Weight Training Basics
Get stronger and stay injury-free
Stick With the Basics: Proper Nutrition, Rest, Warm-up continued...
Paul Lauer, a certified personal trainer in New York City, suggests you work
each muscle group once a week. That means you might do an upper body workout
one day, then cardiovascular exercise the next day.
For someone who just wants to be in overall good shape, two weekly sessions
with weights plus three days of cardiovascular exercise makes a good schedule,
A substantial percentage of Lauer's clients seek him out for help in
recovering from injuries due to improper weight-training methods and
sports-related injuries. Though each person's workout depends on his or her
specific situation and goals, a thorough warm-up is essential.
- Typically that might start with 10 minutes on a stationery bike.
- Then, if you're going to work a particular region of the body, stretch and
warm that area.
When you work out with weights you need protein to rebuild muscle tissue,
Gillingham and Lauer agree. Gillingham recommends supplemental protein powders.
"Everyone's using them, and they're great in their place, but they don't
replace protein from foods," Lauer warns.
If you haven't exercised in awhile and you're going to start weight
training, start slowly, says Gerard Varlotta, DO. "We see lots of people
who make a New Year's resolution to start exercising again. They think they can
start at the same level they left off, and they forget they may be 20 years
Notice whether you already have pain in any region, says Varlotta, a sports
medicine rehabilitation physician at New York University Medical Center and the
Rusk Institute in Manhattan. "You could reaggravate areas that have
previously been injured or have some degeneration. Give it a try, but if you
experience discomfort that doesn't go away with rest and over-the-counter
anti-inflammatories, then consult someone about ways to modify the
As we age, all of us are likely to experience some degeneration in the
joints, he notes. That doesn't mean we should stop exercising.
"Exercise actually is protective, but like anything else, too much isn't
good," he says. "Start with light weights, use limited arcs that don't
cause any pain, do a number of repetitions that doesn't cause any difficulty,
and increase the exercise level slowly. You do want to take the muscle to
fatigue; you don't want to go over the edge of the cliff."
If you run into any training-related problems, consult a specialist in the
musculoskeletal system, Varlotta says. Ideally, look for a physiatrist or
rehabilitation specialist with an interest in sports medicine. If none is
available, look for an orthopaedist. A rheumatologist can also be helpful,
particularly for tendinitis and arthritic problems.
"If you have some disposable income, consider working with an athletic
trainer, so you can learn how to do the exercises in the right way and at the
right level," he recommends.