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Weight Training 101

For many, we avoid the things we don’t actually know how to do, even if we know it’s supposed to be good for us or something that should be prioritized or needed. I learned this when living with my brother during my college years. For a while, he grossed me out. :) Never really cleaned his bathroom and then I realized, I don’t think he totally knows how. I mean we grew up doing our chores, but those types were typically left to my sister who didn’t work the farm as my brother and I did, so I gave him bathroom cleaning 101. It worked to some extent!

So here we go...

Your goals will depend on the various types of weight training there are. For example: if you are wanting to lose weight and lean and tone, then you will want to go for lighter weights (or even bodyweight) and higher reps. I will quickly cover the various types and give a list of examples below!

Reps- repetition of how many times you bring the weight up and down, or for example: squat up and down.

Sets- How many times through you will perform the reps (repetitions).

So typically you will see 3x15 (this means you will perform 15 reps, then go through them again, and one more time for a total of 3 times). Typically you should rest at least 30 seconds between sets IF you are not following a particular program (such as rugged runnings circuits).

  • Super Slow ( lighter weight, but super duper slow reps like 30 seconds up, 30 seconds down)

  • Muscle Growth (heavyweight, lower reps 6-10)

  • Lean and Tone (lighter or bodyweight, higher reps 15-20)

  • Plyometrics (involve higher reps, typically bodyweight jumps, bounces, etc)

  • And a few others…

There are also different structures to apply the exercises: here are a few…

  • Circuit - moving through each exercise (doing the reps listed) continuing on from one to the next until you complete them all.

  • Supersets- are those in which you do two exercises back to back and repeat them (typically the 3x through) then move onto the next superset of two exercises.

  • Monster Sets- are those in which you perform 3 exercises in a row (typically 3x through) then move on to the next monster set of exercises.


There are certainly a bunch nowadays! But here are a few staples I’d recommend for your home gym. Most you can buy singular (balls, dumbbells, etc) or in various sizes.

  1. Fitball link

  2. Bosu Ball link

  3. Various free weight dumbbells (at least some lighter 5lbs and up through 20lbs if possible) link

  4. Medicine Ball (5, 8, or 10lb are great starters) link

  5. Circular Bands (various strengths) link

  6. Ankle Weights (2-5lbs to begin) link

  7. Other Bands (with handles various or at least one resistance that is stronger) link

  8. Yoga Mat link

Now that we covered the terminology, tools, and descriptions.. Let’s touch on some starter tips.

  1. I’d highly recommend creating your own space in your home or garage (Preferably a heated space). Why? You won’t be able to have the excuse of missing out! You will save time and money with travel, gas, or even membership fees. And finally, one does not need even any equipment in order to execute a healthy, consistent strength program. (pro tip: check garage sales, Facebook marketplace, and online ads for free or low-cost equipment! You can find great cardio machines, trampolines, and more for a fraction of the price).

  2. When beginning (no matter how strong you think you are, or even if you are male or female), start lighter weights (or even bodyweight or bands) and middle-higher reps.

  3. Focus on your full body and do so 3x a week only. It’s imperative that you give your body a rest in between order for it to repair itself (simply put- we are breaking the muscle down to rebuild - and then it rebuilds even more to create the benefits listed below too).

Importance of Strength Training

  1. Lean muscle mass diminishes with age and YOU WILL INCREASE YOUR PERCENTAGE OF BODY FAT…if you don’t strength train. Therefore, strength training increases lean muscle mass. YUP, there you go, trying to lose weight? Consider a holistic approach that includes strength training too!!!

  2. Increases bone density. Whether you are a runner or not, you will have stronger bones and longevity to whatever sport or walking you do!

  3. Reduces the risk of chronic disease by improving insulin sensitivity

  4. Reduces your risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions (large waist circumference, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar) that raise your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

  5. Reduces PMS symptoms

  6. Lowers inflammation. Especially heart disease and cancer-prone peeps.

  7. Improves cognitive function and reduces anxiety and depression. Plus you look damn good 😉

  8. It can even increase your anaerobic and aerobic cardiovascular fitness. Try a circuit, higher intensity program to accomplish this.

  9. And of course reduces the risk of injury by building strength in bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

  10. And don’t forget to explode! I mean do some explosive strength training like plyometrics. This adds a whole new benefit to your running economy, not just the cardiovascular side.

Final Note: Consider hiring a qualified coach to serve you in this area. You do not need to continue with the coaching once you are familiar and educated with what needs to be done and how to do it correctly. But! If you don’t, it could cost you an injury right away. Rugged Running can help! Check out our rising star or personalized coaching packages. Link

For those wanting to test the waters, I suggest beginning with this regimen Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. AFTER a 3-5 minute cardio warm-up (walk, run, jumping jacks..)

  • 3x10

  • Squats

  • Plie Squats

  • Bridges

  • Pushups

  • Planks

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