When beginning a strength training program there are specific physiological steps that need to be followed.  The first step is called muscular adaptation – this is where you do high repetitions (18-20) but very light weights.  What this does is “wakes up” your muscles so more of the fibres in your muscles start to fire.  If you are only using 20-30% of your muscle and are lifting weights that are too heavy you are going to hurt yourself.  So, you need to keep the weights light and do lots of repetitions so that your body reconnects with the entire muscle.  Most improvements in strength that occur in people who are new to training are due to the increase in muscle fiber recruitment, not because the muscle is getting stronger.  

Here is a program for those of you to follow who are new to a gym.  This program will make sure that you are not overly sore the next morning.  Some muscle soreness is good, but if it gets worse the next day or it interferes with your ability to complete your daily tasks then you are experiencing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Begin with cardio.  Pick 2 of your favourite ways to get your heart rate up and do 15-20 minutes of each type.  Each week you need to build your intensity of the cardio so either start doing it longer or add small and intense bursts within the 30-40 minutes (ie – if you are walking on the treadmill every 2 minutes jog for 30 seconds or if you are on a stationary bike increase how fast you are pedaling or add more tension).

You are going to pick four strength exercises for your upper body and three exercises for your lower body and two core exercises.  You will do 1 set of each and complete 20 repetitions for the first 2 weeks.  Then the second two weeks you will do 2 sets of each, adding a 30 second core exercise between each set.  The 5th and 6th week you will do 3 sets of each.

Here are the exercises I have chosen for you.

Upper Body
Chest – pushups: these are done from your knees and because pushups are challenging I’m reducing the repetitions for these to only 15

Back – Seated Cable Row: make sure that you are focusing on using your back to pull the weights back

Arms – dumbbell bicep curls with a shoulder press: do a bicep curl then lift the weights up over your head into a shoulder press, bring the weights back down to your shoulders then straighten your arms again by your waist

Triceps – Tricep Dips: place a bench behind you, put your hands on the bench, shoulder width apart and bend your knees to 90 degrees with your butt off the bench but very close to it.  Bend at your elbows, lowering yourself down until your arms have bent to 90 degrees then straighten at your elbows and push yourself back up

Lower Body
Stability Ball Lunges: place a stability ball between you and a wall and using the ball as a spacer do 20 lunges on each side

Stability Ball Hamstring Curls: lie on your back with a stability ball under your heels and raise your hips off the ground.  You’re then going to bring the ball towards you as your hips lift into the air and your knees bend.  Roll the ball back out again until your legs are straight but don’t lower your hips back to the ground.

Stability Ball Squats: like the lunges, use the ball as a spacer as you do your squats, making sure that you are sitting into your heels and not allowing the toes to come over your toes or your knees to sink into the midline of your body


Plank Circuit : 30 second front plank then go right into a 30 second side plank then back into a 30 second front plank then back into a 30 second side plank (on the other side)

If you have difficulty with any of these exercises or you are unsure of how to do them don’t hesitate to ask one of the staff members at your gym to help you.  If they are not busy I’m sure that they would be more than happy to help.

Attached: Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale leaving a dance class yesterday.