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Perfect Form

Just Lift Something Heavy


The human body is an incredible machine. When too little stimulus is applied, we lose fitness. When too much stimulus is applied, we typically get injured. However, with just the right amount of stimulus, we get fitter. Strength training is no exception to this rule and, regardless of age, with the right amount of stimuli, muscle will adapt to get stronger, get bigger and be more resilient to injury.

So what kind of strength training should you be doing? Free weights or machines? CrossFit or Curves? Boutique Studio or home workout? If you were to use Google’s “scholar search”, looking for scholarly papers on strength training, you’d find almost 10,000 results since 2016 alone. Clearly, there is ample research that has been done on strength training for varying populations, illnesses, desired outcomes, and many more topics and subtopics.  

Here is a really simple summary; lift something heavy most days of the week and your muscles will get stronger. While there are innumerable variations on how you could include strength training in your fitness program, there is no argument that you should include strength training. Here are your top tips on how to integrate strength training:

  1. Lift: Lift something heavy three to four days per week. “Heavy” would be something you could lift no more than 10-12 times before you cannot maintain good technique.

  2. Breathe: Always breathe out during the hardest part of the effort, never holding your breath.

  3. Technique: Seek out the expertise of a certified personal trainer to get the best results in the least amount of time.

  4. Tools: While you can use dumbbells, barbells or machines, you can also use things around the house or garden (heavy rocks) as well as your body weight.

  5. Rest: If you experience any soreness, which is normal, allow for about 48 hours between workouts of the same body parts. This allows enough time for adaptation and recovery.

  6. Function: To experience the best “functional transfer,” that is the transfer of benefits from exercise to your life, use exercises that employ multiple muscles and joints that imitate everyday activities. Some of these exercises would include squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, overhead presses and others.

  7. Safety: If you are over 50, have injuries, or other health concerns, check with your physician first or complete a medical questionnaire at your local gym.

Anyone can make strength training part of their routine, either at home or at a gym. Apply the right stimulus and you may be popping your pecs at the beach in a few months.



A speaker, coach and author, and combining almost 30 years of fitness and wellness, Rod is the vice president of canfitpro, the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry. Overseeing this dynamic 100,000-member organization, Rod continues to propel its growth and position as a leader in the global fitness industry. Rod is a cross-Canada cyclist, NLP Practitioner, RYT 200, Certified Coach Practitioner, and four-time Ironman finisher. For more information on Rod, visit www.indestructiblehuman.com  and for more information on canfitpro, visit www.canfitpro.com