My years in the fitness world have revealed many myths about strength training, which I find myself debunking time and time again.
Myth 1: Because of a physically active lifestyle or job, people do not need any additional strength training. While walking hills, biking to work or even carrying a load up a ladder requires a lot of physical exertion, it does not negate the need for an intentional and balanced strength training routine. To put it simply, a physically active lifestyle isn’t the same as intentional strength training; we must do strength training to maintain our physically active lifestyle.
If you think back to your school days, if you just showed up for class and took the test, you might get by for a while, but to be able to stay on top of a subject you needed to study. Think of strength training as your body studying for all the active things you want to do.
Myth 2: This is one I hear most often from women: Strength training will make you get “bulky” or look like a bodybuilder. Let me ease your worries right now. The large muscle-bound physique you may associate with strength training did not happen by accident. It takes months of specialized training and a strict diet for both men and women to look that way. Adding strength training to your routine will not make you look bulky and it can also improve your metabolism, bone density, insulin sensitivity and reduce your risk of some chronic diseases.
Myth 3: You need a gym full of fancy equipment to exercise. While it’s important to get the approval from your medical provider before beginning a fitness routine, and the help and guidance of a fitness professional can be a huge benefit, you already have everything you need for strength training in your home. You can try out these eight strength exercises, making sure to listen to your body and modify as needed to stay safe, right at home.
Equipment note: If you are using a chair, make sure it is stable and will not move from under you. If you do not have hand weights, cans or water bottles can be a simple substitution.
Unless otherwise noted, complete 10-15 reps for one to three rounds.
Make sure to warm up ahead of time and stretch afterward.
Kimberly Z. Miller, director of Health and Wellness and Healthy Living for the Eugene Family YMCA, is a 16-year veteran of fitness programming with an expertise in personal training and group exercise. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.