Essentials of Safe and Effective Strength Training

The following steps will help to you to get the best results from your strength training program. These guidelines are important for minimizing muscle soreness and risk of injury.

Before You Start

  • Review your program summary (Strong Bones, Vibrant Aging, Stay Slim)
  • Carefully read the description of the exercises
  • Practice each exercise without using any weights to make sure that you understand the correct technique
  • Should you see your Doctor before you begin exercising? Take the PAR-Q and find out.

Equipment You Will Need

  • 3 lb. Dumbbells, pair (Strong Bones, Vibrant Aging, Stay Slim)
  • 5 lb. Dumbbells, pair (Strong Bones, Vibrant Aging, Stay Slim)
  • 10 lb. Ankle weights, adjustable pair* (Strong Bones, Vibrant Aging)
  • Exercise mat or thick towel (Strong Bones, Vibrant Aging, Stay Slim)

*You can start the program using one ankle weight. The leg exercises will take a bit longer to complete because you will need to switch the ankle weight back and forth between legs.

Exercise Program

  • Frequency – 2 to 3 times per week
  • Sets and Repetitions – 2 sets of 8 repetitions
  • Timing – Each repetition should take approximately 7 seconds to complete. Lift slowly to the count of 1-2-Up, Hold for the count of 1, Lower to the count of 1-2-3-Down
  • Technique – Move with purpose, in a smooth and controlled manner
  • Breathing – Exhale through your mouth while you lift the weight, inhale through your nose as your lower the weight. Check to be sure that you are not holding your breath – this is very common!
  • Progression – Use the Exercise Intensity Scale to rate the relative ease or difficulty of each exercise on a scale of 1 to 10. This will help you to determine the right amount of weight to lift and when to increase the amount of weight that you are lifting. Use the following progression chart as a guide.
Week Intensity Scale Dumbbells Ankle Weights
1-2 3-4 Very Light 3 lb. 2 lb.
3-4 5-6 Fairly Light 3-5 lb. 2-4 lb.
4-12 6-8 Hard 5-8 lb. 3-7 lb.