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Getting Started

Safety Alert!

Stop and talk to your doctor or exercise team if you have any signs such as pain or shortness of breath when doing exercise.

Talk to your exercise team if you are sore and stiff for more than 4 days.

Speak to your exercise team or doctor if you have:

  • untreated high blood pressure
  • abdominal or inguinal hernias that have not been repaired
  • glaucoma that is not treated
  • problems with your eyes because of diabetes, such as retinopathy
  • muscle or joint problems
  • difficulty getting up from the floor

Your exercise team can make changes to your resistance training program to ensure you are safe.

Safety Tips for Resistance Training

RPE ScoreAmount of Effort
11Fairly light
13Somewhat hard

Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale

Borg, G. (1970) Perceived Exertion as an indicator of somatic stress. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2 (2), p. 92-98

Below are tips to ensure you are safe when you are doing resistance training.

  • Warm-up before resistance training and cool-down after resistance training. Try walking comfortably for 5 to 10 minutes as your warm-up and cool-down.
  • Do all exercises in the order prescribed.
  • Take at least a 30 to 60 second rest between exercises.
  • Use proper technique for each exercise. Technique is the way you do the exercises. Talk to your exercise team for help with your resistance training technique.
  • Do each exercise slowly and breathe normally. Do not hold your breath – this increases your blood pressure.
  • Lift the weight to a count of 2, lower the weight to a count of 3. Going slowly will help you avoid getting hurt.
  • Keep your Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) between 11 (fairly light effort, strain and/ or discomfort) and 16 (a solid hard effort, strain and/ or discomfort). Keep your RPE between 11 and 16 to improve your health without getting hurt.
  • Stretch your muscles after you cool-down. Stretching may help improve your flexibility.
  • Take at least one rest day between resistance training sessions. Rest will prevent injuries and allow your muscles to recover before the next session.
  • Stop your exercise if you feel:
    • signs of low blood sugar
    • chest discomfort
    • dizzy
    • short of breath
    • muscle or joint soreness
  • Track your progress on your exercise diary. Your exercise team will review your exercise diary and help you progress your resistance training program.

After your resistance training, your muscles may feel sore and stiff. This is normal. Talk to your exercise team if you are sore and stiff for more than 4 days.

Muscle soreness happens because of very small tears that occur within your muscle. Muscle soreness happens when you first start resistance training, try a new exercise or increase the weight you lift. 

Soreness and stiffness happens many hours after you exercise and can last up to 4 days. Wait until all soreness and stiffness is gone before trying the exercises again. Giving your muscles time to heal will allow you to make the most gains in strength. 

Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016