If your goal is to lose weight, your fitness routine should include some strength training. Muscle burns more calories, and muscle-building workouts can help you burn more calories when your body is at rest. Strength training is also important for maintaining your health and appearance.
You lose muscle mass as you age, and strength training helps retain and build it back. Even if you are thin and feel physically fit, routine strength training will help you do daily tasks. From picking up heavy objects to standing up from a chair, strength training can delay the effects of aging.
In addition to helping your muscle tone, strengthening helps bone growth, improves balance and posture, and lowers blood sugar levels. Exercising also reduces stress and certain types of joint pain.
Strength-training exercises usually involve a weight, whether a dumbbell or your body weight. For example, the P90X ab ripper workouts use your body weight to strengthen your core. Other strengthening exercises include:
• Squats with a dumbbell. To do a squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart, tighten your abdomen muscles, and lower down as if you are about to sit in a chair. Once you are comfortable with the movement, add one or two dumbbells. You can hold one weight in each hand at your side or hold one with both hands in the center of your body.
• Plank while doing lifting dumbbells in a row movement. A plank is holding a push-up with your arms extended or on your forearms. To make it more challenging, keep a dumbbell in each hand and lift it from the floor, bending at your elbows and keeping them close to your sides.
• Overhead triceps extensions. With your feet hip-width apart – whether sitting or standing – lift a dumb above your head until your arms are fully outstretched, then lower the weight behind your head by bending your elbows.
• Hammer curls. Stand with your arms at your side, a dumbbell in each hand, and your palms facing each other. Then, curl the dumbbells to your shoulders while keeping your elbows close to your body.
Many aerobic exercises double as strength training. For instance, mountain climbers combine the two types of workouts.
A good weekly goal is two to three days of strength training. You can do a basic chest workout one day and legs the next. Some of the best home workout programs for weight loss have at least two 60-minute workouts each week.
It is essential to stretch before and after workouts. Stretching should always be a part of your workout routine.