You're a strong woman. You balance life, work and relationships with ease. When your physical power doesn't match your emotional fortitude, try some specific training techniques to build muscle strength. Strength training is an accumulative exercise -- this means the more you train, the stronger you get. The formula works when you're able to consistently lift heavier amounts of weight to challenge the muscle tissue. To push your limits, two types of training are in order. One kind you'll complete on your own, but for the other, you'll need to grab a partner.
Select your desired strength training exercise and your new, heavier, resistance weight. Choose a weight that is difficult and challenges you. Perform this exercise immediately after you warm up and before you you train any other muscle groups.
Decrease the number of repetitions you complete. For example, if you currently perform 12 repetitions, aim to finish eight repetitions with the heavier weight.
Increase the amount of rest time between sets. If you currently wait 30 seconds before you complete your next set, wait 60 to 90 seconds instead.
Listen to your body and work with how you are feeling today, but aim to finish two or three sets. Add the heavy lifting into your routine two days a week with at least one day of rest in between workouts.
Breathe properly during strength training. Exhale on the exertion or lifting phase. Inhale during the lowering of the weight. Always use proper form. If your weight increase sacrifices form, decrease the amount until your muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons are strong enough to keep safe techniques.
Speak with your doctor before you change your workout routine.
Pick your favorite strength training exercise and your usual resistance amount.
Perform the first part of the exercise quickly. Allow one second to perform the lifting phase of the exercise. For example, during an arm curl, begin with your arms straight and in one second bend your elbows and lift the weights toward your shoulders.
Lower the weights slowly. Count three to five seconds for the lowering phase of the exercise. For example, during an arm curl, use five seconds to straighten your elbows and return your hands to the starting position.
Complete your usual number of repetitions. For example, if you currently perform 10 bicep curls, finish 10 curls with a focus on the eccentric, or lowering, phase of the exercise.
Ask a partner to aid in the lifting of the weight as you near your final repetitions and your muscles begin to tire. Complete one to three eccentric sets if you feel strong and have no discomfort.
Practice this slower training technique once a week. Each week, increase the amount of weight by approximately five to 10 percent. For example, if you use 20 pounds for your arm curls, increase the resistance to 22 pounds.
Things You'll Need
- Breathe properly during strength training. Exhale on the exertion or lifting phase. Inhale during the lowering of the weight. Always use proper form. If your weight increase sacrifices form, decrease the amount until your muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons are strong enough to keep safe techniques.
- Speak with your doctor before you change your workout routine.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.