I have been mentioning resistance exercises quite a lot lately in my blogs, but do you actually know what they are? How to program them into your sessions, when to progress them and finally but firstly where to start!!
When you start an exercise program the questions you need to ask yourself are why your doing it? What do you want to achieve? How your going to do it? How long do you have to achieve it and by what means? The last question is important as your going to hit your targets using what you’ve added to your program, you need exercises that will suit your fitness at the start, and also ones that you can add progressions to once your finding them too easy. With this way the risk of plateauing is decreased as your changing the intensity to work the muscles more.
Let’s say you don’t feel confident enough to use dumbells just yet, well that’s ok as bodyweight exercises are great for any beginner. Performing the movements without added weights will help you get your technique and form perfect and will decrease the risk of injury once your using dumbells/barbell. Bodyweight exercises are perfect as they are a totally free way to exercise too so no gym membership needed and no equipment either, just you and your bodyweight.
During a bodyweight routine you can use sets/reps /rests or you can do a kind of hiit workout where you will do some activity for a number of seconds, let’s say 30 secs and then rest for another 30 secs before starting the next exercise. You complete 3-4 rounds with a minute rest in between. These are also great if you are short of time as 25-30 mins can give you a great work out giving yourself all the benefits of a cardio and strength workout in a short space of time. As these kinds of workouts are high intensity then its advised to only do 1-2 a week as your body will need to recover from stress of doing these at a higher intensity.
The sessions where you use sets/reps/time to set your intensity are to be performed 2-4 times a week. To measure progress - as you won’t be adding kgs - you will be adding reps, sets, shortening rest or slowing/speeding up the movements. All these are ways you can make your bodyweight resistance session different to stop that plateau. Just make sure your only increasing one if these at a time so for example, increase the number of reps your completing first then reps or time, if you add all 3 you will increase your risk of injury which is obviously something you want to avoid.
So there you are, your first step out of your comfort zone and into resistance exercise training. Start off small and if your patient and consistent with commitment added to this mix you will achieve your goals. After a 12 week stint of ‘ bodyweight training you could start thinking about progressing to free weights, look out for my next blog on free weights and how to use them to get the results you want!