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Monday, April 30, 2012

Strength Training Routine

Since starting my healthy lifestyle journey I have been asked by numerous people how I was able to lose so much weight, get active and maintain it.  I have decided to post a series of blogs focusing on specific areas such as menu planning and workout routines.

Before I start, the former wannabe lawyer feels the need to state that I am not a professional. I have no formal training. Everything contained in this blog is information I have picked up along my journey and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of checking with your Doctor before starting this or any exercise routine.

Now, with all that stinky stuff is out of the way, if you want to start exercising I think walking and strength training are great ways to start.  Both are types of exercise can very easily be modified to fit your ability. Since most people can figure out walking by themselves let's focus on strength training.

Strength training builds muscle which has many benefits such as health, strength, flexibility, reduces risk of injury, increase metabolism, muscle tone, posture, and improves your state of mind.  So no matter what your reason for starting is you will receive more than you expected.

The Routine

When creating this routine for myself I wanted to be sure I worked every part of my body. Arms, legs, abs (core), hips and back. I chose to use exercises that rely on body weight in lieu of weights except for working my arms.  Body weight creates its own resistance but with arms that is not the case. As you progress you may want to add weights or change up your routine for Muscle Confusion which is vital for progression. Muscle confusion is the theory that your muscles become accustomed to an activity and it stops being effective in developing the muscle it had been working.  I perform my routine at the gym so I have access to a few props.  If you do not go to the gym or have these props at home don't worry I will give alternative suggestions. Below you will find descriptions and photos of the routine.  I have included videos of each exercise. You can start with 3 sets of 20 reps of each.  Personally, I like to do 1 set of each exercise instead of all 3 at the same time.

Leg lifts (Abs)

I like to do this one in lieu of traditional crunches.  This move also works your legs.  Can't beat a 2 for 1 deal! Make sure to keep your lower back flat and to breathe.  Video

This is great for the glutes. You will feel a burning sensation from behind the knee all the way to your bum. If you don't have a Bosu ball you can put your foot between the couch frame and cushion or between your box spring and mattress.  They are both about the same height as the Bosu. Video

Planks work your core, spine, arms, glutes and quads. Video
Bosu Tricep Curls
Another 2 for 1 exercise. In this one you work your triceps with the dumbbell while you try to keep you balance by engaging your core. I use a 15lb weight but you should use whatever weight that leaves you tired after your first set. If it is a breeze, then the weight is not heavy enough.  If you don't have weights use soda bottles. Instead of a Bosu alternate standing on one leg. Video

Stability Ball Squat
This squat ensures proper form.  Over time you can incorporate a medicine ball.  Hold it in two hand out in front of you. If you don't have a stability ball you can do traditional squats. Video

This pose strengthens your core and back. Video
Side Leg Lifts (a.k.a. Jane Fonda's)
Side leg lefts work your legs and hips.

Cow Pose
This is more of a stretch but I have included it in my routine since I started to have ITB pain. It has reduced my discomfort while running and keeps the muscle loose so that when I am running it will relax more quickly. You do this pose with one leg on top , hold it, then switch legs.

If you are just starting out this will give you a good workout.  As you progress you can increase the number of sets and add exercises to the routine. Take it slow and have fun!


  1. Your workout routine is pretty simple, but it is definitely effective if you will take it seriously. Since you’ve already built your endurance with your low-intensity workout, why don’t you get into more intense workouts like swimming, running, or cycling? These high-intensity workouts are very effective, especially if you want to lose weight quickly.

    >Nicolas Ervin

  2. Though a lot of women are into strength training, there are still some women who don’t train properly. There are still a lot who miss the point of strength training, which is to lift heavy until you get the best aesthetic results. Heading out to the gym only to pick up the pink dumbbell will not get you that lean and sexy body that you want. Exercise with intensity.

    Grace Read