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The Basics Of Strength Training

Strength Training is the absolute foundation from which a great Physical Therapy Plan of Care is created. Resistance can be created by your own bodyweight, or objects such as weights, barbells, dumbells, resistance bands, etc. Strength training facilitates tissue adaptation in your muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. It makes these tissues stronger, more resilient, and less susceptible to injury and chronic pain. In addition, maintaining good skeletal muscle mass is actually considered to be the real "fountain of youth" because that is what allows you to maintain your function as you age. Strength Training will keep you mobile, walking, getting up from low surfaces, lifting objects, etc, into your 70s, 80s, etc.

So lets break Strength Training down into the basics!! It's less complicated than you think! There are really only 3 main categories of function when it comes to strength training.

bench press exercise working chest muscles.
bench press
  1. Pushing Strength! Our ability to Push things using our arms. This movement will involve your Chest and Tricep muscles! Things like Push-ups, barbell bench press, dumbell bench press are excellent compoud movements to work the chest and tricep muscles! Our shoulders allow us to push things over and above our heads. So if you push a barbell or dumbell over your head you're working your shoulders!


pull up exercise working the back muscles
pull ups

2. Pulling Strength! The ability to pull a rope, sled, pull something from the floor, lift objects from the floor. These are all variations of pulling! Pulling motions primarily work the back and bicep muscles! Exercises such as deadlifts, bent over barbell or dumbell rows, rowing, pull-ups. These all work the back muscles.


barbell front squats working the leg muscles
front squats

3. Squatting Strength! The ability to raise your body from a lowered position! This works your LEGS! Any exercise where you repeatedly get up from a low chair, or squat down and back up with bodyweight, or additional weigths such as dumbells and barbells, improves leg strength. Exercises such as squats, lunges forward/backwards/sideways, leg press machines, knee extensions, and hamstring curls will improve leg strength.

All basic strength training can be broken down into the above 3 categories. Sure, there are other movements, like planks, core stability exercises, etc, but these are the 3 biggest and basic movements of the body. And if you are just starting out as a beginning, its best to implement these 3 basic categories first in a 3 day per week program!

Day 1: Pushing Movements: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps

Day 2: Legs, Squatting and Lunging movements

Day 3: Pulling Movements: Back/Biceps

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