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Get Strong

Okay, you know that I sing the praises of strength training all the time. I honestly believe that it changes the shape of your body and your muscles like nothing else can. I love teaching BodyPump and strength training classes!

I’ve been promising you guys a glimpse into how I strength train for a while now. I wanted to do a video post on arm toning but I just haven’t had the time. I will still work on that for the future but in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share what I taught for my Total Strength class on Sunday.

I’m not going to go into specifics on how many sets I did of everything but here is a look at the general exercises I taught for total body training.

Disclaimer: this is what works for me. It might not be perfect for you. Always check with your doctor before staring a new fitness routine and ALWAYS listen to your body!

Have a selection of dumbbells available for these exercises.

  • Warm Up – 5-10 minutes of cardio (box jumps, high knees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, squat jumps, heel taps, jump rope)
  • Squats – normal stance and wide leg squats, sets of bottom half mixed in, bicep curls on the breaks (with the heavy squat weights!)
  • Triceps – tricep pushups, tricep kickbacks, dips and overhead extension
  • Backreverse flys, deadrows
  • Obliques saxon side bend
  • Chest chest fly, chest press, pushups (with feet elevated on bench)
  • Abs #1 – reverse curls (laying on the bench), another lower ab exercise that is too complicated to type out!
  • Lunges – static (with some bottom half mixed in), dynamic (front and backward stepping)
  • Biceps – traditional curls, bottom and top half curls, hammer curls
  • Stability/hips single leg deadlifts
  • Shoulders – side raise, rear delt lift, font raise/upright row combo, overhead press
  • Abs #2 – planks, bicycle, crunch with weights
  • Cool down – 5 minute stretch – lengthen the muscles you contracted!!!

And I do promise that in the future I will post technique videos. Maybe I’ll do one per week? Hopefully I will have more time soon!

Now, go get strong! I was really sore today after teaching this yesterday. My chest is sore to the touch from the flys and my glutes are feeling all the lunges! Do you like strength training?

And now today’s update.

Breakfast was overnight oats at my desk after a hot vinyasa yoga class. After class I was talking with the woman practicing next to me about how delicious overnight oats are! She started making them after seeing them on my blog! Today’s mixture was a fruit extravaganza – bananas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Lunch was a Trader Joe’s veggie burger on a Bagel Thin with gouda cheese. Carrots, a couple pretzel sticks and a brownie on the side.

I taught a hot yoga class after work and had a great class! I came home and walked Sullie, who is just too cute for her own good. She had major cabin fever and was so ready to get out of the house.

I took this video of her going crazy after our walk. She loves to roll around in the grass. It’s hilarious. Please note the grunting noises! 😉

And finally, dinner was a quinoa bowl.

Sauteed vidalia onions and garlic with red quinoa, black beans and diced tomatoes. Topped with sour cream, salsa and a sprinkle of feta and served on a bed of spinach. Yum!

I have a BIG day tomorrow. Teaching my first yoga for athletes class at Flex + Fit on my lunch break and then BodyPump at the Y after work. Crazy!

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Holly @ Pink Runner June 13, 2011, 11:01 pm

    I can’t wait for you to post a strength training video!!

  • Danielle June 13, 2011, 11:03 pm

    Hi Jen!
    Thank you so much for posting that example strength training plan. For someone that is new to strength training, it is always great to hear sample workout plans. I know you said you didn’t want to get into specifics about sets..but can you recommend a good starting point for a beginner? I was thinking 2-3 sets of each exercise 12-15 reps each. Is this too much? Thank you 🙂

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 9:49 am

      Hi Danielle – I’m sorry I didn’t post set/rep info! I would say that 2-3 sets of anywhere from 10-15 reps (depending on weight selection) would be perfect. If it feels easy, add more weight or increase reps.

  • Kelly June 13, 2011, 11:09 pm

    Good luck with your first class tomorrow! Have fun!

  • Holly June 13, 2011, 11:15 pm

    Hi Jen! I’m attending my first BodyPump class this week and I’m kind of nervous about it. How do I know what weights to select for each exercise? I don’t want to be overly sore, but I want to get a good workout, and I don’t want to look like an idiot! Please help!
    Thanks so much,

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 9:52 am

      Hi Holly!

      I’m so excited to hear that you are trying your first BodyPump class!!! Don’t be nervous – just remember that everyone has a first class. You’ll want to focus more on learning the exercises and getting your technique right than worrying about weight selection. Go light for your first class. You will be plenty sore just from that!

      Here is a GREAT post by one of my friends with an overview of the class and the weights: http://laquillen.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/body-pump-searching-for-answers/.

      I’m planning a “BodyPump 101: Surviving Your First Class” post soon!

      Good luck and let me know how it goes, please! 🙂

  • nathalie June 14, 2011, 12:09 am

    i adore strength training. i started lifting in early november last year after learning it was one of the best ways to keep fit and make visible, positive changes to my body.

    after walking into the gym a couple times without a plan, i decided to do some some research. i discovered mark rippetoe’s wikipedia/book (starting strength) and it changed everything. right now i follow his original novice program and you just can’t go wrong with it. if anyone is interested in more check out this link: http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/Starting_Strength_Wiki and then click through the links to the right.

    as long as you read up on proper form, anyone can perform these exercises! i used to be really intimidated walking into the weight training area as the only skinny girl but i quickly got over that fear once i started realizing how amazing weight training was for my health and day-to-day life.

    now of course there are the misinformed friends who will make fun of me, but there’s no denying that they are absolutely missing out on something. i wish i could change their mind but it’s practically impossible. i personally blame the media.

    anyway, there’s nothing quite like cranking out your last set and letting out a good couple grunts to make it happen!

