Tag Archives: strength training

Full Body Strength Circuit

We know that strength training is important and we should include it in our weekly fitness routine. Sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time or are unable to get to the gym.   That was the case for me this morning.  I wanted to get in a strength workout at home, but wanted to do something new and fun.  I found some papers with random workouts that I had scribbled down on and developed a full body circuit that was fun and effective!

I began with a 5 min warm up by walking my dog!  Then I started the circuit:

Jumping jacks and high knees:  You could also jump rope, jog in place, burpees.  Anything to get your heart rate up.

Push ups:  Start in plank position and remember to engage your abdominals.  You can always keep your knees on the floor if needed.

Squat with shoulder press:  Hold dumbbells in each hand.  Lower into a squat with weights on front of shoulders.  As you stand up, press dumbbells overhead then slowly return to shoulders.

Plank Row:  Hold a dumbbell in each hand in plank position, holding yourself up on the dumbbells.  Pull right arm up to your chest then left.  Alternate right and left.  Perform 15 on each side.

Stationary lunge with hammer curl:  With a dumbbell in each hand, hold a lunge position with right leg forward.  Perform 10 bicep hammer curls as you stay in lunge position.  Do the same with left leg forward.

Triceps dip:  Sit on a bench or chair with hands on edge.  Position feet away from bench and slide your rear off with heels resting on floor with legs straight.  Lower your body by bending your arms.  Raise and repeat.

Plank:  Lie down on stomach and get in plank position.  Hold elbows close to side, engage your abdominals and lift your torso and thighs off floor.  Don’t let your low back sag and avoid hiking your hips too high.  Do not hold your breath.  Keep your abs strong.  Hold for one minute.  Take breaks if unable to hold for entire 60 seconds.

V-sit with rotation: Sit on floor with trunk upright.  Lean back and bring legs up to about 45 degree bend.  With back straight, rotate side to side while holding dumbbell. Perform 15 reps per side.

Glute bridges:  Lie on back with feet flat on floor hip width apart.  Pushing mainly with your heels, lift hips off floor while keeping back straight and abdominals strong.  Avoid arching your low back as you press your hips upward.  Slowly lower back down to starting position.  Repeat.

Try this Full Body Strength Circuit! Click To Tweet

Once finished, take a 90 second break and repeat up to 3 times.

It’s always nice to mix things up and try something new.  Although I’ve done these particular exercises before, performing them in circuit style is something different.  I hope you find this full body strength circuit challenging and fun!



Strength Training Program for Kids

When my 11 year old daughter asked me to set up a strength training program for her, I wasn’t sure if she was serious.  Several weeks later, she is still asking when she can start her program!  Her goal is to become stronger so she can do an overhand volleyball serve.  She plays soccer and basketball, but volleyball is something new.  I appreciate her determination and willingness to work to achieve her goals!

I’ve talked about the importance of strength training and several myths of strength training, now let’s go over some guidelines for youth resistance training:

  • Kids should be properly supervised at all times and be in a safe environment
  • Always begin with a warm-up
  • Focus on proper technique
  • Breath properly during the movement, no breath holding
  • Vary upper and lower body movements
  • Perform up to 15 reps
  • Train 2-3 days a week (non-consecutive days)
  • Always cool down afterwards
  • Drink plenty of fluids

Strength training for kids can improve their bone density and has been shown to enhance motor skills and sports performance.  There isn’t a minimum age when kids can start training, but they should be old enough to follow directions and understand the benefits of the exercise.

Our plan is to use different forms of resistance.  Light dumbbells, resistance bands, and body weight, as it’s good to mix it up and helps with boredom.  The exercises should take 20-30 minutes.

Body weight routine:  Warm up for 5-10 minutes (jog, jumping jacks, jump rope, etc.)Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps of push ups, squats, and calf raises.  For the plank, wall sit, and supermans, hold for 20 seconds, 40 seconds, 60 seconds.  If this is too much, stick with the lower reps and holds.

Dumbbell or resistance band routine:  Warm up for 5-10 minutes.  Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps using light weights or resistant band.  (lay on the floor for chest press)

*if you are unfamiliar with any of the exercises, do a quick google search*

I have 1 lb., 5 lb. and 8 lb. dumbbells for my daughter to use.  We will start light and progress from there.  Proper form is key in preventing any injury.  Always cool down and do some stretches for each major muscle group after each workout.  Drink some water and eat a healthy snack!

Strength training for kids. Summer is a perfect time to get started! Click To Tweet

Some other fun options would be to set up an obstacle course or go to a playground or park.  Getting kids outside and moving is always encouraged!  Playing hopscotch, jumping rope, tug of war, climbing a tree, and riding a bike will strengthen muscles and bones.  It is recommended that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

With the last day of school quickly approaching, it will be a great time to get started. Creating a special workout calendar, chart, or workout log may be something fun to do and to show progress!

Do your kids play sports?

Do you think strength training is good for kids?



Strength Training…….it’s important!

The simple fact is, it’s essential to have strong muscles in order to carry out activities of daily living. This includes household chores, walking, working in the garden, and carrying in the groceries.  Strength training should be a regular part of an active way of life.

After the age of 30, many adults lose about 1/2 lb. of muscle each year! This is mainly because of a decrease in activity.  Also, with age, muscle mass naturally decreases.  Body fat percentage will go up if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle mass which is lost.  You can strength train at any age to protect and improve your muscle mass.

As a runner, I realize that adding resistance training to my running schedule will help me be a stronger runner as well as decrease my risk of injury.  To gain the benefits of strength training, you don’t need to be a “bodybuilder” or spend hours a day lifting weights.  It only takes 20-30 minutes, two to three times a week to see significant changes in your strength. People of all ages can gain positive results.  It’s never too late to start!

Here are some of the important benefits strength training provides:

  • Increased bone mineral density, which can lower the risk of osteoporosis
  • Improved body composition (more muscle, less fat) which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

*resistance exercise has been shown to improve insulin response and glucose utilization and has also shown to lower resting blood pressure, improve blood lipid profiles, enhance vascular condition, and decrease the risk of developing metabolic syndrome* (PubMed)

  • Gain stronger muscles, notably important for the lower back
  • Increased strength in bones, tendons, and ligaments
  • Reduced pain of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Decreased depression in older adults
  • Improved ability in older adults to do all activities of daily living
  • Provides better balance which decreases risk of falls
  • Overall enhanced quality of life
  • Some research indicates that strength training may help boost thinking and learning skills in older adults

It’s recommended to include strength training exercises at least two times per week making sure to work all major muscle groups. (we don’t want any strength imbalances!)

The Importance of Strength Training. It's never too late to start! Click To Tweet

Whether at home or in the gym, there are many options to work your muscles.  This includes: using your own body weight (push-ups, squats), resistance bands/tubes, free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells), or weight machines.  These are all effective tools to use for strength training and have their own pros and cons. Working with a combination is a great way to add variety and reduce boredom!

Do you strength train?

What is your favorite method?