Saturday, 10th September 2022

Strength training


It is time that you had a rest from my weekly diatribe and got a new perspective. I am grateful to James for this guest blog.

My usual obsession is with aerobic exercise and perhaps I do not give you enough about strength training which, incidentally, is a key part of the DoH recommendations for regular physical activity.

How To Live 10 More Healthy And Happy Years With Only 10 Minutes Of Your Day


When it comes to weight training, most people think of bulked up guys or toned bodybuilders
who base their entire worth on their bodies or weights lifted. However, for people like you
and me, that couldnt be further from the truth.

I’ve always been exercising regularly, and within the last 3 to 4 years I’ve dived into strength
training – and it’s been my main form of exercise ever since. The beautiful thing about it is
that you can reap all the health benefits of aerobic activity, while striving to create an
impressive physique by breaking 3 times less the sweat.
In fact, a 2021 survey review concluded that 60-75 minutes of weekly activity can increase
lifespan by 10-17%. This speaks volumes. With just 10 minutes a day, it is possible to live up
to 10 healthy years longer, and I'm here to show you exactly how.


First of, my name is James, and it is a pleasure of mine to write for the Exercise, Fitness &  Health Blog,
allowing you to unveil the full strength and beauty of which your body is capable. If you aren’t convinced yet, here is what a tiny bit of strength training into your day can do for you:

1) Bone Strength & Health

With bone density loss starting after the thriving age of 30, strength training remains as a
viable treatment and prevention for osteoporosis in both men and women – with women
taking up 80% of all disease cases.

2) Staving Off Disease

Believe it or not, there is a way to stop our immune system's decline. Strength Training limits
the chances of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and even cancer, while keeping your shields up against invaders.

3) Metabolic Boost

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all fall short on our appearance now and then. Strength
programs tighten loose skin, spark metabolic rates and allow for enduring fat loss and stable
weight, as well as BMI

4) Insulin & Inflammation Control

Two of the most common topics of concern can be taken care of if one decides to reserve
medicine as a last resort. With strength training, one can regulate insulin levels, counter
chronic inflammation, while keeping an active lifestyle.

5) Better Posture, Sleep & Energy

By training the fundamental movements properly, you can make sure you stay sharp during
the day, have enough tiredness to rest soundly at night, while adjusting your body to its
proper stance and balance.

6) Confidence Boost

Perhaps the most influential of all to your psychology. A healthy and strong body means a
healthy and strong mind, and a healthy mind allows for a happy, functional person, eager to
enjoy life and people around him.

If these reasons aren’t enough to consider strength training, then keep yourself in fear of
things that can easily be prevented. Otherwise, here’s how you get into it:

Weight Training:

From what I’ve seen in my years of training, lifting weights is optimal way to carry out
strength training, as it secures all of the above – and perhaps even further – benefits.
For making the most gains and minimizing injury risk, we’re gonna stick with a 3 Day Weekly
Program. If you don’t currently have any weights, fear not. The next section is dedicated to
strength training with simple bodyweight movements.

Day 1:

1. Flat Bench Press. Most gyms have one of these machines. Basically, you lie down on a
flat bench and using either a loaded barbell or the grip of a machine.
To perform, grab the bar/grip at about shoulder width apart. Bend your arms until you reach
the bottom of your chest, pause for 2sec and press back up. I recommend performing 3-4
sets of 6-10 reps, slightly increasing the weight in each set. A good weight for beginners to
lift would be anything from 40-80% of your bodyweight.

2. Barbell Curls: This is a fundamental arm training exercise that will strengthen your grip,
arm muscles and improve posture.
For maximum muscle growth and lower back safety, perform the exercise seated. Grab the
bar shoulder width apart and do 2-3 sets of 8-12 curls at 15-25% of your bodyweight.

