Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Strength Training

By Courtney Westlake


Although lifting weights was long been associated with body building or bulky muscles, it has now become widely-recognized that strength training reaps numerous benefits for people of all ages and sizes.

"It's going to help with functional capacity and strength, with the aging process, with bone density - building stronger bones," said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at the TRAC. "And it will help with your metabolic rate. You burn more calories (not just exercising but sitting still as well) because you have muscle in your body."

Strength training is defined as putting resistant against your muscles. Also called resistance training, strength training uses weights like dumbbells, "selectorized" machines where you select your own weight, plate-loaded machines and resistance tubing. Some group exercise classes where you are putting resistance against your muscles are also a version of strength training, Jillson said.

For those new to strength training, the TRAC now has personal trainers available to assist gym-goers with aspects of healthy living, which also includes strength training. A "Getting Started" package begins at $55, Jillson said, and a trainer can instruct you on how many repetitions and sets to do when strength training.

Another great way to become involved with strength training is through an instructional class that will be offered called Strength Training 101. The class starts Tuesday, February 5 and runs for four weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room and throughout the TRAC.

"They're going to learn a variety of different exercises, the principles behind strength training and why we should do it," Jillson said. "Participants will able to take some really good workouts from the class."

Working on the core muscle groups in the body can be a good way to get started, Jillson said, and then you can broaden your focus on smaller muscle groups.

"Concentrating on large muscle groups is very beneficial, which includes your quadriceps, biceps, triceps and other muscle groups people are familiar with," she said. "You'll have more improvements if you work every muscle in the body."