Strength training exercises to tone and build muscle. Useful tips to get started with these exercises.
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7 Minute Muscle
The stereotypical view of weight training is that it's a "guy's thing".
Some guys even get intimidated by their more muscular friends. It becomes a bragging contest, I guess it's an ego thing.
Forget that stereotype view because building lean muscle is the best way to start burning fat.
It's not about building bulk. Use strength training exercises to build a base level of muscle which will naturally burn calories.
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This combination will quickly tone your body, as long as you also have a balanced diet.
The other major benefit of weight training is that your muscles provide more support for your joints. This is a huge factor in avoiding common injuries. You are strengthening your skeletal system as well as your muscular system.
Before you start strength training exercises, you need to know how muscle gets stronger. Well it's basically called overload. This is the idea that you need to work your muscle harder than it is normally used (pretty simple eh?).
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How do you achieve overload?
These changes should be gradual and sensible to avoid injury. If you make an increase and then can't finish your sets, it shows you've jumped too much. You will see better results if you make smaller, gradual increases that your body can handle.
On the other hand, if you've made in increase and still find the sets easy, then you haven't increased enough. Make a further increase and go from there. But make sure you can finish your sets with good technique and posture.
Maximum lift.. this is important to determine the weights you start with, in your strength training exercises. Your maximum lift is the most weight you can lift in 1 rep. I recommend you have a friend spot you for this, even if you're using resistance machines, and definitely if you're using free weights.
Pick a weight you know you can lift easily and increase it by 3-5kg each lift. This will help warm that specific muscle up, but won't fatigue it so much that it obscures your maximum lift. Keep increasing until you hit a weight you can't lift. The weight before that, is your maximum lift.
Types of workout.. these will determine the weight, reps and sets you use. If your overall goal is to:
These are all starting points. As explained above, you need to overload to progress. Part of this, is to check your maximum lift for each exercise every 2-4 weeks. As you progress, your maximum lift may increase with increased strength.
You can then adjust your workout, according to your new maximum lift. These are good goals to set yourself. When you have achieved your goal, then the aim will be to remain at that level.
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Avoid Injury SideNote
As with any workout, warm up and cool down are always essential. You should never do strength training exercises with cold muscles. Always remember to cool down by stretching the specific muscles you used in your workout, to avoid walking like a robot for the next few days!
Rest days are probably the most important part of your strength training exercises workout. During your lifts (overload), tiny fibres in your muscles "tear". It's during your rest days, that your body has the chance to repair these tears. This is the process that strengthens muscle, as each tear is repaired with many more muscle fibres.
So I would recommend at least 1 day's rest between each workout. Depending on the intensity and load of your workout, you may increase your rest days to 2 or maybe even 3 days. Only you can tell when you are ready for your next workout.
Listen to your body, if your muscles are still very sore, chances are that you won't be able to complete the workout and you'll risk injury if you do.
Always keep good technique and posture. Using machines is great for developing this. Once you are used to machines then move on to free weights, there is much more variety of exercises with these.
It's much harder to keep good technique with free weights, I recommend having a spotter, so you have that bit of extra confidence. Always keep your back straight and bend at your knees to lift or transport any (yes any!!) weight. I can't stress this enough to avoid serious back injuries.
You may notice you can't lift as much weight when you first use free weights, as you can with machines. This is only natural because you are using extra muscles to keep balanced with free weights. Drop down a weight, develop your balance and technique, then you'll reap the rewards when you increase the weight again.
You should spend some time on every part of your body. A huge upper body with skinny legs isn't a good look! Even worse, strong chest and abs with weak back muscles will lead to bad posture and maybe even injury.
You should develop a pattern of breathing with each workout. Breathe out with each lift, and breathe in during the recovery phase, ready for the next lift.
Click here for more advice on buying and using free weights.
This series of strength training exercises covers the main muscle groups, upper and lower body, to be done with free weights. Your workout should be specific to you. Read above if you haven't already done so.
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Strength training exercises
will benefit your fitness greatly. I recommend mixing them in with some cardio exercise, such as cycling or swimming. You'll see the results much faster and be able to achieve your goals.
If you've never used free weights before, then I suggest you go and get a practical demonstration by a fitness professional.
Free weights do indeed give you freedom with your strength training exercises, but can injure if done incorrectly.
Be imaginative when creating your workouts, and keep progressing and pushing yourself further. Most of all,
have fun with strength training exercises.
Help other readers by motivating them with your pictures. Let's get the "if they can do it, so can I" ball rolling...
Add your pictures and tips for strength exercises. Your picture will have its own web page, credited to you, and linked directly from this page.
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Click here to see how your exercise pictures can be featured on this website.
Once you've submitted your picture and it's approved, you'll have your own web page! Then it's braggin' time with your friends and family - send them the link and they can comment on your page - or even add their own page.
Submitting your pictures and tips is really easy. Please ensure it's specific to strength exercises (if you have another picture, go to the relevant page for that exercise).
Time to show us what you've got.. enjoy!
Click on the links below to see some great pictures and tips for your strength exercises. They were all submitted by other visitors to this page..
Neil's Dumbbell Row
This is my first day of a new exercise program, watch my progress! Check out the exercise tips for Neil's dumbbell row .
Jason Aaron Baca side bends Not rated yet
This works the obliques. Stand with dumbbell or weight on one arm. Bend at side feeling the movement mainly on the side where you hold the weight. Do 3 …
Jason Aaron Baca standing curl Not rated yet
One arm at a time. Make sure to keep your elbows in and don't allow them to move away from your body. Use a weight that your bicep can control without …
Jason Aaron Baca's Shoulder Shrugs Not rated yet
Shrugs should be simple. When you do the motion, simply imagine someone coming up to you and asking you a question you don't know about... you Shrug in …
Push Ups With Two Medicine Balls Not rated yet
Another way to challenge yourself.... The video: Push ups with two medicine balls
Push Ups With One Medicine Ball Not rated yet
If regular push ups become too easy, this is a good way to test yourself... Check this video: Push ups with one medicine ball .
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