The 411 on Strength Training- Part Four of the Food for Your Heart and Soul series

8 Feb

Are you a runner who only runs, a dancer who only dances, a die hard 7 day a week spin class taker, or someone that enjoys breaking a sweat on the elliptical every day and never ventures to the weights?

If you answered yes to any of the above, this post is for you!

Cardiovascular exercise such as running, dancing, cycling, the elliptical, is one of the most important ingredients for a healthy body.

Muscular strength is another essential part of the recipe.

The body will reap many benefits when both are mixed together in the same exercise plan.



Why is strength training important?

Strength training helps people with every day activities such as lifting heavy things- a 32 pack of bottled water from BJ’s or Costco’s for instance. It also helps maintain weight, because when you build muscle, you burn calories throughout the day, even when you’re in front of the TV. Next time you settle in on the couch and are feeling guilty for lounging and in my case, watching The Real Housewives or something, DON’T, remember you’re burning calories. With regular strength training, your balance will also be rocking. This helps prevent injury. Hello to all of the runners out there who are reading this! Strong muscles also lower a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. Solid, huh?



Types of muscle strength training activities:

Using your own body weight, weights, weight machines, resistance bands are a few of the ways that you can incorporate strength training into your workout routine.

Today, there seems to be a type of strength training class offered for everyone. Body Bar, Body Pump, Lean Conditioning, TRX, and Kettlebell are a few of the ones that come to mind.

Not one for classes? Don’t let the meat-heads in the weight room intimidate you! They’re harmless, I promise! No gym membership? At home muscle strengthening workouts are just as good as if you were at the gym!



How many days a week should I strength train?

Each major muscle group should be trained  2-3 days a week. Major muscle groups include chest, shoulders, upper and lower back, abdomen, hips, and legs. Always, always, always give muscles 1 day to recover before training again. For example, if you did a full body workout on Monday morning, wait until Wednesday morning to train again.

For more information on exercise plans, click here. This will bring you to part 2 of the series, Penciling in a Workout.

How many strength exercises should I incorporate into a single workout session?

It is recommended that 8-10 exercises are included and involve more than one muscle group. For muscle development, each exercise should be done for 8-12 repetitions/ 2-3 sets. Your muscles should be fatigued at 8-12 repetitions and you should feel like you can’t do anymore. If you can do more, the weight you are using may be too low. Rest for 2-3 minutes in between sets.

(ACSM, 2010, p 169-170)

What is the difference between a repetition and a set?

A repetition is one complete movement of a single exercise. For example, doing A and B below for only one time.

A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. For example, doing A and B below for 12 times.

(NASM, 2012, p 338-339)



Why is muscular strength important to me?

Muscular strength is important to me because I want to keep my bones strong for life and lower my risk for osteoporosis. Kelly Ripa and Elisabeth Hasselback are two of my role models when it comes to working out and strength training. Have you see their arms? Goodness gracious. They inspire me day in and out. Strong is the new skinny.



Today, I encourage you to incorporate a strength workout into your exercise plan if you do not have one already. Please always check with your doctor before beginning or doing any type of exercise program!

Who is your fitness role model?
What’s your favorite strength class or strength exercise?


ACSM. (2010). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

NASM. (2012). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Philidelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


15 Responses to “The 411 on Strength Training- Part Four of the Food for Your Heart and Soul series”

  1. Nikki February 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Love the post! I’m looking forward to starting back to strength training. I’m actually a big fan of Jillian Michael’s workout DVDs where she pairs weights with cardio…always makes me feel so STRONG!

    • bananasforyogaandyogurt February 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks Nikki! Jillian Michael’s is a great motivator! This afternoon, I did her Yoga Meltdown workout.

  2. quartercenturysouthernliving February 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    I definitely need to remember this the next time I head to the gym and want to skip the weights! Thanks for sharing this!

    • bananasforyogaandyogurt February 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      I love that there are so many options for strength training outside of weights too! I find I do a lot of resistance exercises using my own body weight such as push-ups or dips.

  3. Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen February 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    I like strength training workouts and I always feel like I’m burning a sweat throughout my workout. Great post!

  4. kelseyruns February 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Love this!!!! I definitely forget how important strength training is, I’m a die hard cardio junkie. I’ll definitely remember this post next time I think about skipping weights at the gym!

    • bananasforyogaandyogurt February 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Thanks Kelsey! I love cardio too! When I started combining both cardio and strength training, woah, I started to see how much of a positive impact strength training had on my cardio workouts.

  5. Cindy February 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Great post! Strength training is great for your bones and makes me feel strong 😀

    • bananasforyogaandyogurt February 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

      Thank you! Strength training makes me feel strong too! I love that it can lower a persons risk for osteoporosis!

  6. pickyrunner February 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    This is a great post! I’m such a runner that I hate strength but I keep telling myself it will make me faster. That’s the only way I can drag my butt to the weight room!

  7. moderngirlnutrition February 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Love this post! Strength is beauty:)

  8. Holly A. February 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    omg do I need to start strength training! Whenever I read your blog I think this and yet I’m still sitting here on the couch NOT burning extra calories. Sigh – maybe time to make a plan of action!

    • bananasforyogaandyogurt February 12, 2013 at 6:57 am #

      You can do it Holly! Hey, even grabbing a couple of water bottles and doing bicep curls or overhead tricep extensions while you’re on the couch works too!

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