Ruth Stone, a personal trainer and fitness instructor who specializes in strength training for women, is fervent about its benefits. Stone believes that strength training has more benefits than any other exercise: it can improve your self-esteem, body image, and health.
Stone says it is important to begin strength training as soon as your body changes with menopause. However, it is not too late. Stone, who works with Sweatband has created a beginner’s strength-training program that includes three home workouts per week for Coach. Stone used moderately active women between 25 and 34 as a starting point for the plan. However, you can modify the progressions or make it more difficult to suit your needs.
You can skip the workout plan or read on to learn more from Stone about strength training, the equipment you will need, and how it could change your perception of yourself.
What is strength training? And why is it so important? Is cardio not enough?
Cardio is a complement to strength training and should be part of every person’s fitness routine in some way. Cardio has its place. However, strength training is a complement to cardio. Strength training will increase your muscle mass and metabolism, which in turn will help you burn more calories. You can also do strength training with your regular cardio workouts and you will burn more calories while doing cardio.
Strength training can help with postural problems or prevent them from developing. Strength training can prevent injury. People who run a lot often can develop back and knee problems.
What can strength training do for women?
Strength training can be incorporated into your daily routine at the perimenopausal phase and during menopause. When hormones affect bone density, osteoporosis is a possibility. These risks can be offset by strength training. Strength training can be integrated into your life as early as your 20s. When your body begins to change, usually around your 50s, your routine won’t need to change as much as if you were just starting.
Is there anything you don’t know about strength training? For example, some women might be concerned about having large biceps or quads.
These days, I don’t think so. Body Pump and other weight training programs transformed the relationships of women. I don’t think that strength training will give you bulging biceps. This is unlikely unless you have a specific DNA or a high-protein diet .
The female aesthetic has also changed. Being strong and toned is now a celebrated characteristic, as opposed to being skinny. Advertising now presents a much wider range of body shapes, which is great. The “strong woman” image in particular is very positive. People know they won’t end up looking like bodybuilders – except if they choose to.
Strength training can change a woman’s body shape and may cause some parts to measure differently. Your waistline and hips might shrink, your top thighs may get longer, your knees may drop, and your hips could be smaller. This is called redistribution but it’s very marginal. It will make a huge difference in how clothes fit and feel. But there is so much more.
What equipment do you need? Are you looking for specialist equipment?
Equipment is not necessary in the short-term. You probably will in the long-term. Although you can strength train with your body weight only, the range of exercises that you can do is limited. You will also find that your body weight isn’t as important if you keep with the program for several months. You don’t have to do twice as many reps. Instead, you can increase the difficulty by adding weights while still doing half an hour every other week. Kettle bells and barbells are great. Resistance band are great and can be tucked away almost anywhere.
What would be your advice for getting started? What are the most common mistakes made when starting?
It should be a part of your daily routine so it is easy to remember. This is the most important thing. For four weeks, you can start with three times per week. Do it. Do not worry if you don’t do all the reps. The most important thing is to create the habit.
You should also consider what time is best for you: Some people are morning people and some people are night people. It is also helpful to have a space where you can exercise.
It is a good idea to write down your intentions. You’ll be much more likely to keep them in mind. Set achievable, simple goals.
What is the minimum time between sessions? It is really important?
Your muscles become damaged and then repair themselves. It is important to have a day off between sessions so that the repairs can take place. For three strength workouts per week, I would recommend at least one day off between each session. However, even advanced strength training programs will allow for some rest. This could be active recovery which is a form of aerobic exercise, or it may be switching between different muscle groups.
What muscle groups should I be working on?
You should work your entire body for a week. It’s important to ensure that each part of your body can do the job it was designed to do. This is functional training. You should rotate a joint that is rotating; bend a joint that is bent. You should do both if you have a joint that does both (like the hips). Your muscles provide the strength to maneuver those joints. You need to work every muscle from the neck down to be functionally fit and build strength.
After a hard workout, my muscles feel really sore.
The ache in your muscles, DOMS, is a sign you have worked at the correct level. Although it can vary from one person to another, you may feel a tingling sensation for up to three days after you do a new resistance exercise. It will affect all weight training, even experienced ones.
It’s not pain but an ache. You should stop if you are in pain and consult a doctor. You shouldn’t hurt yourself if you exercise safely.
How do I know if I am using the correct weight or resistance?
If you are able to do the entire exercise at a slow, steady pace and for the required number of repetitions, you won’t feel the difficulty in the last few. If you are able to do 10 or 15 reps, it is likely that the resistance or weight you have chosen is too heavy.
People who are too heavy on the weights and the resistance can cause injury to their form. They will start to use momentum instead of muscle to move. This is when you run the risk of injury.
Do not increase the resistance if you’re new to the exercise. Although it is difficult to know if you have the resistance right the first attempt, it is better to be able to complete 15 reps quickly than to lose your concentration and give up.
What amount of stretching and warming up should I do?
Always warm up before you begin weight training. You should do a three to five minute warm-up. You can also dance to your favorite tunes if you are at home. Warming up is all about warming the entire body. Start slowly and control your movements, then move faster and more freely as your muscles and joints warm up.
Below is a programme that starts with the largest muscles first. Because quads are large muscles, it is a good idea to start with squats before moving on to smaller muscles.
After a hard workout, stretching helps to realign your body. It improves flexibility which is crucial for injury prevention. This does not mean that you should exercise, but people with less flexibility are more likely to fall and injure themselves. Warmth also makes your body more flexible, so you can do more deep stretches and keep them longer.
