However, winter is a great time to focus on strength training. Weight lifting is a great way to use the indoor season to add strength, power, and endurance, not to mention keeping your training routine varied and interesting!
Here are some guidelines to starting a weights routine:
Warm up adequately. Hop on the treadmill for a light 30 minute jog, climb on a stair stepper, or pick another fun activity. You shouldn’t do any strenuous cardio, but you should feel flexible, your muscles should be warm, and your heart rate slightly above resting.
Don’t do too much at first, and make sure you give yourself adequate recovery time in between weights sessions. Muscles need at least 48 hours to recover and rebuild fully, so never do weights with the same muscle groups on days back to back. Start with one or two weights sessions a week.
Choose your routine. Light weights with more reps optimize endurance without adding bulk. If you want to build added power, however, aim for 8-12 reps of a given weight. If you can’t do 8 reps, the weight is too heavy; if you can do more than 12, the weight is too light. Adjust accordingly next time.
Hydrate and eat right. You are working your muscles hard and they will need a lot of water before, during, and after your weight session. Try to eat something, even a small snack, within 30 minutes of finishing your workout to give your muscles something to recover with – always include some protein and try to minimize sugars and simple carbs.
Focus on muscle groups. Maybe you really want those rippling biceps, but chances are you want to increase arm strength overall, so don’t neglect your triceps, deltoids, and lats!
Finally, keep a log to measure your progress! Nothing feels quite the same as being able to look back at where you started and see how far you’ve come.
Whether you want to train for endurance, add that extra power in your stride, or amaze your cross fit buddies, weight lifting can get you there. Now get out there and beat the winter blues – you’ll be ready to kick butt and take names when spring shows its face!