Between my strength-training posts and Strong Woman Radio, I receive many comments that start something like this, “I would love to weight-train, but __________”, and the common ‘fill in the blank’ details are bad knees, bad back, previously injured shoulder, lifetime of obesity, scared of the weight room…..you get the point, the list can go on and on. So many are intrigued by the idea, but overwhelmed by where to begin.
While I have shared my feedback from my own journey on how I got started, a professional from the industry can offer deeper insights into the nuances that can help you take that first step into strength training. And the perfect person to help you with the process? Ashley, of Livin Paleo, who is both a foodie and a CrossFit athlete and national weightlifting competitor. She holds a special place in my heart as someone who knows both food and training, and after you read the post below, you will quickly see why I adore her! Also, her Beaver Bites are delicious egg protein bars I love and recommend as a good snack for active people – the kids love them too!
Regardless of your current fitness level, if you have ever spent a second tempted by the heavy metal of the weight room, read the post below. It will clear up that overwhelming feeling on where to begin!
Performance and nutrition go hand in hand, so when I was asked to write a guest post about strength training for Paleo Parents, I thought it was an awesome idea. I love chatting about fitness and nutrition and sharing the things I’ve learned. I’m passionate about strength training and consuming a healthy diet, and I also enjoy sharing delicious, healthy and simple recipes.
Simple recipes tend to be the main focus of the majority of my blog posts for the simple fact that I don’t have a lot of time to cook and I want to share with people that it’s still possible to eat healthy. Most of my day is spent in the gym training and I do my best to prepare meals that will fuel my workouts. I love cooking and I love eating, but most importantly I love seeing my strength and performance improve and my diet plays a huge roll in that.
I could go on about nutrition and paleo and how to fuel your workouts properly, but I’m here to talk about strength training, so I’ll have to save that for another time.
I’ll just leave you with a few links to some of my favorite recipes to check out later. They’re quick, easy and nutrient dense to fuel your workouts and help you recover:
Strength training is something I love. It’s something I’m passionate about and it’s part of my daily life. Have you considered starting a new strength program this year? Or are you interested in starting one for the first time? There’s certainly a lot out there and it may be hard to choose one. And how do you know which one is right for you? As both an athlete and a coach, the programs I’m going to mention are ones I follow and coach and truly believe in.
My powerlifting coach Mark Bell once said, “no one ever regretted getting stronger” and I couldn’t agree more. Getting stronger is fun. Training is fun. But training can also be hard. That’s why we set goals and make a plan to achieve them.
If you follow Stacy you might be interested in Strongman, and if you follow me you might be interested in CrossFit. Or maybe you’re into weightlifting or powerlifting. And maybe you’re not into any of these things but you would like to get healthier and stronger. When I first started training I just wanted to look good and feel good, and I’ve trained a lot of people with similar goals. My passion for health and fitness has driven me to coach others and to compete in the sport of CrossFit and Weightlifting.
What’s the best way to get started?
If strength training is something new for you, I’d highly recommend finding a gym in you’re area that offers strength and conditioning. Lifting heavy weights is technical and if you aren’t properly trained you can injure yourself. Seek out a gym in your area with trainers who offer weightlifting, powerlifting, strength and conditioning, strongman or CrossFit. Learn how to move and pick up weights properly. If you’re already a veteran weightlifter then I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you and help you get started on a new strength program to achieve your goals.
For CrossFit Athletes:
I’ve followed many programs in the 6 years that I’ve been doing CrossFit and I’ve certainly had my ups and downs. CrossFit is tricky because we’re required to do it all. Weightlifiting, powerlifting, strongman, and then we still need to be able to run for miles and walk on our hands. So how do you find a good balance? I think the best strength program for a CrossFitter is one that requires you to lift 3-5 hours a week and leaves you enough time to focus on your gymnastics and conditioning. The best and most balanced program I’ve found thus far is The Barbell WOD. The input from a variety of coaches across multiple strength disciplines ensures you get a diverse and balanced workout.
The Barbell WOD is a holistic approach to strength programming that simultaneously promotes squatting and pressing strength while providing technical and neuromuscular adaptations in the Olympic Lifts. The Barbell WOD also focuses on strengthening the posterior chain and core while improving muscle balance and symmetry through assistance lifts. The following image is a sample of what a day of The Barbell WOD looks like.
Weightlifting is a highly technical sport. Technique and strength are equally important in becoming a better weightlifter. In this sport I truly believe you need a good coach and a support system you can reach out to on a regular basis. One of my favorite programs is the California Strength program. The head coach is awesome and gives feedback whenever you need it. They also have a large community who follow the program and encourage and support one another. To become a stronger weightlifter you need to develop technique, endure heavy loads and be committed 100% to the program you choose to follow. A good weightlifting program will include a variety of skills, drills and lifts the will help you to develop a stronger snatch and clean and jerk. This will include core and posterior chain work, squatting, pressing, pulling and working from a variety of positions. Below is an example of what a weightlifting day will look like.
Powerlifting Strength Program:
When it comes to powerlifting, I think the experts to seek advice from are Mark Bell and Jesse Burdick. Powerlifting includes squatting, pressing and pulling and these lifts take a tremendous amount of time to develop. I’ve struggled personally with the deadlift and I know how important it is to implement accessory work and develop proper technique in order to stay healthy and continue to develop strength. Jesse Burdick posts the PowerWOD each day and includes video demos to help guide you through the movements. PowerWOD uses the Conjugate method, which is centered around three basic pathways to strength development: Max Effort, Repetition and Dynamic Effort. For a more in depth understanding of this method read about the PowerWOD HERE.
Strongman Strength Program:
For strongman competitors I’d recommend following a powerlifting program, but this sport also requires a lot of technical lifting and you’ll need to learn how to pick up a variety of objects efficiently. In addition to focusing on the main lifts: squat, push, press, you’ll also need to learn how to use stones, axel bars, and logs. And you’ll want to drag sleds, flip tires and carry yokes. I’d also highly recommend looking into the Smolov program. I say this because having a solid base strength in the squat and bench will only help you in your endeavors to conquer this sport.
This is certainly a quick glimpse of strength training and I know there are so many programs out there. The ones I’ve mentioned are ones I’ve followed personally and that I truly believe in. I know these programs will get you stronger and put you on the path to reaching your goals. If you’re considering a different program or have questions about the ones I’ve mentioned I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Happy lifting!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://paleoparents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/10622309_10152438400810857_1021964258_n.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Ashley Beaver is the fun-loving gal behind Livin Paleo. She is a coach and a competitive athlete in both CrossFit and Weightlifting. She also loves to eat and share good-tasting, nourishing, muscle-fueling food! Connect with Ashley: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter [/author_info] [/author]