How to set up a winter strength program

The winter is a great time to work a little harder at increasing your strength. Depending on the climate people live in, many of us will not be outdoors nearly as much now that the colder weather has set in.
That means a lot of outdoor fitness activities are now out of the question, but to turn this into a positive the winter is a great time to spend more time getting strong in the gym.
Here are five tips to improve your winter strength program:
1. Follow a set program — There are really two ways to go when planning a training program: Do a split routine in which you work out different body parts on different days, or work out the same basic body parts each time.
In a split routine, you might work chest and tri’s on Mondays and Thursdays, back and bi’s on Tuesdays and Fridays and legs on Wednesday.
If you’re doing an all encompassing workout, then hit all the body parts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can work in cardio on lifting and non-lifting days.
Use free weights and machines if possible to get a good training mix.
2. Keep a log — It’s important to keep a training log in order to chart progress, set goals and help stay motivated.
3. Make time for fitness — We can all get extremely busy even in the winter, especially during the holiday season. Make it a priority to schedule time to lift weights.
4. Do compound lifts — No matter what type of workout program you set up, make sure to include compound lifts that work out groups of muscles rather, than just targeting an isolated group of muscles. Some examples of compound exercises include: Bench Presses, Deadlifts, Dips, Dumbbell Rows, Leg Presses, Pushups and Squats.
5. Push yourself — If your really want to see increases in your strength and muscle mass, you’ll have to work for it. The winter is a great time to work out harder because you’ll likely have more recovery time depending on the climate. What I mean by that is you could go all out on a bench press on a Monday and not have to worry about having your golf swing, or slowpitch softball throwing arm, thrown off in a local league the next day.
Gradually increase the amount of weights you’re lifting and alternate the amount of reps you’re performing. Make sure to have a spotter on any Olympic style lifts.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at