To learn more about the benefits of strength training and why we should do strength training, please read an older post I wrote months ago called 'Strength Training Exercises for Seniors - What are the benefits?'
Today I want to highlight the 25 day strength training program I have uploaded to YouTube, and how you can continue to build strength after you complete the 25 day program.
If you have never done strength training before, please check with your family doctor to make sure you are good to start. Once you get the go-ahead, I would suggest to start with the two week program I created and uploaded under the 'gentle category' on my website and then go to the 'strength training programs'. I explain things in a bit more detail in those two videos.
If you have done some strength training before, you can start with this 25 day strength program. For each of the exercises, I explain how to do each exercise with proper form. When I created the program, I uploaded videos from Monday to Friday with the intention of giving viewers two days off before starting the next 5 days. Ideally, do allow your body two days off a week to recover, especially since you are new to strength training. The program is created to follow in order since some days we work upper body and the next day we work lower body. If you lump two days into one day and then try to do the same thing the next day, you are not allowing your muscles the proper recovery time. As I mentioned in the other post, it is important to give the worked muscles time to recover. Some people find this is a bit confusing so let me explain. If you use light weights daily, that is okay since it's no different from what we do in daily living. For example, we lift groceries, move things around in our house, vacuum, etc. Once you start lifting heavier weights and do lots of sets or repetitions, then we are challenging the muscles and they get worked much harder. You'll likely feel a bit of soreness the day after strength training (and maybe even more the second day) and your muscles are telling you that they need some recovery time. This is why the program is created in a specific way so the next day those particular muscles get a day off.
How much weight should I use?
If you are brand new, start with a light weight (1-5 pounds). It is amazing how much the muscles feel the workout in the first two weeks of strength training. After 1-2 weeks, your muscles will get used to the feeling, and you can start to use heavier weights. Stick with light weights until you feel you have the proper form down pat. When you feel ready (usually within two weeks), you can try some heavier weights. The main thing is that you always want to be able to have proper form when lifting. If you start swinging your body to get a weight up, then the weight is too heavy and you are putting yourself at risk of getting injured. As you go through the weeks, aim to challenge yourself. If you stick with 1 or 2 pound weights forever, then you are not going to see results. If we are doing a set of 15 repetitions, by the time we count to 12, 13, 14, it should be getting more challenging. If it's still super easy, then increase the weight you are lifting.
What do I do after the 25 day program?
Don't stop!!! You have worked hard over the 25 days and have likely seen some amazing results and you don't want to lose what you built. If you stop, you will slowly lose the strength you gained. You don't have to do weights every day for the rest of your life, but you should lift weights 2-3 times a week. A few options for continuing to see benefits:
Option #1: Since the program is 5 weeks (5 days a week), I recommend picking and choosing workouts from the last 15 days of the program. You can continue to add one strength workout onto any other workout you do that day for 5 days a week.
Option #2: Pick and choose an upper and lower body workout (two workouts) and lump them into one day. Just do a warm-up first and skip the intros in the strength workouts. You can do this 2-3 times a week to get in a great strength program but not have to do it as often. Just make sure you take a day off in between so ideally do the workouts Mon/Wed/Fri, OR Tues/Thurs, OR Sun/Tues/Thur...you get the idea.
As time goes on, you'll want to change up your program, do more sets or increase the amount you lift. If you feel this program becomes too easy, you can do two or three sets of each exercise instead of one. There are also a ton of other more advanced strength training programs on YouTube which will help you to reach your goals depending on what you want to accomplish.
If you've already started and completed the 25 days, I hope you continue to challenge yourself with lifting weights 2-3 times a week. If you are brand new, welcome to soon becoming stronger and more lean!