Strength training exercises you must do

By Joan Salmon

Strength training is a type of physical exercise that uses resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, endurance, and size of skeletal muscles.

Engaging in strength training exercises helps prevent osteoporosis (a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both), improves your range of motion and ability to perform day-to-day activities.

Elly Barangi, a fitness coach, says, “Whether you are overweight or just desire to lose some kilogrammes, strength training is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and build muscle.”
Robert Ddamulira, a fitness trainer with Robbie Fitness, says although these may seem easy to do, moving your upper-body muscles while engaging your core and allowing you to use the full range of motion in your shoulder blades is no joke yet very rewarding. “Get on your knees while facing the floor with your hands at shoulder-width. Straighten your legs to get in a horizontal plank position by supporting your weight with hands and feet,” he says.

He adds that to ensure that your trunk is engaged, squeeze your backside while lowering your body slowly to the ground. The elbows should be slightly propped, rather than spread like the letter ‘T’. Then descend until your chest is slightly above the ground and return to the starting position by fully extending your arms. Repeat these for as long as you can.

However, if doing five push-ups is difficult for you, he advises elevating your hands on a bench or chair to begin building up your strength. Yvonne Bukirwa did not know she would do even one push-up believing it is a thing for men, “Watching my brothers do them, it seemed so muscular but today, I do push-ups without difficulty. I love that my hands and arms are stronger than before.”

Weight lifting
While one can use several things as weights, Ddamulira says dumbbells are a great way to start out with weighted strength training, “Most gyms have dumbbells. For one who wants to do these at home, you can buy a set of dumbbells. Secondly, with dumbbells one can add a small amount of weight to a movement, and using them is less intimidating.

Besides, they will not put unnecessary strain on a beginner,” Ddamulira says. Bukirwa could not stop at push-ups, she moved to weightlifting, a journey that started in her house and dumbbells was the starting weight, “I have since gone a step higher in the weights I carry so I do at the gym twice a week”.

Stationary lunge squats
These involve single-leg movements which deal with training imbalances. So, apart from strength training, they are great for bettering one’s flexibility, stability in the hips, and balance. Ddamulira says, “With feet shoulder-width apart, take a step forward with your right leg while the left leg takes a step back.

Then with the front foot heel flat, lower your body in a lunge bringing your left knee nearer to the floor. Pause just before the knee touches the floor for about a second before going back to the standing posture. Do six to eight squats for the left as well as for the right leg.”

Strength training is, unfortunately, still widely viewed as an exercise primarily for bodybuilders and athletes. However, strength training need not be monotonous, and if you incorporate several different types of activity, your fitness will progress faster and you will have a lot more fun doing it.

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