So you’ve decided that some strength training will help your running?
Here’s some weight training advice for beginners to get you started.
Weight Training Advice: The Basics
Breathe while you do your weights.
Don’t hold your breath as you do each repetition.
Instead, breathe out as you exert force, and breathe in as you perform the lowering part of each exercise to ensure your blood pressure does not get too high.
Number of Sets:
How many sets of each exercise should you do?
The controversy between exercise scientists rages over this issue.
Some say three sets of each exercise, some say two, and some say one.
Many studies have shown that one set achieves similar strength gains as two or three sets.
One research paper even found people doing two sets of each exercise gained less strength than those doing one set!
Bottom line? We’re all different – decide what works best for you. Here are some things to consider:
– If you find doing weights to be a chore, then stick to one maximal set of 8-12 repetitions. The advantage of doing one set of each exercise is that it only takes one-third the time you would spend doing three sets of each use.
– The power of doing two or three games is that you will burn two or three times as many calories as doing one game, so if weight loss is your goal, go for more games.
Recovery between Sets:
Allow 1 to 3 minutes to recover between each set.
You’ll soon find how long you need by seeing what works for you.
You should not be exhausted or breathing hard when you go on to your next set.
It’s a good idea to stretch your muscles between sets to maximize your workout time.
How many repetitions of each exercise should you do?
Make sure you could not have forced even one more rep by your 10th or 11th rep.
When you can do 12 repetitions comfortably, increase the weight by 2 kilograms (approx. 4-5 lbs).
Other Weight Training Advice for Beginners:
– use a spotter or partner to assist you and to provide encouragement
– never lift weights in bare feet; dropping a 10lb weight on your foot will put you out of running for the rest of the season, not to mention life in general
– when doing standing exercises, spread your feet about 18” apart for a good base of support.
– curl your thumbs so they oppose your four fingers around the bar when lifting weights—this way the bar won’t slip out of your hands and squash you
– perform your repetitions slowly; with a 2-3 second count on the lift, and 3-4 second count on the lowering phase
– if you have lower back problems wear a weight belt for support
Finally, it’s always a good idea to hire a personal trainer at your gym to help you with these exercises until you get the hang of them and can continue on your own.
Besides being there for moral support and encouragement, a personal trainer will ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly, will help you get the most out of each activity, and will help you with advice to prevent injury.