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I Want To Workout Again, But Where Do I Start?

National Academy of Sports Medicine's Model for Training progressions.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine has an OPT model that teaches Personal Trainers how to begin workouts with clients, and progression phases.

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training

“The OPT model is built on a foundation of principles that progressively and systematically allows any client to achieve optimal levels of physiologic, physical, and performance adaptations[...]”

Phase1: Stabilization

The Stabilization phase is first and foremost due to the emphasis on muscular endurance, balance, and coordination. Injuries are becoming more and more common in the gym settings because the Stabilization phase is being skipped, and many people go straight to the Strength phase. Stabilization creates a foundation that allows you to move forward in a safe way to begin strength and power training. Stabilization exercises can include: standing on one leg, hopping, stepping side-to-side, stepping up, high and low plank, and so much more.

Phase 2: Strength

The Strength phase is composed of three progressive steps: endurance, hypertrophy, and maximal strength. The first step, muscular endurance, is a continuation of the Stabilization phase with more proprioceptive challenges and repetitions. In the muscular endurance step, the weight should remain light and the repetitions should be larger (15-20). This allows the muscles to adapt to the addition of weight during exercise and can be a "toning" stage for women who don't want the "bulky" physique.

The next step is hypertrophy which is an increase in muscle size. This step involves an increase in weight with a slight decrease in repetitions(8-12). The hypertrophy phase is truly strengthening and challenging the muscles in the traditional sense.

The final step of the Strength phase is maximal strength. This works up to the 1-rep max that most weight-lifters strive to achieve. The max strength phase includes 1-5 reps of a heavy load with longer rest periods lasting about 5 minutes.

Phase 3: Power

The Power phase is the final phase of the OPT Model. Power training is common in many sports such as football, soccer, basketball, track, and baseball. The goal of the power phase is to increase the rate in which the muscles produce the force it takes to move quickly and explosively in a short period of time. Power exercises can include: burpees, box jumps, sprints, etc.

So what do I do with this information?

Start Slow and Keep It Simple

There is no shame in starting slow and controlled. Not every workout needs to be an intense, sweat-drenching killer of a workout. Remember Phase 1, Stabilization. Begin by challenging your balance and core strength. Some simple beginner's yoga or pilates is actually a great way to start. Core strength is more important that lifting as much as you possibly can right away. Your core is composed of the hip muscles, abdominal muscles, low back muscles, and gluteal muscles. You do not even need to break a sweat in your first 2-4 weeks of workouts as long as you are improving your balance, coordination, and core stabilization. Once you feel fairly confident in the Stabilization phase, slowly incorporate some modified bodyweight strength exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, etc. As exercises become easier, you can begin challenging yourself by adding more bodyweight or other resistance from bands and weights.

Resources for workouts

Become a client of Peaslee Personal Training, L.L.C, and unique and personalized workouts will be designed specifically for you. Other resources such as SWEAT, NASM, and FitBit Coach, and MyFitnessPal, provide professional and educated progressive workouts for each and every fitness level.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the National Academy of Sports Medicine for their OPT Model, and the factual information provided.

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