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A strength training plan is a workout program geared toward exercises that build strength, muscle, and flexibility. Health and fitness experts often recommend including strength training in an overall workout regimen in order to aid weight loss, improve fitness, and even help prevent bone loss conditions such as osteoporosis. Factors to consider when creating a strength training plan include current fitness level, exercise goals, available equipment, and time.
Level of fitness is a major consideration when figuring out a strength training plan. For people just beginning or returning to a workout plan, two or three sessions of about 20 minutes per week can be an effective way to begin training. Those with injuries may need a slower approach, taking care to listen to the body to see if an injury is being exacerbated due to strain. One of the most common ways for new exercisers to get off track is due to injury, which is more likely if muscles are being overtaxed. Many fitness experts recommend taking at least one day off between strength workouts to allow muscles to rest, or, work different muscle groups each day.
One thing that will help a strength training plan stay on track is a clear exercise goal. Knowing which results are desired will help determine the type of exercises performed as well as the amount of time spent strength training versus other types of exercise, such as cardiovascular workouts. Those looking to pack on muscle may prefer to use free weights and weight machines, while others looking to create a leaner and stronger frame may prefer anaerobic strength workouts such as yoga.
Variety is an important ingredient in creating a strength training plan. It is easy to get bored with the same routine, day after day. After a while, the body can get used to the exact same exercises, causing them to be less effective. Remember that strength workouts come in many forms, from weight lifting to Pilates to climbing stairs. Some experts recommend changing a strength training plan every two to four weeks by adding different exercises, taking new classes, or even just adding weights and repetitions to a regular routine.
Time and equipment are also important considerations when crafting a strength training plan. At first aim for two to three days per week, for no more than 30 minutes. For people on a tight schedule, pull out some dumbbells and exercise all the way through one 30 minute TV program. Many gyms also offer slightly condensed lunchtime classes for those who can only work out during the workday. Creating a strength training plan does take some creative and careful thought, but it may be surprising how much can be accomplished with a few minutes and minimal equipment.