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Old 05-18-2010, 01:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Increasing muscle strength

Do any of you have suggestions on how to increase my general strength? It seems like no matter what kind of workout I do, I feel really weak all the time. Maybe it will increase with time? It just seems like I am exceptionally weak, and I would really like to improve myself in this area. Not saying I want to be able to bench 300 pounds, but I would like to be able to carry a heavy box more than 10 feet without feeling like I might die.
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You might want to consider doing a bit of daily weight training, start small with hand and ankle weights, and as you gain strength increase the weight and maybe move up in the size of the equipment as well. I wear ankle weights when I do housework, so I can build muscle without adding an extra workout. Keep in mind when it comes to building muscle it's all about the number of reps, and not so much about the amount of weight. Although it can also be about the amount of weight too.

You might also want to consider some adjustments to your diet. Are you getting enough protein? If you aren't, then even if you work out morning noon and night your body still won't have the ingredients it needs to build new muscle. In addition to protein you might also want to take a look at the vitamins you're getting, and if it's routinely too low, then you might get yourself a good multivitamin.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First you'll need to build a baseline amount of muscle from which to build strength. Make sure you eat enough protein (at minimum, 1g/kg bodyweight, or about 1g / 2lbs. bodyweight), and start slowly. As mentioned above, wearable weights can offer some kind of consistent stimulus for your body to adapt itself to, i.e., build muscle and reinforce bones and joints.

As you get stronger, you'll want to add in weight training. In terms of building pure strength versus "bulking up," (which won't happen anyways - women tend to build denser, harder, shaplier muscle instead of sandbags) higher weights, lower reps training dominates. It may sound a bit intimidating but it's really not. Just find a weight at which you can do only one rep with good form. Then use this calculator and chart to find out how much weight to use to do five reps. Then do 3-5 sets of no more than 5 reps. When you get to the full number of reps (25), it's time to move up the weight by a little bit. That's the basic structure. I can outline a couple exercises if you want as well, but I don't want this post to get too long.

The higher-rep training (10-15 reps) that's written in most magazines builds a lot of muscular endurance - being able to repeat the same action over and over again - rather than real strength. It increases your resistance to fatigue, but unfortunately it won't help you move a heavy bag of groceries from the car to the house.

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input, guys!

Nik, I'll definitely use your suggestions and see if that makes a difference! I just get so tired of feeling like I can't do things, or like I am struggling all the time to lift heavy items, etc.

I sort of feel like I've just fallen apart over the years, because I definitely used to be able to do things that required strength with no problem whatsoever. That's what I get for getting jiggly! :P
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