Strength training is an important part of every fitness routine. Many women shy away from lifting weights because they don’t want to look like the Hulk, but lifting weights actually makes you leaner. Strength training is for everyone – men, women, young, and old can benefit from adding weights to their regular fitness routine.
Personal trainer Art Koharian has us convinced. He shares his top reasons to start strength training today and some of his favorite exercises to get started.
- Build lean muscle faster. cardio training alone – running, cycling, etc. – burns both muscle and fat, which can slow your progress. Lifting weights provides balance by improving lean mass to fat ratio. So, you gain muscle and reduce body fat faster than if you only included cardio training in your routine.
- Prevent injury. The stronger you are, the more resilient you will be. Muscles support your ligaments, tendons, and bone structure. Studies show keeping them strong improves stability and makes you less prone to injury during everyday activities.
- Burn calories even after you’re done working out. Yes, this includes while you’re binging the newest Netflix show. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. When you lift weights, you utilize muscles at a high intensity causing tiny tears, but don’t worry, it’s a good thing! While muscles heal, they get stronger. It typically takes 24 to 48 hours to repair and recover, and you’re burning calories during that time.
- Build stronger bones. Studies show strength training improves bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. You lose muscle mass as you age, and bones become more vulnerable to breaks and fractures. Strengthening muscles, particularly around the spine and hips, can help prevent osteoporosis-related injuries.
- Reduce stress and boost confidence. Tough day at work? Hit the weight room. Like all exercise, strength training produces those feel-good endorphins. It’s also easy to measure your progress – and it happens fast! Before you know it, you’ll be increasing weight and feel like a super human. Now that’s a confidence boost.
3 Muscle-Building Exercises
Muscles targeted: Shoulders, back, and arms
Repetitions: Four sets of five repetitions. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between each set.
- Hang from a bar with your arms extended.
- Keeping your core and shoulders engaged, pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. Hold the position for a second.
- Maintaining control, slowly lower yourself to start position.
Modification: Use the assisted chin-up machine to work the same muscles but take off some of the weight you have to pull.
PALLOF PRESS – ISO HOLD
Muscles targeted: Abs
Repetitions: Three timed sets of 30 to 40 seconds. Rest for 40 to 60 seconds between each set.
- Tie a resistance band to a sturdy machine level with your chest.
- Grab the band with both hands, and step an arms-length away from the machine. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the band to the middle of your chest. This is your starting position.
- Press and extend the arms, locking them straight out in front of you. Hold for set amount of time.
- Maintaining control, slowly return to starting position.
Muscles targeted: Legs and glutes
Repetitions: Three sets of 15 repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds between each set.
- Grab a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell. Hold it to your chest with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed out. Your shoulders and core should be engaged.
- Slowly lower your torso, pressing your heels into the ground and bending your knees. Maintain a straight posture with your head facing forward.
- Maintaining control and engaging your glutes, slowly return to starting position.
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