There’s been an ongoing message from fitness practitioners and enthusiasts about how important strength training is to everybody, but more especially for women. Here are 3 quick reasons, amongst hundreds of reasons why every woman should give weight lifting a try:
1. Lose excess weight while you sleep: When you break down muscle with resistance training, your body needs energy to build them back up (meaning, calories are burnt when muscles rebuild). So,eEven for hours after you leave the gym, your body is still working hard burning calories!
2. Tones and tightens: Losing excess weight is always good, but when you lose a lot of weight without incorporating weight training you tend to have a lot more excess skin than you would if you lifted weights throughout that weight loss cycle. Bonus are you sexy toned legs and powerful guns.
3. Improves cardio performance: Most women don’t realize that you have to cross train to get better at any activity such as running, swimming, biking. If you lift weights, you are only making your self stronger therefore making you better at what you do. You run faster, swim faster, bike faster and longer!
After reading these 3 benefits, you would think that a lot of women do lift weights, however, a lot of women, including my friends and also some of you, don’t really take the time to learn to weight lift. The most common reason for them is they do not know where or how to start.
So, to help alleviate all these ‘don’t-know-how-to-start’ concerns, here are 6 beginner strength exercises that any woman can start off with that aren’t too complicated – and it works the entire body. As always, make sure you check a mirror to make sure your form is correct – slow and steady with good form is really the trick to strength training. Good luck.
What you need: All you need is a pair of dumbbells. Use heavier dumbbells for a more effective workout.
How this workout works: Complete up to 15 reps of each exercises one after the other with limited rest in between. Perform up to 3 circuits, 3 times a week on non-consecutive days. By the end of week 3, you’ll notice every part of your body tightening up.
1. Bicep Curl
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing forward, and keep your back straight and chest up. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the weights toward your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position, straightening your arms completely. That’s one rep.
2. Overhead Tricep Extensions
Take object overhead, holding it with both hands. Keeping elbows pointed up, lower forearms behind your head, then straighten again.
3. Dumbbell Lunges
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length next to your sides, your palms facing each other. Step forward with your left leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees. Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as you can. Do 15 reps for each leg.
4. Dumbbell Squat and Overhead Press
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders, standing with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back and lower into a squat, keeping your chest upright and your knees over your toes. As you push through your heels to return to standing, press the dumbbells overhead. Lower the weights to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
5. Dumbbell Deadlift
Set a pair of dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Bend at your hips and knees, and grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip. Without allowing your lower back to round, stand up with the dumbbells, thrusting your hips forward. Lower the dumbbells to the floor. That’s one rep.
6. Chest Press
Lie on your back on a flat bench, letting your elbows and shoulders drop. Hold a dumbbell in each hand on either side of your chest. Lifting both weights at the same pace, push them straight up until your arms are fully extended. Hold them there for 1 second, then return to start.