DIY Strength Training

Last week I told you that I would give you ideas on how to build a strength training plan. This information you can use now during the pandemic AND at the gym when it is open again, finally! To figure out what kind of a plan you can really adhere to, you need to carve out the time and set it aside for your health and fitness.

How many days/week can you commit to strength training?

2 DAYS / WEEK

Do a total body workout both days of the week–and these cannot be consecutive days.

3 DAYS / WEEK

If 3 days/ week, you have choices:

~Total body workout each time, assuming you are allowing a day of rest in between each workout
~Day 1 chest and back; Day 2 legs and abs; Day 3 biceps, triceps, and shoulders
~Day 1 Chest, triceps and shoulders; Day 2 legs and abs; Day 3 back and biceps

4 DAYS / WEEK

Your choices include the following:

~Day 1 Chest and abs; Day 2 Back; Day 3 legs; Day 4 biceps, triceps, and shoulders
~Day 1 Chest and triceps; Day 2 back and biceps; Day 3 legs; Day 4 shoulders and abs
~Day 1 Chest and back; Day 2 legs; Day 3 all upper body; Day 4 legs again

You also can do strength training 5, 6, or even 7 days a week, provided you vary which muscle groups you’re working each day. In these cases, you can choose a combination above and keep cycling through it. Avoid ever working the same muscle group on consecutive days.

If you are doing a total body workout, then you should aim for 1-2 different exercises for each muscle group.

When you have workouts that are focused on individual muscle groups, you can do more exercises for each, and you can work the muscles in a greater variety of movements. Aim for 3-4 exercises per muscle group in that case.

I recommend that you err toward working the muscles in the rear of your body a bit more than those in the front of your body. This is because we are moving forward, leaning forward, pushing forward, and reaching forward ALL DAY! We need to offset this dynamic by pushing/stepping back with our legs, pulling back with our arms and back muscles; glutes, hamstrings, low back, lats, trapezius, rhomboids, and triceps need our special attention! Ironically, many people do the opposite, possibly because they are working to improve what they see in the mirror: chest, biceps, abs, etc. But if you want to stand tall in your old age and avoid injury now, don’t forget your backside.

Also, remember rotation. Do plenty of twisting exercises: wood chops, Russian twists, windshield wipers, windmills, bicycles, hip rotations, and shoulder rotations. Real life is full of twists and turns, and we forget to train our bodies for those. Most injuries actually occur when we are reaching and twisting, and our muscles have no idea what on earth we are doing! So, get them ready by preparing them with rotation exercises.

In this post, I have offered you a broad overview of how to plan your workout schedule. In future weeks, I will give you some specifics on how to train each muscle group.

Please let me know your success stories and your struggles. I would love to hear from you: how are you finding ways to stay fit during the pandemic?

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