To Lift or Not to Lift?

If a great Shakespearean protagonist had, anachronistically, joined a gym, his internal existential inquiry might have been, "To lift or not to lift?". Many centuries later, the identical inquiry, or controversy, persists. Joining a gym (health club) usually implies the new club member is going to engage in strength training in one form or another. Such exercise provides an abundance of benefits and is a valuable lifestyle choice for most people. But the possibility of injury exists. The key to safe, beneficial exercise is to learn how to do strength training correctly, then develop a plan, and follow the plan.

Government health and wellness guidelines recommend doing 150 minutes of (at least) moderate exercise per week. This translates to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times per week. Strength training is an important component of any exercise program designed to fulfill these recommendations. In combination with cardiorespiratory exercise, strength training greatly improves muscular capabilities and endurance. Your body becomes fit, toned, and honed, and as a result, you become much better equipped to successfully manage the mechanical stresses and strains that everyone encounters during the course of a normal day.1-3

If you are new to strength training or haven't done this form of exercise in a while, then the most important rule is to start slowly. Scientifically determine how much weight you should be lifting by experimentation. Choose a very light weight and see whether you can do eight repetitions with that weight comfortably. If it's difficult to do eight reps, then start over with the next lighter weight. If it's too easy to do eight reps, then start over with the next heavier weight. If eight repetitions feels just about right, then that's the weight with which to begin that particular exercise. Follow these steps for each of your exercises and you'll have established your beginning routine on a personal and safe foundation.

Strength training need never become boring, as you can change your routine with almost infinite variety. For example, for a 12-week period you could do chest and back exercises one day, then leg exercises a second day, and shoulder and arm exercises a third day. You would do your cardiorespiratory exercise on the remaining two days (for a total of five weekly days of exercise). During a different 12-week period, you could do cardiorespiratory exercise on three days and do arm and leg exercises on one day and chest, back, and shoulder exercises on a second day. Or you could choose to "work light" and exercise all your body parts on a single day. You could do your total-body strength training two or three days a week, filling in the other days with cardiorespiratory exercise. The only guideline in the context of these routine designs is whether the routine works for you. If it works, then it works.

As with all exercise programs, the more consistent you are, the greater long-term benefit you'll derive. Be sure to build-in recovery time by taking a week off here and there for rest and recharging. A modern Hamlet would find his or her exercise time enjoyable and rewarding, and would answer the perplexing question with a resounding, "Yes. I will lift."

1Granacher U, et al: The importance of trunk muscle strength for balance, functional performance, and fall prevention in seniors: a systematic review. Sports Med 43(7):627-641, 2013

2Grier T, et al: The effects of cross-training on fitness and injury in women. US Army Med Dep J Apr-Jun:33-41, 2015

3Liu Y, et al: Effects of combined aerobic and resistance training on the glycolipid metabolism and inflammation levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Phys Ther Sci 27(7):2365-2371, 2015
These are very good points. With expanded research funding it may be possible to fulfill the assumptions of parametric analysis with greater confidence.

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Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota

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Testimonials

  • "Dear Dr. Zabawa,
    I want to thank you for being my #1 healthcare provider.
    I have been under chiropractic care for 40 years and of the many chiropractors I have been treated by,
    you and your precise atlas adjustment are the best.
    It really is gentle and effective. I've had migraines, scoliosis, herniated L4-L5, and sciatica -
    and in the 11 yrs of being under your care I have had no problems or re-occurrence of any
    of my former symptoms.
    You are the best and I thank you."
    Judy B.
  • "Hi, I'll always remember the wonderful things you've done for me at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    I thank Dr. Zabawa for getting me up and running!
    My last chiropractor said there was nothing else they could do for me, and I felt as if my life was over.
    (I couldn't even play video games without pain.)
    Now that I've been introduced to your atlas adjustments: I'm lifting weights again, working (making money),
    and yes - even playing video games. Wow!
    THANK YOU!!!!!"
    Lyle H.
  • "We've had 40 years of various types of chiropractic therapies (sometimes weekly),
    but have never felt truly aligned until now."
    Marsha & Alain M.
  • "I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, and through good habits & care have managed to avoid surgery.
    About 30 years ago my research into spinal maintenance led me to upper cervical chiropractic
    (specifically orthospinology) over general chiropractic.
    This is just phenomenal. When my atlas is adjusted and my spine is aligned, it is amazing how good I feel.
    It helps the nerves and muscles of the body function so well, and I believe it has been the key to slowing
    the spinal degeneration caused by my scoliosis.
    * And it's so non-invasive! *
    Now that I live in Sarasota, I am so glad to be under the care of Dr. Zabawa.
    It's no surprise that he came highly recommended. I have always been impressed with
    the professionalism and care I've received at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    It compares to anywhere in the country."
    Kyle Ann M.
  • "Very thorough. Quick recovery after a car wreck!"
    Nathaniel B.
  • "For 3 years I had been having headaches every day.
    I even went to a neurologist for my headaches, but he said they were a condition of menopause :(
    A friend suggested going to Dr. Z because of the unique procedure he uses and the great results.
    Dr. Z took care of me and within about 3 months my daily headaches were gone.
    What a relief!
    I don't think I've had one since :)"
    Allaesia M.
  • "I lived in pain with an undiagnosed broken back for 23 years since a horse & buggy accident as a teenager.
    When I injured my back again as an adult, the x-rays showed that I had fractured a vertebra back then,
    as well as this time.
    I received some help from going to regular chiropractors in recent years, but still lived in pain.
    I am so thankful that I found Dr. Zabawa.
    After 35 years and lots of pain, within a month or so
    I was PAIN FREE!
    It is amazing how such small adjustments to the atlas vertebra in my neck have made such
    a big difference to my life.
    To this day, I come in periodically to maintain my new found health.
    Praise and glory to God."
    Mary T.