Strength training (video)

Strength training uses weights or resistance to increase the strength and endurance of your muscles, as well as the strength of your bones. It is sometimes called resistance training or weight training.

You may want to begin with exercises to develop your balance and core muscles and then progress to strengthen your upper body and legs.

The strength training exercises in this section indicate which muscle groups are worked by each exercise and whether it uses any equipment.

Some exercises include easier or harder variations. Look for these symbols on the exercises:

  • Make it easier
  • Make it harder
Check with your health care team before beginning any exercise program. Although we have provided strength training exercises to suit most people, some of them may not be right for you.

Learn more about:


Listen to our podcast on Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis


Which weights?

The weights used in strength training exercises include:

  • your own body weight – as in push-ups and squats
  • free weights – such as dumbbells and barbells, which you hold, or wrist and ankle weights, which you attach with straps
  • weight machines – devices that have adjustable seats with handles attached to either weights or hydraulics
  • elastic resistance bands – sometimes called ThereBands, these are like giant rubber bands that provide resistance when stretched; they are colour-coded according to the level of resistance.

An exercise professional can advise which weights and bands you should use. As a general guide, women might start with hand weights of 1 kg each and men might start with 2 kg. Once you can do 10–12 repetitions of an exercise easily and without strain, you can gradually add extra weight or use tighter bands.

You can buy free weights and resistance bands at sporting goods stores and some major retailers. Some people make hand weights from everyday objects, such as plastic bottles filled with water or sand. If you try this, use scales to check they are equal weight.


How much strength training should you do?

Try to do 2–3 sessions of strength training each week, on every other day. It is important to have rest days between the sessions. 

Strength training exercises involve a number of variables:

  • repetition – the completion of an exercise from starting position, through the movement, and back to the start
  • set – a series of repetitions
  • rest – the time between sets.

During each training session, you will complete a number of sets of different exercises. An exercise professional can help design the best program for you. As a guide, you might aim for 6–9 different exercises per session and choose exercises that target the major muscle groups of the arms, legs and torso. For each of the exercises in a session, you might do:

  • 6–12 repetitions of the exercise per set
  • 1–4 sets of the exercise per session
  • 60–90 seconds of rest between sets.

A program should challenge your muscles without straining them, so that may also guide how many repetitions you do in a set to begin with. Once you become comfortable with a program, you can make it more demanding, but do this by small increases.


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on exercise for people living with cancer.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in April 2016
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Life after cancer treatment
Programs and support for people who have finished treatment

ENRICH – a free healthy lifestyle program
A face-to-face exercise and nutrition program for cancer survivors

Cancer information

Safety tips for exercising with cancer
Precautions for people starting an exercise program

Staying healthy after treatment
Lifestyle changes that can help keep you in good health

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP