When it comes down to my workout routine, strength training has become a focus since my early 20’s. I have yet to reach my goals, but I have stayed consistent to my exercise regimen. Here’s a little breakdown of what has helped me build strength.
1. Proper warm up routine:
Now some of you may think a proper warm up routine is going straight to your first exercise and “keeping it light,” but that is not what I do. I dedicate at least 15 minutes of band work, if I am working out my upper body. I do this to activate the muscles that I will be training on that day. Typically, these movements are slow and controlled to make sure the proper muscles are being activated. If I am working out my legs that day, I go on the stair master for about 10 minutes to get the blood flowing and my legs firing. Once I am done on the stair master, I grab a kettle bell and proceed to do some deep squats and hold that position to help with hip mobility. I also incorporate leg swings before I begin my first dedicated leg exercise. Once I feel that my muscles are activated and feel warm, I begin my workout.
2. During my workouts:,
I focus on two muscle groups per day. For example, one day I will dedicate it on chest and triceps. On the following day, it may be back and biceps. I dedicate one day strictly to legs because it usually drains my energy and is time consuming. When I work out my shoulders, I will incorporate some light back or bicep exercises. I do the traditional 3-4 sets with 12-15 repetition on each exercise. When doing a repetition, I make sure the weight is something I can handle. If I don’t have proper form, then I know that the weight is too much for me to handle. I do not like to power through the sets because I want to make sure I feel the burn. My first set of any exercise is usually light and thereafter I begin to increase the weight. I want to make sure I exhaust the muscle groups I am working out. I have found that this plan has worked out the best for me to build my strength.
3. Core exercises is a must!
I stay away from crunches or sit-ups because they put too much pressure on my low back. I love to do planks because they hurt so good! I make some time to do some core once I am done with upper body or leg workout.
4. One last thought:
Once I am done with both strength and core exercises, I spend some time stretching. This is my favorite part because I can finally relax and recover after putting myself through pain. All of it worth it, of course.