Archive for February, 2010

How to Incorporate Weight Resistance Training into Your Fitness Program

February 7, 2010

by Bill Davis

As a long-time weight trainer, I am often surprised at how little progressive resistance weight training is used in many people’s fitness programs. A lot of people who either are very fit or who want to get fit use running, cycling, or some other aerobic activity as a tool to build fitness. Aerobic activity, also known as “cardio,” works, too.

But it’s just one component of overall fitness. A comprehensive fitness program seeks to build cardiovascular strength and endurance, balanced muscular strength and endurance, as well as good joint health and flexibility.

Running, for example, builds good cardiovascular fitness as well as some leg strength. However, running without stretching can make your joints less flexible and the strength imbalances caused by excessively running can cause other injuries, like shin splints, lower back pain, and knee injuries.

To mitigate these drawbacks of running, you should incorporate a good weight training and flexibility program. Contrary to the myth, weight training can actually improve joint mobility; it also evens out any muscle imbalances you may develop through running because you can specifically target muscles that are neglected while running (like hamstrings, the fronts of your lower legs, and your core, to name just a few).

I don’t mean to pick on running. It’s a very effective exercise that serves a critical fitness purpose. However, it is not a “be all, end all” exercise. Nor is weight training, yoge, pilates, or any other single form of exercise.

I am suggesting, however, that in order to build complete fitness, you must exercise in a variety of ways. Running or jogging, cycling, yoga, dance, other forms of aerobics, and pilates (and many, many more) must be supplemented with strength training, and the most effective form of strength training is – by far – weight resistance training.

Hit the Weights
By no means do you have to join a gym. You can perform weight resistance training using simple exercises like pull ups and pushups, as well as using simple dumbbells or bands for resistance.

The key, however, is progressive resistance. This means that as you get stronger, you add resistance to each exercise so that you continuously place ever-increasing stress on your muscles. This is the ONLY way that they’ll get stronger.

Now, you certainly do not have to train like a professional bodybuilder or Olympic weight lifter (though you could) to get totally fit. In fact, you only need a few minutes each day to round out your strength program. I train with weights for about 20 minutes a day. Here’s what I do:

Day 1
Legs & Arms (and Calves)

Day 2
Chest, Back, and Shoulders (and Calves)

Alternate between Day 1 and Day 2 every day (or every other day, depending on your intensity level – higher intensity means you need more rest between workouts and less workouts per week).

Specific exercises will include compound movements like squats, bench presses, pulldowns and rows, overhead presses, and deadlifts. Do 2-4 sets per major body part (chest, legs, back, shoulders, and calves) and 1-2 sets for the biceps and triceps.

As you can see, adding a strength-building component to your fitness training arsenal is a critical component to building overall fitness and it’s easy to do!

If you have specific fitness-related questions, ask them on my “Fitness Unguru” page. I’ve been a fitness advocate for over 30 years and I have a wealth of experience with building fitness, strength, flexibility, and overall health.
Originally published on for Bill Davis Sunday, February 07, 2010

Article Source: How to Incorporate Weight Resistance Training into Your Fitness Program