If you're new to strength training, read this reference guide first and follow these basic principles for safety and efficacy:
If you've never lifted weights or don't do so regularly, start with any one of three workout plans below. Perform the workout twice a week on non-consecutive days.
Once you've mastered the beginner routine(s) above, move on to one of these intermediate plans to keep challenging your muscles and your heart! Perform the workout twice a week on non-consecutive days. Select a weight that feels heavy yet allows you to complete the prescribed reps with the last two being challenging.
These advanced workouts are only for those who have been lifting weights for a year or more. Perform your workout three times a week on non-consecutive days using a weight or body position that feels heavy yet allows you to complete the full reps with the last two being very challenging.
This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople fitness experts and certified personal trainers, Jen Mueller and Nicole Nichols.
Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. "Resistance Exercise in Individuals With and Without Cardiovascular Disease," accessed March 2011. www.circ.ahajournals.org.
Cybex Institute for Exercise Science. "Strength Training for a Healthy Heart," accessed March 2011. www.cybexinstitute.com.
DeNoon, Daniel J. "Weight Training for Heart Disease," accessed March 2011. www.webmd.com.
Pried, Robert. "Weightlifting Can Break Your Heart," accessed March 2011. www.armytimes.com.