I've built myself some very strong ones.

Certifiably Fit said...

I second that Lou Shuler's book "New Rules of Lifting for Women" is excellent. Strength training has some really great benefits and women should not fear getting bulky...we lack the amount of testosterone to really get bulky.

Twix said...

I agree strength training rules!

Don't forget picnic table push ups. Or porch railing push ups. Gets us extra time to be outside to soak up the sunshine!

Before you know it you will be lifting larger weights. Amazing how fast that happens! I find it all sort of addicting, finding that I'm stronger than before and able to do so much more. Way to go you!! :)

Anonymous said...

Well for heavens sake. No wonder you haven't lost much in the last two weeks. Not that you have gained that much muscle, but that the muscles you tear hold a lot of water when they are working to repair themselves and grow.

Tracy said...

Good for you! I love to strength train! :)

spunkysuzi said...

I definitely need to do more strength training!

Becca55 said...

I need to get back into doing my ST routines, thanks for the pep and the ideas for some workouts. I will check my local Library to see if they have a few titles you suggested :)

In Honor of Me! said...

Thanks for coming by to check on me. I am feeling MUCH better. For some reason, I don't know why and I don't want to over think it, I am motivated again. I still want to have the surgery if I can get the money together. But until then, I am working on eating healthy. Maybe my iron levels are getting better cause i have a little more energy than I did.

Thanks for your support from the bottom of my heart!!

I love my blog friends!


Nicole, RD said...

I am new to your blog and just love it! Your progress pictures are AMAZING!!! Especially seeing the body composition difference between your 2 shots at 218. Truly amazing, you are an inspiration! I look forward to following :)

Lori said...

Yes, yes!! I am such a huge proponent of lifting! And you can life heavy and not get big!

I love New Rules, a super book!

Mr. Meltdown said...

I love using weights for the fact that they help burn fat longer. This has helped me in my own weight loss journey and I can't wait until I lose more weight so I can lift more often. Great post for sure!!

Greta from www.bigbottomblogger.blogspot.com said...

I, too, strongly reccommend The New Rules Of Lifting For Women. Heavy weights...just because we are women does not mean we cannot lift heavy.

Kettlbells are also an excellent strength training tool for overall body and core strength. They teach all your muscles to work together and help build all the connective tissue for cooperative muscle movement..they work muscles in groups, instead of in isolation. Just one simple kettlebell lift like a "Turkish GetUp" or a "clean and press" works nearly every single muscle in your body.

Lyn, you might google kettlebells and knees....I know kettlebells have been used for shoulder rehabilitation....not sure on knees but I bet there is stuff out there. I will know more after my training next month. Will share.

CJ said...

I have been doing all those since a couple of weeks now and its feeling good. Though I AM NOT SEEING ANY DEFINITION, I know its working because its getting easier to more reps each time.

Lisa said...

I too know exactly how you feel about your arms. I have always felt the same way about mine but a few years ago I said screw it and started wearing sleeveless shirts.
I also got into tattoos a while back and most of them are on my upper arms. Having the tattoos gave me more confidence and that is what most people look at instead of my flab!

screwdestiny said...

Girl, I love strength training and I'm so glad you do, too! And I don't do those weight machines at the gym. I lift free weights with the big boys. Haha. Well, at least when I have a gym membership I do. It really is great to know that you are strong. I don't do as much now as I was last year, but last year I could do three pull-ups (which I'd never been able to do before in my life), and that was just awesome. Oh, and a great ab exercise is plank and side plank. I like it so much better than crunches because it's 10 times easier to have correct form, it doesn't strain your neck, and you start feeling the burn after like, 30 seconds.

Oh, and if you could tell us what you think about The New Rules of Lifting... that would be great 'cause I've been thinking about getting that book and would love to know if you think it's any good.

spunkysuzi said...

Yes, i finally did your workout! Awesome :)