Strength Training Basics – Building A Better Body At Any Age

There are many opinions on what “plan” one should follow to build muscle.

Before following any plan, make sure the proponent of the plan is in shape themselves and make sure to let simplicity be your guide.  Let’s face it, if it’s not simple, you’re not going to follow it.  I remember a couple of advanced strength programs in which the authors wanted the follower to do some crazy, off the wall stuff. For example, one program had you doing pullups every hour on the hour throughout the day.  Another program had you training 5 times a day!

Good luck with that one.

Most of us can’t find time to train once a day much less two or more.

So, yes, simplicity rules the day when you are asking someone to do something that they don’t normally do.

Here’s a basic strength program for anyone at any age.  You’ll need dumbbells, rings and parallel bars.  You can do this at your commercial gym or at home.


Sledgehammer x 4 exercises x 10 reps


Dumbbell Incline Bench Press x 3 x 8-10 reps

Dumbbell Incline Flyes x 3 x 8-10

Ring Dips x 3 x 7-10

Parallel Bar Push Ups x 3 x 15-20

Kettlebell Heel Raises x 3 x 10-15

This workout took about 45 minutes and burned around 350 calories.


Sticking with a exercise program is all about commitment and belief. If you’re looking for excuses, they are plentiful.  If you’re looking for results, excuses have no place in your mindset.

You must possess a burning desire to achieve the results that you’re after otherwise, forget it.

The following tips are not intended to be a “one size fits all.”  Take from it what you will.  In that light, consider the following list:

1.Before beginning any serious weight lifting or body building regimen, consult your physician.

2.Set your goals.  Define what you expect to achieve with your program and use a realistic time frame.  If you create goals that are unattainable you are setting yourself up for failure.  Get this right and a strength training program might become the best decision of your life.  Don’t sell yourself short.  Set your long-term goals, of course, but also set short-term goals that are achievable.  And, don’t forget to reward yourself when you achieve them.

3.Consider the costs.   If you don’t already have a budget, create one.  Then, determine what amount of discretionary funds you have available for your program.  This will determine whether you can afford to have a home gym or if your needs would better be served by joining a club.  Joining a club is still a good short-term introduction before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment that might not be appropriate for your needs.

4.Don’t forget some of the low cost alternatives to purchasing your equipment.  If used equipment is still functional why spend the extra dollars on new?  Good, brand name used equipment is every bit as functional as something right off a showroom floor.

5.Consider combining a home gym along with a membership in a public facility.  Purchase less expensive free weight equipment for use at home and join a gym to have access to the more expensive equipment.  You can design your entire workout routines around a combination such as this.

6.Eat healthy!  This can’t be stressed enough.  Watch your local community calendar for free seminars on diet and nutrition.  Learn all you can about what nature freely provides that can help you to develop a healthy diet.

7.If you choose to use dietary supplements, make certain that you know what you are putting in your body.  Follow the packaging guidelines.  Ask your physician for his/her recommendations based on the program that you have chosen.  No friend, coach or acquaintance can take the place of your physician.  In fact, you may even investigate finding a physician who specializes in sports wellness.

8.Be kind to yourself.  Yes, it’s important to push to achieve your goals, but it’s very easy to tip the scales in the other direction and take things too seriously.  Have fun with it and build a body that will make you proud and one that will serve you well throughout your life.


Scott York is an Austin Texas Personal Trainer and Strength Coach.  He works with clients in his garage gym in Lago Vista, Texas.  Clients come from Austin, Cedar Park and Wimberley to train with Scott.


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