Table 77 Benefits of Strength Training

Improved strength and overall

Improved metabolism Better balance and coordination Less effort to perform work and fitness Increased lean body mass Stronger bones Better immune function home activities Improved sense of well-being and doing too many repetitions. Strength is built when you tax your muscles and do only a few repetitions. We call this a "high load, low rep" program. A good way to find out how much you can lift is to determine the largest amount of weight you can lift just one time (this is a i-repetition maximum, or 1 RM) and then how much weight you can lift 10 consecutive times (this is a 10 RM). We use these values to advise a person how much she or he should lift to begin a strength-training program. The following is an easy strength-training formula that begins with lighter weights and increases the amount of weight (or resistance) during the same session. This approach to strength training (one of several) is called progressive resistance exercise and is one way to do strength training.

Figure out how much weight you can lift 10 times. This will be your 10 RM. Then begin your session and advance as follows:

Set 1. Start the first set of 10 repetitions with 50 percent of your 10 RM (if your 10 RM weight is 10 pounds, then begin with 5 pounds and lift it 10 times. Generally it is better and safer to begin this process by using an exercise weight machine rather than free weights, although free weights are fine for lighter loads and for individuals who have been properly trained to use heavier free weights).

Set 2. Rest for 1—2 minutes (or longer if you need to), and then do the second set with 60 percent of your 10 RM (or 6 pounds if your 10 RM is 10).

Set 3. Again rest for 1—2 minutes and perform the final set with 8c percent of the 10 RM (8 pounds in our example).

You will want to work on strengthening your entire body, and this is usually done best by working on several muscle groups during one session. You may want to cross-train and alternate the muscles you work on—so that you are not working on everything all at once. Strength training is generally done less often than cardiovascular exercise (2—3 times a week rather than 5—7 times a week) because it is best to allow for a recovery period.

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