Day 2:

1. Machine Rows: Today we’;re mainly training the back, one of the body’s major muscle
groups. The best way to acquire a strong and fully developed back is by doing lots rows, so
here’s how:
Grab the handle with a narrow grip and perform 6-10 reps at about 30-50% of your
bodyweight. For the next set, grab the handle at shoulder width apart for another 6-10 reps
10% more weight. And for the last set, grab the handle with a wide grip for 6-10 reps using
your initial weight. Rest for 2-3 minutes in between sets.

2. Tricep Pushdowns: As an assistance exercise, this will help grow the rear part of your
arms, allowing for greater push strength & elbow joint health.
Use a cable machine with a neutral (straight) handle. Attach it to the top rope and grip it with
arms shoulder width apart. Bend your arms at 90 degrees and then push the handle down
until your arms fully extend for reps. I suggest doing 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps using 15-30% of
your bodyweight.

Day 3:

1. Leg Press: Lower body training is the king of strength training. Since we intend to train
the body as a whole, I picked this exercise for maximum muscle growth, bone health and an
increased overall energy.
Sit down on the leg press machine and put your feet on the platform at about shoulder width
apart. Point your toes at 45 degrees and load the weight at about 75-100% of your
bodyweight. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, bending the knees as far as you feel comfortable
doing so.

2. Overhead Press: As a final upper body exercise for this week, I picked the one that
assists the development of functional strength and posterior chain health the most.
Put the barbell on a rack at a height close to your eye level. Grab the bar shoulder width
apart and point your elbows down. Un-rack the bar, keep your hips tight, take a deep breath
and press overhead.
Perform 4 sets of 5-8 reps with the bar loaded at 30-60% of your bodyweight. To keep your
lower back safe, stay upright and let the bar reach slightly behind your head as you lockout
your arms at the top of each rep.

Bodyweight Training:

Bodyweight movements are an incredible way to train for strength anywhere, with zero to no
equipment, all the while being quite beginner friendly. So, let’s get started.

Day 1:

Push Ups. Pick an empty floor area to train and let’s get ready. Knee push ups are
also great for beginners. Put your arms on the floor at shoulder width apart and straighten your body,
so that only your palms and toes are on the floor. When ready, bend your arms
until your chest touches the floor. Hold this position for 2sec and press back up.
The goal is 4 sets at 75% of your max. This means if you can do up to 20 consecutive
pushups, stick to 4 sets of 15 reps with 2 minutes rest in between.

Day 2:

Pull Ups. Pull ups is a compound lift, meaning it simultaneously helps build strong
and healthy muscles in your back, biceps and shoulders, while improving your overall
posterior health. To perform this exercise, you need a bar hanging above your head. Grab
with a grip wider than shoulder width apart and your thimbs facing towards you.
Keep your chest open and bend your arms and drive yourself up. Reach back down once
your chin has reached over the bar. Perform 4 sets of 5-10 reps
If you can’t do regular ones, do Chin Ups or Australian Pull Ups on a table. There, you place
your feet horizontally and grab one edge of the table wider than shoulder width apart. Once
again, aim for 4 sets at 75% of max reps with 2 minutes rest in between.

Day 3:

Squats. For leg training, there is no better exercise than squats. Simply put, you
use your own weight to partially sit down and then back up, in a way that activates your
quads, hamstrings and glutes, building joint health and increasing energy levels.
Use any weight available, be it bottles of water or anything else. Stick to a range of motion
that is comfortable, ideally up until the point your legs are parallel to the floor. Do 4 sets of
12-20 reps with 2 minute rests in between.

Rest for 2 days and repeat the circuit
And that’s about it. If you enjoyed this post, make sure to gather more in depth info on my
blog at
and make sure to also subscribe here for learning how to improve your health and activity level in a simple and fun

Thank you for reading this post till the end, I wish you the most fulfilling, interactive, healthy
and active life, because without any of these you’ll be left half a person.

James Athanasiou

2 responses to “Strength training”

  1. Fred Brailry says:

    could we not have a weight training hour.
    i attend Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 8

    • Hugh Bethell says:

      Thanks Fred
      We do include strength training in most classes – but can add more when needed.
      Do ask your exercise instructor.
      All the best wishes

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