July 20, 2012 · 2:00 AM
A couple years ago, I was thinking about putting together a fitness program for myself. My goals were endurance, strength, less low-back aching, flexibility, longevity, and being able to get on my horse bareback without a mounting block or other cheat.
I spent quite a bit of time at Doug Robb’s HeathHabits site. He has a post called The “I don’t have time to workout” Workout. I ran across some paper notes I made during my time there. Doug recommended some basic moves to incorporate: air squat, Hindu pushup, dragon flag, shuffle of scissor lung, Spiderman lung, hip thrust/bridge, swing snatch, dumbbell press, Siff lunge, jumping Bulgarian squat, band wood chops, leg stiff leg deadlift. Click the link to see videos of most of these exercises. The rest you can find on YouTube.
Another post is called “Do you wanna get big and strong? -Phase 1”. The basic program is lifting weights thrice weekly. Monday, work the chest and back. Tuesday, legs and abs/core. Friday, arms and shoulders.
- Chest exercises: presses (barbell or dumbell, incline, decline, flat, even pushups with additional resistance – your choice
- Back: chins or rows
- Legs: squats or deadlifts
- Arms and shoulders: dips, presses, curls
Doug is a personal trainer with a huge amount of experience. He’s a good writer, too, and gives away a wealth of information at his website.
Around this same time of searching a couple years ago, I ran across Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance, Mark Lauren’s book “You Are Your Own Gym,” and Mark Sisson’s free fitness ebook that also features bodyweight exercises. I did Core Performance religiously for 15 weeks—it’s a good program, requiring 5-6 hours a week.
Lauren is or was a Navy Seal trainer. His plan involves 30 minutes of work on four days a week and uses minimal equipment. Lots of good reviews at Amazon.com.
I recently complete a stint with the Hillfit program. Here’s my current regimen.
Newbies to vigorous exercise should seriously consider using a personal trainer.
Steve Parker, M.D.
February 8, 2011 · 11:54 AM
What’s “strength training”? It’s also called muscle-strengthening activity, resistance training, weight training, and resistance exercise. Examples include lifting weights, work with resistance bands, digging, shoveling, yoga, push-ups, chin-ups, and other exercises that use your body weight or other loads for resistance.
Strength training three times a week increases your strength and endurance, allows you to sculpt your body to an extent, and counteracts the loss of lean body mass (muscle) so often seen during efforts to lose excess weight. It also helps maintain your functional abilities as you age. For example, it’s a major chore for many 80-year-olds to climb a flight of stairs, carry in a bag of groceries from the car, or vacuum a house. Strength training helps maintain these abilities that youngsters take for granted.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “To gain health benefits, muscle-strengthening activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. Try to do 8–12 repetitions per activity that count as 1 set. Try to do at least 1 set of muscle-strengthening activities, but to gain even more benefits, do 2 or 3 sets.”
If this is starting to sound like Greek to you, consider instruction by a personal trainer at a local gym or health club. That’s a good investment for anyone unfamiliar with strength training, in view of its great benefits and the potential harm or waste of time from doing it wrong. Alternatives to a personal trainer would be help from an experienced friend or instructional DVD. If you’re determined to go it alone, Internet resources may help, but be careful. Consider “Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults” (http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/growing_stronger.pdf). Don’t let the title turn you off if your young—its a good introduction to strenght training for folks of any age. Doug Robb’s blog, HealthHabits, is a wonderful source of strength training advice (http://www.healthhabits.ca/). The Internet resources I’ve mentioned are not designed specifically for people with diabetes.
Current strength training techniques are much different than what you remember from high school 30 years ago—modern methods are better. Some of the latest research suggests that strength training may be even more beneficial than aerobic exercise.
Next, Part 5 reviews aerobic training.
Steve Parker, M.D.