You can see from the chart, the most effective form of exercise on health and fitness is strength. For this reason I would recommend adding strength (Not Bodybuilding) to your training programme 2 to 3 times a week. To maximise the cardiovascular benefit, add a HIIT element to the end of the programme. Below are some examples…
- If you already do a sport, then use the sport as your additional exercise.
- If you are new to exercise just do strength training for a while before adding any additional training. Strength training will make you less sore than any of the other training formats. This is because, it is volume (the quantity) and concentric (lowering) phase of an exercise that cause the majority of muscle soreness. Not the amount of weight moved.
- If you are exercising for weight loss do strength training with an additional HIIT session on the same day. By doing the HIIT on the same day you maximise recovery between sessions. Use a calorie deficit of 500 (long term weight loss) to 1000 (rapid short term weight loss) calories a day to promote weight loss on rest days, but re-feed on all training days. Once your lifts are affected by the calorie deficit increase the calories again by 500 at a time to regain progress in your lifts.
- If you’re purely after strength or lack the time to do long sessions, just do the strength work. Strength work alone will still have a positive effect on all fitness markers, including cardiovascular health.
What Is Strength Training
Strength training, done right, is a progressive system of increasing the amount of weight you can move incrementally. You can progress every session when you first start. For example, by training 3 times a week, you get stronger 3 times a week (sound good doesn’t it 😊). This type of progression in starting strength is known as novice linear progression (NLP) and can last up to 9 months. This amount of progression will make you significantly stronger. Imagine 38 week increasing by 2.5 Kg per session 3 times a week, that’s an extra 285 Kg you can lift. I’m sorry, not everyone can progress quite as fast and results tend to slow in the latter end of NLP so smaller increments need to be used.
The best tool for strength training is the barbell. Incrementally loading in amounts as small as 0.25 Kg the barbell allows the body to move though its own natural pathway, rather than one dictated by a machine.
If you are not a gym member and lack space or money for a full home gym with squat stands of some sort, a bar, bench and weights, then you can use power bands (thick elastic bands) to kickstart your strength work. While not quite as beneficial as the bar significant progress can still be made. You would need a number of bands of different resistance to enable you to increment up. Multiple bands can be used together.
Interested in seeing how either the barbell or the band programme would work for you? Just use the links below to try them out for free.