There are so many different types of exercise, but if asked to categorize them, people often lump them into three categories. The first is cardiovascular exercise. This is any aerobic exercise that puts your lungs and heart to work. The second is strength-based exercise, which includes weight lifting and other exercises focused on making your muscles stronger. The third is stretching, which focuses on elongating muscles and increasing flexibility. Most exercise programs include a little of all three. However, there's a lot of room for variety here. We will write more about exercise in all of its forms on this blog. Welcome!
Strength training is an important part of any fitness routine — it can help build and maintain muscle, improve coordination, and increase overall strength. With that in mind, here are a few exercises you can do at the gym to incorporate strength training into your workout.
Lunges are among the most effective exercises for developing lower-body strength and power that you could try at the gym. When done correctly, they help build balance and stability while also building strength in the glutes, thighs, and calves.
Lunges can be done as a unilateral exercise, meaning you move one side of your body at a time, or as a bilateral exercise that engages both sides. When performing lunges, keep your core tight and maintain proper form throughout the movement.
You should begin standing tall with your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointing forward. Then take an exaggerated step forward, landing with your heel and ensuring that your front knee doesn't go past your toe.
Your back knee should dip down towards the ground so that both legs are at a bent angle, with your front knee hovering above the ground. From here, push off through your heel on the front leg to bring yourself back up to a standing position before switching sides and repeating the motion on the opposite leg.
You can add variation to lunges, such as reverse walking lunges or alternating between stationary lunges. Also, you can further challenge yourself by increasing speed, intensity, or range of motion.
When practicing lunges at the gym, use equipment such as a barbell or dumbbell to add resistance. You could also use a cable machine for dynamic resistance, which adds an additional level of challenge.
Squats are another great lower-body exercise that can help build strength, power, and stability.
To properly perform a squat, begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Then, lower your body down as if you were going to sit in a chair, ensuring that your knees stay in line with your toes. Your goal should be to keep your chest lifted, core engaged, and back straight as you lower your hips.
You can pause in the bottom position or drive your heels into the ground to come back up. Avoid letting the knees move forward so that you don't strain the knee joints.
Your gym instructor can help you adjust the squat depth or add additional resistance to the exercise. Depending on your fitness level, they could suggest doing a goblet squat, a front squat, or a back squat. Each variation provides an additional level of challenge while developing strength and stability.
For more information, contact a local company, like YMCA of Coastal Georgia.