Exercise of the Month: March 2022
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP
Life is all about balance – Work, kids, spouse, hobbies, cleaning, cooking… the list goes on and on. The same is true with activity and exercise. Last month, I mentioned two avenues of fitness, cardio training and resistance training. Cardio training is a must. No matter if you consider yourself skinny as a rail or overweight, always nod yes for cardio training. That being said, resistance training is equally as important. I can hear your sighs already (I promise we will get through this together).
Resistance training is a vast world. There are so many avenues one could wander down in this realm. Breaking it down a bit, resistance training encapsulates muscular strength training and muscular endurance training. Maybe that is a head-scratcher. Let’s break it down further. Muscular strength is how much weight you can move. An example of muscular strength training would be how much weight you can deadlift or bench press. Muscular endurance is how many times you can perform a specific movement with a certain weight. An example for muscular endurance training would be performing push-ups or how many times you could back squat at a certain weight. There is a catch though. In both of these categories, the movement matters. I repeat, the movement matters! Saying you can back squat 300 pounds, but your knees go over your toes and your back is rounded is not impressive. Performing 200 push-ups with your butt so high it looks like the Golden Gate Bridge is not a successful resistance training day. Proper form is everything!
I am very stern about how you move because months or years down the road you will feel the impact of that movement. The knees start to ache. That low back starts “going out”. Movement matters. I will have you saying this while you are grocery shopping soon enough. This advance shouldn’t stop at the barbell or the yoga mat either. How you get food out of the bottom drawer of the fridge should look the same as how you deadlift on Wednesday. Take a second to process that, I’ll be here when you are ready.
Movement matters. Now that we have settled that dispute, let’s look at how to add resistance training into the week. ACSM recommends, “Adults should perform resistance training exercises that involve all major muscle groups for at least 1 set of 8-12 repetitions at least 2 days per week.” That being said, first speak with your doctor before beginning a resistance training program. If you have a program in my mind, show it to your doctor before starting.
Secondly, seek out good guidance. I would avoid googling because not all online advice will be good advice. When I say guidance, I am referring to professionals. Seek out help from someone certified. They can be a physical therapist you know, a personal trainer at your gym, a strength and conditioning coach at your school, or ask your doctor if they know anyone. We all have friends who love to hit the gym, but that doesn’t mean they are the expert or end-all be-all answer to your resistance training journey. I urge you to proceed carefully in your search for guidance. And remember, movement matters.
So this month, keep up with the cardio training and add-in that resistance training. There are so many paths to take on your fitness journey. Be adventurous and open to trying out new things. You never know what you might fall in love with! As always, don’t forget to journal your activity and progress (I’m a sucker for keeping a detailed log).
For more information on good movement form, visit bodybuilding.com or acefitness.org. You can also send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.