Strength Training – What is it & How to Get Started

by Christine Morita-McVey

The World Health Organization recommends that adults do “muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week” and that older adults (over 65) add a third day of strength training and/or balance training. Maybe you’ve heard this or maybe you’ve heard that strength training is recommended for postmenopausal women or that older adults lose muscle as they age? Have you wondered what strength training is and how to go about it?

Basically, strength training means deliberately making your muscles work harder than they’re used to working. This can be done in a gym with machines or free weights, with elastic bands or with your own bodyweight at home. You can mix it up, using some bodyweight only exercises and some exercises with equipment. The main goal remains the same: doing a movement so that you can feel your muscles are being challenged.

There are about 600 muscles in the human body – which ones are the major ones? Generally, your major muscle groups are worked when you strength train each week with exercises that use your arms to pull things toward your torso, push things away from your torso, bend and straighten your knees and hinge and extend at your hips.

A good plan for strength training incorporates these movements in sets of exercises that have a planned progression: as you get stronger, the exercises get harder or change, so that your muscles are continually challenged. This is what I teach in my Tuesday/Thursday class (Stretch & Strengthen, 7 am) and also what I teach in the Strength & Stability for Healthy Aging 3 week series. In all of these classes individual feedback is provided and modifications are available so that you’re working with exercise variations that are challenging but doable for you.

In the upcoming 3 week series, you’ll get 3 weeks in a row doing the exercises, seeing how the progression works, and getting feedback. This series has a more deliberate pace than the Tuesday / Thursday class and incorporates a balance training component. At the end of the 3 weeks you’ll have a written plan to follow on your own.

I’d love to see you in person or online:

Strength & Stability for Healthy Aging 3 week series
Fridays from 9 am – 10am
5/5, 5/12 and 5/19

For more info about the WHO article: