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How to start strength training at home

Can I develop my strength at home even if I don’t have any weights or equipment?  The answer, DEFINITELY! 

We may not be able to get into the gym during the lockdown, maybe you’ve never wanted to,  maybe you’ve never stepped foot in one - we get it,  gyms aren’t for everyone. And for women especially can be really intimidating and scary. 

However, resistance training and strength training is vital for our health and wellbeing, regardless of age or gender. For women especially, it becomes integral to keeping us well as we age, and yes, it can be done from the comfort of your own home. 

 

Even when you start out in the gym, we always start with bodyweight movements first - no weights necessary. Working out at home provides the perfect opportunity to master the basics using just your bodyweight. From then you can move on to using home exercise equipment such as small weights or bands.  This ensures you continually develop your muscle strength and endurance once your body has mastered the basics.  

 

We have a library of different exercises that can be found on our SYNERGI Personal Training Youtube channel;

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-OtgzR-_ZyOfR4eKVk3M0w  

We are also offering a free home workout pdf to anyone looking to start out! Just drop us a message and we will ping it across. 

 

Building a strong foundation 

The simplest movements you can master to build strength and stability fall into the categories below: 

Upper Body Push Movements 

  • Press up 

You can do this movement to a raised surface like a coffee table the sofa or even the wall. Or start out on your knees instead of your feet. 

Lower Body 

  • Squat 

You can do this movement to a chair,  coffee table or sofa. Great for your thighs and bum! To make it harder you can slow down the movement. 

Lower body single-leg movements 

  • Lunge 

Important as many of us have one side of the body that’s stronger than the other. Single leg movements work thighs, back of your legs and bum!

 

Lower body Hinge 

  • Reach outs and Glute bridge 

Great for your bum and your hamstrings!

 

Core 

  • Side plank and planks 

You can never go wrong with these 2. Make them easier by going on to your knees, harder by going on to your feet. 

 

Glutes - Aka moves that work your Butt!

  • Sofa Hip-Thrust, frog pump, lateral leg raises 

 

To build stability and “feel out” your positions we recommend doing the movements slowly, this allows you to really feel the positions and the muscles they are working. For example, performing a set of squats for 10reps pausing at the bottom of each rep for 2-3 seconds. By doing this you will build strength in the bottom position ( the hardest part)  whilst also gaining mobility  (using those 2-3 seconds to passively stretch any tight areas).  

 

Squat,  Press up & Core coaching cues and variations  

Squat. 

Cue’s to think about in the bottom position would be “weight even though your feet”, “knees out”, “neutral back position” and “shoulders back” (easiest to have your arms out in front of you to do this to start). Sometimes you may feel like you’re doing it right but, just incase, for visual confirmation, try doing it in front of a mirror too to be sure.

 

Press Up

Press-ups are a great staple to any programme. Most people will struggle for even 1 normal press-up to start so the best thing would be to find an elevated surface. Once you can perform 3x10reps on that then find a lower surface. Repeat until you’re finally on the floor (this will take time - months not weeks!). Try and maintain a straight body throughout, if your lower backdrops and you start “snaking” it up then it’s too hard. If your elbows start flaring out and you round your upper back then it’s too hard. Try and think “legs straight, squeeze glutes, tuck abs in, elbows into your sides, chest in-between your hands”.

Core: There are hundreds of variations of core exercises. Here are just a few. 

  1. holds (plank, side planks)
  2. lower abs (leg raise variations)
  3. upper abs (crunch variations) 
  4. Rotational work (Russian twists, thread needles). 
  5. Lower back: Backups and Superman holds are also great for working your mid/lower back. If you have any back problems be careful with the ab and lower back work. Best sign is pain, if it hurts then you probably shouldn’t do it. 

If you’re really struggling on your own then seek professional guidance. Best would be a trainer that specialises in movement and strength training. 

All of the above movements and variations of are on the SYNERGI Personal Training Youtube channel;

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-OtgzR-_ZyOfR4eKVk3M0w

We also offer online personal training, sessions take place on a video call.  Our coaches and female personal trainers can give you feedback,  advice and personalised coaching - just like you would receive in the gym. The only person that sees you exercise is your trainer - it’s a great way to build your confidence and develop your strength and fitness. 

Online Personal Training FAQ's

What does a typical session look like and how long does it last? 

Sessions take place on a day and time that's convenient to you and are held using a video conferencing app called “zoom”. It’s free to download, check it out here. https://zoom.us/ 

Video calls allow for us to actually see you move and make sure you are performing movements correctly -  keeping you safe and well. Following online workouts are great, however don't offer the level of feedback you will get from an online personal training session. We demonstrate all the movements and offer feedback, advice and encouragement throughout the session. Exercises and workouts will be fully tailored to you as an individual taking into consideration your exercise experience, age, fitness level and goals. The exercise intensity will be closely monitored to make sure workouts are challenging but don't leave you feeling exhausted. We take things slow and build up at an intensity that suits you. 

 A typical session will involve a 10-minute mobility warm-up, 40 minutes of bodyweight exercises and 10 minutes of core-focused exercises. 

 

I haven’t got much room to work out in my house, how much space do I need? 

You don’t need much space at all. Lie down on the floor and make a starfish shape. If you have that much room that’s all we need. Any more is a bonus. 

 

I don’t have any gym equipment, is it still possible to achieve my goals?

It’s amazing what you can do with your own body weight. Even when we are in the gym we start by making sure you can move your body safely, before we add any weights. We use HITT style workouts and also different methods to make exercises harder and easier, so we don’t need to add weight anytime soon. We can advise you on the best home exercise kit to buy should you get the bug. 

 

I want to work out on my own too, can you help,? 

Yes, we can write you a home exercise plan for you to follow in your own time. You can refer to our exercise catalogue and YouTube channel to remind you of exercises should you forget how to perform them. 

 

How much does it cost? 

Sessions are £30 per hour. We often have promotions and offers running, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media channels.

https://www.facebook.com/synergipersonaltraining/

 

Can I transfer to face to face Personal Training if I wanted to? 

Of course! With government restrictions due to COVID- 19 all personal training is online, but as soon as we are able to work on a face to face level we will be doing so again. 

 

I really want to be trained by a woman, do you have female personal trainers

We do! We have 2 female personal trainers, Elin and Verity. Whether you are a lady looking to learn to lift or a woman looking to lose weight, both Elin and Verity specialise in exercise and nutrition for women.  

 

I have a friend that interested, do you offer group online personal training sessions? 

Yes, we do! All we need to do is decide upon a day and a time that works for you both and you can share the cost of the session. We also offer group personal training on a face to face level too. 

 

Can my kids get involved too, or other members of my family? 

Yes of course! More the merrier! We work with children as young as 4 to adults in their 80s!

 

I want to lose weight, can you help with my diet too?

Yes, definitely. We offer nutritional coaching sessions and personalised nutrition plans. too. You can use the hour as you wish and can focus on the areas of health you would most like support with - strength, fitness and stamina, weight loss, diet/ nutrition - or a combo of everything. 

 

I’m really looking for an Online Personal Trainer in Cardiff, where are you based? 

We are normally based just off of Newport Road on Colchester Avenue in Cardiff, CF23 9AP. We are based out of SYNERGI Weightlifting Club -  www.synergiweightlitingclub.com. Once lockdown has lifted we will be offering face to face PT again along with gym membership and strength classes. But for now, everything is staying online, and will likely to continue working this way long term. 

 

 

Strength Training for Women, 3 tips to get you started

Stepping into the weights area of any gym can be super intimidating, for many, it means stepping into the unknown and well outside of their comfort zone. However, if you're willing to take a tiny step beyond your comfort zone, you'll be on the road to some fantastic progress. Let's review some tips to get you started.  

No.1:  Get the basics right.
Knowing what exercises to perform, how much weight to lift and how many times to lift it can be really difficult to work out for yourself. Just one session with a personal trainer or fitness professional can be really helpful. Many moons ago, before Instagram, I would buy Men’s Health Magazine ( you can now get Women’s Health Magazine too)  and simply copied exercise routines from there. With limitless online routines available it’s difficult to know where to begin! If you are a beginner you want to aim to lift between 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions with around 60-90 seconds rest. If you can get to rep 12 easily then you need to up the weight, the last few reps should feel difficult and testing.  You want to that focus on the whole of your body each workout – Chest, shoulders,  back, legs and bum and of course your core. A simple routine to get you started might look something like this:

  1. Leg Press Machine (Legs) 3-4x 8-12
  2. Hamstring Curl Machine (Legs) 3-4x8-12
  3. Incline dumbbell bench press (Chest and Shoulders) 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  4. Assisted Chin Up on Machine (Back)  3-4x8-12
  5. Bodyweight Glute bridge (Bum/ glutes) 3-4x 12-15
  6. Plank on knees or Feet, 3 sets of 15- 30 seconds.
  7. Feeling sore and exhausted is not always a sign of a good workout

No.2: Keep soreness and intensity in check

It is well known that women are often encouraged to seek out extreme soreness, and extreme fatigue like it’s the only indicator of a successful workout. Strength training isn’t about reaching the finish line as quickly as possible, but it is about moving at your own pace.   It’s normal to feel sore when you first start out but over time your body will adapt and the soreness will reduce. Remember exercise is meant to help you feel revitalized if you are leaving the gym feel absolutely exhausted. Miserable and ‘beat up’ you may be pushing yourself too hard. 

No. 3: Be kind and gentle with yourself, it’s ok to feel uncomfortable.

If you work -out in a crowded gym, venturing to the free weight area may be intimidating. The treadmill and cross-trainer feel safe right?  To make heading into the free weights area a little more manageable you can:

  1. Recruit a friend to work out with you and you two can support and encourage each other.
  2. Pledge to do just one exercise in the free weights area, or spend just a few minutes there, then head back to an area you feel more comfortable.
  3. Start at home – practice bodyweight squats, press-ups, and sit-ups and build your confidence or follow an online home programme to get you started.
  4. Book in for a Personal Training session. Get 1 or 2 friends involved and see if you can spread the cost of the session.
  5. Load your favorite music onto your phone and listen to it while you train.
  6. If in doubt stick to exercise machines thinking about working each body part, simply follow the instructions on the side of the machines
  7. Ask a member of staff for some guidance. Gyms often have staff on hand to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little bit of help to get you started.

Remember ANY exercise is better than none at all. Hang on in there your confidence will build eventually. The actions of confidence come before the feelings of confidence. You’ve got this!

Lifting weights won’t make you bulky. You aren’t going to wake up looking like the Hulk. It takes many years to build guns of steel and a substantial muscle mass. Lifting weights can actually make you feel like a strong independent badass woman. Get involved!

We have 2 female personal trainers who specialize in strength training for women and a variety of women's only strength classes.  Browse through the website for what's on offer.  We try to offer regular promotions that make personal training affordable, whatever your budget. 

Benefits of Online Personal Training

  1. Saves time - no travel to the gym necessary. 
  2. You receive coaching - Unlike an exercise video or live workout's, online personal training allows the trainer to check you are doing the exercises safely. The trainer can also ensure workouts are tailored to your personal fitness level and exercise experience. 
  3. You can exercise anywhere on your own - study, garden, lounge, the office. 
  4. Fits into your schedule. Early bird - No problem. Want to train on your lunch break - easy peezy, after work - consider it done. 
  5. Anyone can do it! 
  6. Gives you routine and structure 
  7. Gives you some YOU time! 
  8. It keeps you accountable
  9. Great for your mental health 
  10. It's motivating and builds your confidence before stepping into the gym
  11. Change of scene - You get to speak with a different, impartial person
  12. Growth and development. You will learn workouts that you can eventually feel confident to perform on your own.
  13. It's cheaper than regular personal training. 
  14. No need for a gym membership. 
  15. You can work on exercise and nutritional goals and have time to explore both within the space of an hour.  

The Role of Genetics in Protein Production

The process of making proteins, also called protein synthesis, is a series of steps each controlled by enzymes. Enzymes are non-living molecules that facilitate many processes in our body, especially those of making proteins. The interesting thing is, that enzymes themselves are in fact proteins and so our bodies are totally dependent on protein molecules to function.

Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. Think of each amino acid as a different coloured bead that goes onto a string. Different combinations of amino acids give different kinds of proteins. These could be those most commonly thought of like the proteins that make up our muscles. But in fact there are proteins right down to the cellular level that allow important molecules like glucose in and our of our cells. All of these proteins are made because of our genetic instructions.

Each and every cell in our body contains our DNA. This can be thought of as a genetic code, that makes us, us- It is the reason why each one of us is unique. Via a process called transcription, the DNA information is made into a new molecule called RNA. This is then read by an enzyme to make up a sequence of amino acids. This then folds in various ways to make a protein.

 

 

SYNERGI Personal Training
  • Colchester Ave
    Cardiff 
    South Wales
    CF23 9AP
  • TEL: 07817 415569
Opening Hours 

Monday-Thursday: 
6am-10pm 

Friday: 
6am-9:30pm 

Saturday: 
9.30am to 3pm 

Sunday: 
10:30am-2pm
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