Get stronger and more toned through proper weight training
Along with cardio workouts, weight training is an important part of a complete workout regime. Strength training not only improves the look of your body – think tight, toned abs, chest and biceps – it can also help you increase your body's metabolism, causing you to burn calories even while resting. Other benefits of weight training include improved flexibility and balance, injury prevention or quicker recovery time, and improved confidence and body image.
Weight Training Programs
One of the most challenging parts of incorporating strength training into your workout is figuring out the right weight training program – namely, knowing which exercises to do and when to do them. Personal trainers are the best resource for developing a customized strength training program that's right for your fitness level and goals, but these general tips can help you get started:
- Don't fear the bulk. If you're a woman who thinks strength training will make her too muscular, there's no need to worry. General weight training exercises help tone the muscles, but it takes a lot of effort to really build up the bulk. If you're really concerned, stick with more reps at a lighter weight to emphasize muscle toning rather than building.
- Try supersets. A superset is made up of two exercises that work out opposing muscles, such as the abs and back or biceps and triceps. Alternating between these exercises with no rest in between can help you pack a double-punch into your workout.
- Limit yourself. Weight training is a vital part of your workout regime, but you don't want to overdo it. For best results, limit yourself to three weight training sessions per week, and make sure you don't work the same muscles two days in a row – muscles typically need at least 24 hours to recover from a workout. Alternating strength training days with cardio workout days is a great way to achieve results.
Weight Training Equipment
Starting a weight training program shouldn't require you to buy a lot of pricey equipment. If you belong to a gym, you'll have access to lots of strength training equipment, but for home gyms, a good set of dumbbells is all you really need. Be sure to buy weights at small increment levels, so you can increase the weight slowly as your strength increases.
If you're really short on space, try a freestanding dumbbell machine with weight packs that allow you to customize your weight level without needing another set of dumbbells. You can also try exercise accessories like resistance bands to add some diversity to your strength training workout.