Woman on Mountain Jumping

Strength Training Workout Plans

This is a look at some starting points for strength training workout plans that have shown results with a variety of fitness levels. I enjoy strength training for increased daily energy. Consistent training can also result in the stamina needed for running, hiking, biking and other activities that require a good amount of muscle to sustain.

Nature Walks and Hikes

Two Woman Hiking on steep stepped path on side of forested mountain
Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash

So, it may seem like a no brainer but many people forget that just simply by going on a walk is a great way to build strength. Especially true as we age this is a wonderful exercise that should be done often. Walking also helps your mental outlook and to relieve stress. As you progress you may add some weights to your walk.

Hand weights provide a great way to exercise your arms while you walk and with exaggerated motion with the swing of your arms while holding them will provide a good amount of resistance. Hand weights are also great as you can move to heavier weights as you become stronger.

Packs with weights in them are another great way to build strength and depending where you put the pack you can build core strength. There are lot of great weight packs for walking on the market and one of my favorites is a weighted vest. My go to is a weighted back pack but whatever pack you choose, I would recommend putting it somewhere comfortable for your movement. If you have back pain you may not want to put weight on your shoulders only (as in a back pack) due to the added stress on the effected area.

Strap on weights are great since you can adjust them to where you are comfortable or a target area. I am not fond of strap on types of weights as I have very small wrists and ankles that do not do well to support the weight. Instead I use them to strap to my calf or arm instead of the wrist and ankle.

Find the most comfortable way to add some resistance to your walks and in most cases will add a very good amount of strength to your daily life. You can really enjoy the extra boost of energy a good brisk weighted walk provides.

Biking and Running

Park Bike and Walking path with runners and people riding bikes side by side
Photo by Chanan Greenblatt on Unsplash

These are great way to build strength and keep a healthy heart. A moderate cardio workout for a half hour a day recommended by the American Heart Association is still one of the best ways to maintain weight. I enjoy biking more than running with the exception of tag with my daughter. Playing is the best way to run for me. Biking in a pretty area is a great way to keep fit but also just a fun activity. Stay safe and plot your path before starting the journey. Sometimes the best way to do this is on foot. If you notice parts of the path or trail that are not safe to use, erosion or parts where you do not have enough room out of the way from traffic, you can then make adjustments to the route so you are not taken off guard.

Home Training Equipment

Getting some good home equipment is always the best way I have found to keep a routine. If you are looking to get in shape or just add a bit of extra power to the daily tasks, lots of options for home equipment make it much more engaging than back when the only options for home gyms were a weight bench and a bike.

My first pick is always the elliptical trainer as I find this the easiest way to get the activity level I am looking to achieve that day done. For me the quicker the better when it comes to the work week. So when I can get on my workout and get it done in a half hour or less I have more time to spend on everything else in my life. That is my preference though, some people love to spend a lot of time really giving each muscle group the attention it deserves.  I have found I am not one of those people. I really like the Horizon equipment in particular and if you have not had the luxury of owning your workout, I highly suggest checking this out.

Resistance Bands are a very inexpensive and great way to add strength. You can adjust them to your needs and add more bands as you gain. These are great for the legs and getting the hard to work muscles as you have a lot more flexibility with how to use them and focus the tension on where you are looking to improve more precisely. You can also combine weights and bands for even more intense resistance.

HIIT Training Workouts

Shoes in midair of person jumping rope in gym setting
Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

High Intensity Interval Training programs  I think these are great strengthening plans but sometimes my joints are not fond of the repetitive jumping and weight shifts that put pressure on some of my weaker areas. A good HIIT training workout for me may be very different from others and they are all very customizable to your comfort and intensity level. The great thing about this workout style is it has shown to be more effective at burning fat than solid state or non-interval type workout plans.

I think the high intensity workouts should be a part of your routine when you have the ability to do them. Building up to these more advanced plans after incorporating healthy foods like a mediterranean style diet.  The addition of a High intensity interval exercise routine can also increase the overall effectiveness of all your aerobic and anaerobic workout efforts.  Studies also show the afterburn effect of this type of workout is even better if you split up the intervals and complete multiple cycles in the day instead of one longer session.

I think it is really cool that you can find the incorporation of this workout style within home equipment. Lots of home equipment like treadmills, ellipticals and bikes have started using HIIT Programs with their products. If your home equipment does not come with this feature, you can still use it. Taking a traditional HIIT plan you can modify by the addition of your equipment into a rotation interval.  Understand the sleep cycle on the equipment you are using as to make sure it does not reset during your off time.  You can then jump off and on during the interval to get more out of your workout than with the original format.

Weight Lifting

Woman in Squat Workout with Weight bar on shoulders

Lifting weights is an easy way to build strength as they can be inserted into almost any home gym and complete the goal to gain strength quickly. The most important thing when starting a weight lifting program is to make sure you are doing it correctly. Improper form and technique will injure instead of help. Take it slow and learn the right way from a good trainer or someone you trust to ensure you have it right.

Before you begin your buff journey, make sure your body is fit enough to complete the sessions you have planned for the right starting point. Start slowly and route your muscle workout plan. By focusing your workout on one muscle group at a time, you can give that group time to recover while working on another. You can then focus on the next group and cycle through the areas you wish to build muscle ie; legs on Monday, Abs on Wednesday and Arms on Friday.

Ashtanga Yoga

Woman Yoga group on beach with ocean
Photo by Kaylee Garrett on Unsplash

This is a style of yoga that teaches the 8 limbed path and other techniques for muscle building. Strength training is one aspect of a very powerful spiritual and physical training via an ancient knowledge platform. If you are wanting strength in more ways than one, this practice can be all encompassing and has the potential to change your spiritual outlook as well.

If you are only looking for the strength benefits of this style of exercise you can also get the right courses you are looking to fit your goals. I would recommend the complete learning as I think it is a benefit in many ways. Health as a whole is an entire body and spirit experience, so these teachings are full of life techniques to encompass all.

Beginning a yoga training plan from what I can see is one of the more difficult stages with so many options it makes it tough to see what is the best course of action. My opinion on this is to know yourself first and then research the teaching that will fit your lifestyle and learning style.

Just like a good education it may take a little time to find the right fit. Don’t worry if you do not get it right the first time as you can change instructors and classes to another option if the one you pick does not work out.

The important thing is to practice and stick with the style of yoga you have chosen until it has time to make an impact on your physical and spiritual needs. Without getting to know the results first, you may have a hard time with making a sound judgement on what the right “next steps” should be for your goals. If you are looking into yoga, you may want to find a very open minded instructor that is not limiting and judgmental as some can be a bit presumptuous in their teaching style.

Yoga in all is a wonderful way to build stamina, energy and muscle. Lots of videos are also available to get instruction at home to learn the poses for you to practice only the exercise techniques that build strength, flexibility and balance.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are important parts of any strength gaining routine and make sure you give your body time in between sessions as to not wear down your muscles to far. If you keep an exhaustive pace for too long you run the risk of injury as chemicals build up and complete recovery cycles do not have time to run. Give it a rest when you need recovery. Sore muscles are a good sign that you need to break.

Don’t forget to have fun with your training! If you find a way to make it fun like in a pretty outdoor setting, cranking some music or finding another way to make it enjoyable you are more likely to stick with your training to meet your goal. Be creative and go for it!

I hope you found this helpful and find some good ideas to pop some strength training into your routine!

Let me know your thoughts on this and what works for you in the comments section!

Wishing you the bet of Joy and Happiness!

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