Fall Strength Training: How to Get Back in Session

It's fall and once again, schools everywhere are back in session. Back to the classroom, back to the homework, and back to the busy schedules that flood our calendars. Fall is a season of renewal, goal setting, and the ideal time to get back to YOU and your strength training routine. 

Why Strength Matters

Women training outside with coach
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Cardiovascular exercise is generally easier to come by, especially in the summer. Many of us spend the summer walking more, running around chasing kids, swimming, or maybe mowing the lawn and gardening. Movement probably wasn’t a problem for you this summer. A solid strength training program, however, requires intentional planning and scheduled execution. You need to know what you are going to do and what equipment you are going to need. But why bother if you are burning calories in another way? 

The benefits of strength training and building muscle in your body cannot be understated. People with more muscle burn more calories, have better bone density, and are less prone to injury. The fact is that a pound of fat takes up a whole lot more than a pound of muscle in your body. That equates to smaller jeans and more fitted tops. However, even if you are already at your ideal size, consider this: After the age of 35 your body begins to lose muscle mass if you don’t intentionally work to keep it. 

That sounds pretty straightforward.

 So let’s get to it. Let’s commit to real strength training this fall. Here are some moves to get you started. Below are two lower body, two upper body, and two core moves for you to begin with. Mix and match any way you would like. Just make your goal to strength train three times per week for at least 20 minutes each time. For this workout, you need a set of dumbbells that works for you. Beginners might want to consider 8-10 pounds, while others can probably handle just a bit more. Click on the name of the exercise for a photo and a description of how to perform properly. 

Modified Push-Up

Get into a regular strength training routine this fall and build your muscle with our six moves.
Chris Freytag

UPPER BODY

The mainstay of any strength training routine is a good push-up. It strengthens your upper body more than any other exercise, but it also targets the core like crazy. Just go slow and be picky about your form. This description starts you on your knees, but as you gain strength you start to incorporate a few full toe push-ups with each session until all of them are off your knees! See if you can perform 10-12 push-ups.

Shoulder Overhead Press

Get into a regular strength training routine this fall and build your muscle with our six moves.
Chris Freytag

UPPER BODY

Strong shoulders look great, but more importantly the shoulder overhead press serves a very functional role. Think of how often you are required to lift heavy things! This move will also help you avoid injury at your rotator cuff. Again, watch your form and keep your abs pulled in for good spinal alignment. Depending on the weight you choose, aim for 12-15 presses. 

Basic Squat

Get into a regular strength training routine this fall and build your muscle with our six moves.
Chris Freytag

LOWER BODY

Basic but powerful, a good basic squat not only strengthens your legs and glutes but also helps keep you young. How? By stretching out your hip flexors and giving you  good range of motion. Old people shuffle because they are tight and inflexible. Keep your chest up and eyes forward, but go deep! You can hold dumbbells to make this one harder. Try to perform 12-15 deep squats.

Backward Lunge

Get into a regular strength training routine this fall and build your muscle with our six moves.

LOWER BODY

A reverse lunge gives you all the power of a forward or stationary lunge, but is more gentle on the knees and back. Read the description carefully and pay attention to where your knees bend in location to your hips and feet. You can hold dumbbells to make this one harder. Alternate right and left for a total of about 8 per leg-16 total. 

Forearm Plank

Get into a regular strength training routine this fall and build your muscle with our six moves.
Chris Freytag

CORE

Planks are always first choice when it comes to getting something done in the core. They work every muscle in your belly and help to strengthen your low back. Avoid sagging your low back and squeeze your glutes and legs while you are holding. Try for 30 seconds and work your way up to one minute!

Russian Twist

Get into a regular strength training routine this fall and build your muscle with our six moves.
Chris Freytag

CORE

When it comes to working your waistline—your obliques—the Russian Twist does the trick. It also targets the rectus and transverse abdominus. Keep your feet on the ground to start and lift them up as you get stronger. Try for 16-20 total twists. 

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