You can do a simple stretch routine that you only need to go through once and then continue. If you are anything like me, you will notice a significant difference the second time.
What is the best time to start strength training?
It all depends on where you are looking. There will be changes in your body as well as in your head. Your body will be the most slow because it takes longer to build muscle mass. However, your endurance and strength should improve within two to three week. You can play with resistance and range, and push yourself a little more. It is common to notice that some muscle groups are stronger than others. The legs are usually stronger in women than the triceps or biceps.
Another important thing that happens when you start strength training is body image. This refers to the awareness and appreciation of one’s own body. Cardio is a great way to forget about yourself. You can focus on what’s happening around you or the pavement. Strength training is all about your body.
Training in front of the mirror is a great way to improve your work. It will help you to improve your self-image and, over time, it will also change the way you feel about yourself. Your body will be more appreciated. This is something you don’t get from any other type of training.
It empowers, according to my experience. The women I have trained have become mentally stronger and happier. It has changed their relationship to their body, especially if it’s not something they are happy with or proud of. I love teaching aerobics, step, yoga and I absolutely love them all. But strength training is the best for self-esteem, body image, and self-confidence.
This training program from PT Ruth Stone requires that you complete the workout less than three times per week and leave at least one day between each session. You will need to have 25-30 minutes of exercise time and a small amount of space. To make it easier for you to see your form, you should be standing in front of a mirror. To make certain moves more difficult, you don’t necessarily need to use any equipment at home. However, you can use household items such as weights and a set of looped resistance bands. Stone is collaborating with Sweatband, an online fitness retailer that offers affordable bands.
The warm-up is followed by a workout and then a final set of stretches. Pairing exercises are used to work opposing muscle groups back-to-back, giving each one the chance to recover. You should move slowly and with complete control throughout the entire range of motion for each exercise. You can rest as necessary.
You should aim for 15 reps in each strength exercise, and then three sets of each pair. Then you can move on to the next pair. You will then do 15 reps for exercise 1A and 15 for exercise 1B. You can repeat this sequence twice more, and then you can move on to 2A or 2B.
Warm up for three to five minutes. Turn up your favorite tunes to the maximum volume and start dancing like nobody’s watching. Begin with slow, controlled movements and then move on to faster, more dynamic moves. You should aim to move every joint as best you can.
1A Wide Squat
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Targets Glutes, quads
Standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips, with your toes pointed out, stand with your feet wide enough for your feet to touch the ground. As you bend at your knees, lower your hips until your hips are below the floor. Then, stand up and push through your heels.
Make it more difficult Start by standing on your heels with a long, looped resistance band, and then wrap it around your shoulders. This will add resistance to your back as you stand up.
1B Wide hand pressing-up
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Your knees should be bent and your hands should be on the ground. To lower your chest, bend your elbows and push up to extend your arms.
Make it more difficult Stand on your hands, toes, and legs with your legs extended instead of on your knees and hands.
2A Biceps curl
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Standing straight, hold one weight in each of your hands at your sides. Keep your palms facing forwards. Keep your elbows bent and your arms straight to support the weights. Slowly reverse the motion and keep it under control.
Make it more difficult Use resistance bands that are anchored under your feet.
2B Triceps dip
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Triceps Targets Triceps
Place your hands behind your back on the ground, with your palms facing forwards. Lower your torso by bending your elbows. Next, push your upper arms backwards until your arms straighten.
Make it more difficult Put your hands on a raised platform, such as a chair, so that you start the exercise with your feet off the ground.
3A Landed lunge
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Targets Glutes, quads, calves
Place your knees on the ground, with your hips apart. Place your right foot directly in front your right hip. Place your right foot on your right hip, tucking your toes under. Next, lift your body by fully stretching both legs. Lower your legs and bring your left knee down. Next, bend your right leg to extend your right leg. Continue with your left leg.
Make it more difficult Hold a resistance band under your front foot, and hold it in your hands. Maintain tension.
3B Side rise
Sets 3 Reps 15.
With your palms in, hold a weight in each of your hands by the sides. Your body will form a T-shape if you lift the weights to the sides. Reduce the weights so they are back on your sides.
Make it more difficult Try to isolate one arm at a stretch using a resistance band that is attached by your right foot and held by your right hand. Repeat the process on the opposite side.
4A Glute bridge
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Targets Lower back and glutes. Hamstrings
Place your hands on your stomach and flex your hips. To lift your hips as high, push your heels forward. Hold and then lower.
Make it more difficult Lift one leg off of the ground so that you can use the other to lift your hips.
4B Leg lift
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Targets Hips, quads
Place your feet flat on the ground and bend your knees. Keep your knees together and lift your right lower leg so that your leg is straight. Slowly lower your right leg until it touches the ground. Then, lift it up so that your knees meet again. Repeat the process on the opposite side.
Make it more difficult If you find this easy, do both legs simultaneously and support your torso by placing your hands on the ground behind you.
5A Sit up with twist
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Targets Abs, obliques
Place your head on your chest, with your knees bent and your feet flat on a table. Rotate your torso from the centre to the right. Then, lower your torso slowly towards the floor. Continue on the left side.
Make it more difficult Lift your feet off of the ground during the lower and upper phases.
Sets 3 Reps 15.
Targets Upper Back
Place your back on the ground, with your hands behind you. Lift your chest, then return to the starting position.
Make it more difficult Reach for the top position and extend your arms behind.