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:46 am

      nathalie – this is awesome. thanks so much for sharing the link and for sharing your experience.

      it is frustrating when other women don’t understand the benefits of strength training – not only does it make you look toned, it helps with bone density as you age. there is nothing i hate seeing more than the exercise plans telling women not to lift more than 5 pounds.

      appreciate your comment!

  • Laura @ LauraLikesDesign June 14, 2011, 7:03 am

    I love strength training–good luck with your classes! You’re a busy gal!

  • Jessica June 14, 2011, 7:57 am

    Sullie videos always make me smile! She’s so cute!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad June 14, 2011, 8:06 am

    I started strength training again last week and I love the feeling of being sore. I know that sounds crazy but I like to feel exactly what muscles I worked!

    My dog is a grass roller too…it’s adorable.

    Can’t wait to hear how the yoga for athletes class goes. I used to take a class like that years ago and LOVED it!

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:47 am

      Kristy – that does not sound crazy to me at all. I love it when I’m sore from something because I know it means I challenged my body in a new way!

  • Matt @ The Athlete's Plate June 14, 2011, 8:16 am

    Thanks for the routine!

  • Jackie @ Baking Charms June 14, 2011, 8:44 am

    I’m such a slacker when it comes to strength training. I think the names of the moves are intimidating because I don’t have the slightest idea what they mean… I need to do some research 🙂

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:48 am

      I’ll post some videos soon and demonstrate the exercises and the form.

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) June 14, 2011, 9:32 am

    Good luck at Flex+Fit! I can’t wait to come try out a class there in a couple months. If they add in a prenatal class, please let me know 🙂

  • Krista (kristastes) June 14, 2011, 10:22 am

    I LOVE strength training. I would much rather do a strength workout than cardio, but usually I like to combine them to make the time go by faster 🙂

  • Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) June 14, 2011, 11:30 am

    Aww Sullie!! SO CUTE!! And that routine looks AWESOME and so challenging!! Love it!! Seriously wish I could come to your classes, and I can’t WAIT for your videos on them! 😀

    I’m a BIG strength training fan now, thanks to YOU actually! I took my first Pump class inspired by you, and I LOVE it and the results are amazing!! So THANK YOU for introducing me to strength training!! 🙂

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 9:57 am

      emma – i am so excited to hear that i encouraged you to try bodypump! that makes me so happy!

  • Laura June 14, 2011, 7:14 pm

    Thank you! I want to do more strength training, but I’m not sure where to start. I look forward to videos from you.

  • Hannah June 14, 2011, 7:22 pm

    love your tips- i might try out your work out.
    I wish we had body pump near me.. all the places are too far!

    your dog is adorable… i want a dog like yours badly just no space!

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:49 am

      Hannah – it’s so hard when you want a dog but know that you’re not in the right place yet to handle it. Makes it even more rewarding when you finally get one though. We waited for years to get Sullie until we were finally ready. We love her so much!

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal June 14, 2011, 7:52 pm

    It has been forever since I’ve taken Body Pump! I kinda miss it 🙂
    I actually don’t care much for overnight oats! Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but it’s too mushy for me.

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:50 am

      I think that some people just don’t love the texture but that’s okay! It is a little different.

  • Meghan @ StruggleMuffins June 14, 2011, 9:03 pm

    I really appreciate this post – I’ve never done body pump but lifted for years, then took a lil’ breakaroo to focus on yoga more intensely and recently made a (not-so-triumphant) return to the wonderful world of strength training. I can definitely attest to its form-changing capabilities, and nothing beats the sensation of feeling strong 🙂

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:52 am

      Meghan – thanks for your comment! I am glad that you’ve made a return to strength training. I’m sure it will all come back to you – your yoga practice is effective at maintaining a lot of the tone – especially if you practice a lot of vinyasa-style yoga.

  • Tracy June 14, 2011, 9:18 pm

    Yay for sullie! Haha that was so cute!


  • Alaina June 14, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Thank you so much for posting these! At the gym that I go to, I’m actually a bit intimidated to be in the weight room. Always guys with their trainer’s in there. I need to go in with a plan so I don’t look like a lost sheep. Haha. 🙂

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:52 am

      A plan can make you feel so much more confident so that you’re not wandering around feeling lost!

  • Catherine June 14, 2011, 9:45 pm

    This may be a crazy question but what does “bottom half mixed in” mean when talking about lunges and squats? Thanks for posting the workout!

    • Jen June 15, 2011, 11:53 am

      Not crazy at all! Sorry I didn’t explain it. It’s doing a “bottom half” range of motion. For example, in a squat you would drop down and only come up half way – repeat 5-10 times and feel the burn! 🙂

  • Elizabeth Latta June 15, 2011, 2:33 pm

    Hey Jen,

    I thought about you this morning when I was eating my overnight oats. Great breakfast after a boot camp class this AM. Thanks for the positive thoughts! LOVE the blog!! Great to be able to keep up even after all these years!

    • Jen June 16, 2011, 4:10 pm

      Elizabeth – thank you so much for your comment! Totally made my day. I love it when I hear that old friends are keeping up with my blog!

      I’m also happy to hear how many overnight oats fans I’ve created!!! 😉

  • Alex June 17, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Oh my goodness, Sullie is so precious!

    How fun to hear that others are making your overnight oats and loving them as much as you. That quinoa bowl looks delicious…

  • Kelly @foodiefresh June 20, 2011, 11:43 am

    I love reading about other people’s strength training routines. It helps me to break out of a rut, when I feel like I do the same moves every time. I actually like doing legs and arms, but I hate doing abs. I make myself do them when I strength train, but I probably should be doing them more often.

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