Women can achieve goals with strength training
Every January, millions of American women invest in infomercial gadgets in desperate attempts to recapture forgotten physiques. Millions more will discover their local fitness centers. Will they be able to start a fitness program that will help them reach their goals of shaping up?If you, too, have struggled to start a successful new fitness program, consider using weights.Strength training, also called weight lifting, is the missing key in women’s fitness programs. It produces amazing results, especially with its ability to increase metabolism and burn calories. It has also been proven to reduce injuries and joint pain.The American Council on Exercise notes, “The benefits of strength training are no longer in question. Research continues to demonstrate that strength training increases both muscle and bone strength, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.”With so many options, which strength equipment is best? First, consider your fitness history. If you have limited or no experience using strength equipment, then you should seek professional assistance from a trainer or clinician.If you are new to this, you may prefer strengthening machines. Always make sure to check the weight stack before you begin the exercise! The machine does not distinguish one user from another, so it is critical that you set the weight stack for your ability level.If you have some experience using weights, you may prefer to use dumbbells and free weights. These types of equipment can speed the toning process, improve balance and core strength, and provide a fun challenge. Unlike machines, you will work a little harder to keep the weights balanced and to move them evenly through space.A few guidelines for starting with strength equipment:Always lift and lower equipment slowly, with control. Quick movements increase your risk of injury, and they do not effectively work the targeted muscles.To determine your ability level, give yourself extra time during your first few sessions, and start light. Keep in mind that larger muscles, such as legs, require much heavier weight than small muscles.As a general rule for people who are not in injury recovery, determine your appropriate weight level by following the “4-8 Rep Rule”. If you can lift a weight more than eight times without feeling fatigued, you should try the next heaviest weight. You should feel fatigued between four and eight repetitions, or exertions.Follow the overload principle. Basically, this principle reminds us that our muscles need to be challenged. Keeping a detailed journal improves our ability to improve and reach goals.With focus and persistence, you can use strength training to quickly reveal a lean physique and renewed confidence in yourself.Nina Schnipper is a certified personal fitness trainer, specializing in Upper Body Toning for Women. For questions about Strength Training, contact her at (970) 948-0179.
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