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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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Strength Training Guidelines


    An adult woman is sitting on a Leg Extension exercise equipment
    Using strength training machines is one option to help meet the strength training recommendations.
  • Hypertension and osteoporosis are special concerns when performing strength training programs. Talk with your primary physician before starting a program.
  • Do not hold your breath while strength training. Instead, exhale or breathe out while pushing the weight up or out and inhale or breathe in while letting the weight down or in. While taking slow, deep breaths, 'think tall' to maintain your posture.
  • Reciprocal inhibition may help strengthen spastic limbs. For example, if you have spastic bicep muscles you may want to strengthen the opposing tricep muscles.
  • If you have muscle control on the affected side, you can use a splint or mitt to help with grip and performing exercises with weights.
  • Begin strength training at a weight equal to 70% of a 10-repetition maximum. (This is 70% of the weight that you can lift in that exercise only ten times before you fatigue.) When you can use this weight for 25 repetitions in two consecutive sessions, increase the weight 10%.
  • Strength training should be performed two to three days per week, doing three sets of eight to 12 repetitions per exercise. 8-10 different exercises incorporating each of the major muscle groups is a good target.
  • A variety of equipment can be used including strength training machines, hand-held weights, plastic tubing and 'toys' (medicine balls, plastic buoys).

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