At Team Better, we believe in resistance training. Resistance training is exercising with resistance to load your muscles and build strength and power. You’ll probably find at least one or two challenges a week that specifically ask you to work your muscles. The challenge might be in the form of a plank that works your intrinsic core muscles, sit-ups that work your outer abdominal muscles, or something for the upper or lower body. Not only is resistance training great for your muscles, it also is great for your mind. Women who train with weights and resistance are more confident, less stressed and healthier on the inside. The rising popularity of cross-fit exercise where you do olympic style lifting is a testament to the way training hard makes people feel. You feel good. You feel strong. You feel like a better you.
When doing any lifting program, however, it’s critical to have proper form. Many programs that introduce heavy lifting without proper technique or base fundamentals can do more damage than good. Low back pain, shoulder and joint injuries are common, so make sure you understand the risks of lifting and how to prevent injuries before you jump headfirst into a resistance training program. We fully understand the fears and uncertainties women have around weight lifting. But we promise you–this is a good thing to incorporate into your moving wellness routine.
Let’s start with the push up and the squat today.
The Push-up– a classic for the front of the upper body that has modifications for all levels. It requires no equipment, uses most of the body when done correctly, and has many variations.
Most people know how to do a push-up, but here are a few key things to keep in mind.
- Your arms are slightly wider than shoulder width and your hands are directly beneath your shoulders. (This is a basic position- variations might include the width of your hands).
- Your feet should feel comfortable. The width might vary.
- Engage your core: tighten your abs and clench your booty. This will help keep your body in a straight line.
- You should be looking slightly in front of you, making your chin, not your forehead, what would touch the ground first.
- Inhale on your way down, to about a 90 degree bend in your elbow, and then exhale as you push back up. (We call this exhaling on exertion).
Modify: If a full pushup is too difficult begin on a wall or lower down to your knees, but all the form and technique remains the same.
The Squat– a lower-body all-inclusive that should be a staple. BUT, you have to do it correctly.
- Your feet should be shoulder width or a bit wider with your feet pointed forward.
- As you lower down, bend at the hips. Your torso should remain long and your spine should not bend.
- Your butt should go back and down. Think about peeing on a low port-a-potty without touching the seat.
- Leg length and bone structure could alter your leg position slightly, however your weight should remain on your heels and balls of your feet, allowing you to wiggle your toes at any point in the movement.