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Injuires, Recovery, Nutrition, Treatments, Health, Tips, Exercises, Wellness, Therapy, Physical Therapy / 8 July 2019

Beginner’s Guide: Training for a Challenge

One of the first things to consider when starting your training is that you need to work on all the fundamentals of fitness – coordination, agility, mobility, endurance, power, speed, and strength. Whatever challenge you are aiming for, you need to, ultimately, train your body in a way that you dominate in all these areas. 

As a beginner, here are some effective tips that will help you with training and increase your chances of performing well in any challenge. 

Setting A Baseline

We all have risky movements patterns that we have. In our offices we utilize the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) which consists of 7 fundamental movement patterns. This is a screening tool designed to identify movement patterns that are indicative of increased injury risk and inefficient movement that can result in reduced performance. The findings of an FMS form a baseline for training and are used to create a customized exercise plan. 

Always Prep Your Muscles Before Starting 

All athletes perform warm-up exercises before starting a workout. Warming up your muscles is the most essential part of an effective workout as it reduces the chances of injury and prepares your central nervous system and muscles for training.  

  • Begin with foam roller exercises to help loosen up all the tight muscles. 
  • Perform a full body warm up to elevate your heart rate and to enhance your range of motion.

This results in an improved outcome and increased muscle recruitment. It also allows you to push harder throughout your workout so you can gain optimal results. 

Combine Upper-Body and Lower-Body Exercises

While you might have heard athletes, hardcore lifters, and fitness coaches talking about targeting one body part a day, for a beginner it might not be as effective. Opt for a strength workout two or three times a  week and perform full-body workouts more frequently. 

Doing full-body workouts enhances the caloric burn, as well as the muscles you work on every session. The ideal thing to do is to pair a lower body move with an upper body move. Doing this will give your upper body a chance to recover while you work on your lower body and vice versa. 

Here is some lower and upper body pairing you can perform:

  • Push-ups + squats
  • Lat pull-downs + walking lunges
  • Overhead press + Romanian dead-lifts
  • Bench rows + mountain climbers

Perform Each Exercise with 15 Reps and Three Sets 

Often while training, beginners try to push themselves harder in hopes of getting quicker results. It is highly recommended that you keep things simple and avoid overexerting yourself as this can increase the chances of an injury. Moreover, it won’t get you quicker results as you are hoping, which would decrease your motivation levels. 

Starting with three sets of an exercise with 15 repetitions each is ideal for beginner training. Aim for this for the first two to three months and gradually mix it up once you start getting comfortable with the moves. For instance, when performing push ups + squats, do 15 push-ups followed by 15 squats. Take a break to catch your breath and then repeat this twice. Then move on to the next exercise combo of lat pull-downs with walking lunges. In no time at all you will have mastered at this level and be moving up to the next stage.

Selecting Your Weights

Choosing the right weight for your body is another important aspect of training like a champ that beginners should consider carefully. While training for a challenge, you may want to aim for heavy weights but that could result in an injury. Always aim to exercise with a weight that is heavy enough to give you a challenge but not so heavy that it starts sacrificing your form. Start slow and work your way up. Keep in mind that each exercise requires different weights. 

However, there are certain markers that would help you maintain the right level of resistance, whether you are using a barbell, kettlebells,  dumbbells or resistance bands. If you are breezing through all the reps that means you aren’t using the right weight.

Stick to the Same Routine Initially

You probably see athletes or experienced trainers performing different exercises almost every day throughout the week, but you don’t have to follow their pattern. As a beginner, it is recommended that you stick to the same routine at least three times each week to build your strength and fitness level. You will definitely gain optimal results following the same routine initially; simply increase the weights if you feel your body is getting comfortable. 

While switching up your workout is a great means of avoiding a plateau, so can increasing the weights. It is recommended that you switch up your workouts a bit after three months or so. 

Perform a Post-Workout Stretch

A lot of beginners neglect to perform stretching exercises after a workout. Indeed, by the end of a training session, your body would be feeling sore. However, a few stretching exercises after a workout will help to possibly decrease post-exercise soreness and enhance overall joint mobility and flexibility. Post-workout stretches will also help your muscles relax after getting pushed hard during the workout. Your nervous system will calm down and your body will enter the recovery phase. 

Rest Your Muscles 

When you aim for strength training, it causes microscopic damage to your muscle tissues that must be repaired, which helps to build stronger and leaner muscles. Feeling a bit sore after a workout is normal. If you’re sore for 2 days or more, however, that means you’ve over loaded your body’s capacity and it’s having trouble recovering. 

In our offices we utilize the Normatec PULSE Systems which are dynamic compression devices that are designed for recovery and rehab. Normatec uses  patented pulsating technology to help the body recover faster between trainings and after performance. This is great for athletes who are recovering from injuries, but it’s also a helpful tool for our physical therapy patients who need to improve circulation.

Physical Therapy

This indicates that rest days are essential for the recovery and repair of your muscles. If you keep breaking down your muscles without giving them sufficient time to recover, they won’t gain strength. Make sure you rest at least once a week during your training. 

Most importantly, always listen to your body. This goes for the experts as well. Your body will tell you when it needs time to recover, when it needs to be hydrated and when you need to stop pushing harder. Try alternating between muscles groups so they get some time to recover. 

Fueling For Success

An essential part of training for a challenge is ensuring that your body is getting the right nutrients. Proper nutrition and hydration are integral in helping you perform at your optimal level during your training. It keeps your energy level at its peak. Eating right also reduces your chances of potential sports complications like dehydration. It plays a significant role in faster recovery and reduces your chances of injury. 

Putting It All Together

From implementing Functional Movement Screenings to identify risky movement patterns to using recovery technology like Normatec, our expert clinicians at NJ Spine and Wellness are well-versed on every facet of determining your body’s unique needs and capabilities while helping you crush your health and wellness goals. 

If you are ready to take your health and fitness to the next level, call us at 877-333-NJSW to make an appointment with one of our Sports Medicine Specialists today or by visiting our NJ Spine and Wellness location page for details on specific hours and locations for our Old Bridge, Freehold and Matawan facilities and Follow Us on social media @njspinewellness. We would be honored to help you Train Like A Champ!

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