ON TONING YOUR BODY
Friday, November 30, 2007.
By Tracy Parker
You’ve probably heard that a weight-training programme is one of the best ways to shed fat while you create a more shapely body. But if you’re like a lot of people, the weights area of your gym can be an intimidating place if you don’t know where to begin.
Don’t Panic! Just use our ‘cheat sheet’ for getting a well-rounded workout with weights and start toning up and burning more calories. You can also reap the health benefits associated with weight training, like lower cholesterol, prevention of diabetes and protection against osteoporosis.
Before You Begin...
The general rules for weight training are:
Choose at least one exercise for each major muscle group: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and abdominals. If you leave any muscle group out, it could cause an imbalance and lead to injuries.
Exercise large muscle groups, such as your chest, back, hips/thighs and shoulders, first. Then move on to smaller muscles such as triceps, biceps and calves. This allows for optimal performance of the most demanding exercises when fatigue levels are at the lowest.
Complete the exercise for one body part before moving on to the next.
Before you lift even one weight, warm up with a light cardio activity. For example, try 10 minutes on the bike or treadmill, walking or jogging on the spot.
Remember to stretch between sets and after completing your routine.
Aim to perform your routine at least twice a week. A good routine takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
Ensure adequate rest between sessions. Do not work the same muscles on consecutive days. Large muscles need 72 hours and smaller muscles need 48 hours rest to recover and repair.
If you're a beginner, start with one set and add a set after two weeks or so. If you’re an intermediate exerciser, do two sets of each exercise with 30 to 45 seconds of rest in between sets. If you're advanced, do three sets of each exercise, with 30 to 45 seconds of rest. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions in each set.
As a general guideline, beginners should start with three- to five-pound weights and work up to 10 pounds.
Your Weights Workout
Ready to get started? Print out the following and go! If you don’t have dumbbells, these exercises can be done using bottles of water, tins of beans or any other weight in the comfort of your own home.
Works the chest and triceps with help from the shoulder muscles to give you a shapely chest.
Lie face up on the bench, feet flat on the floor, with your head, shoulders, and buttocks pressed down firmly.
With a weight in each hand, straighten your arms to hold the weights above your chest. Slowly lower the weights until they are level with your shoulders. Pause for a moment and then repeat.
Bent Over Row
Works the large upper back muscles to give you a lean upper back.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
Hold a weight in each hand and bend forward from the hips until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle. Let arms hang down from shoulders.
Leading with your elbows, start to pull the weights up towards your sides. Allow the weight to lightly touch your rib cage. Pause; lower the weights until your arms are fully extended. Repeat.
Works shoulder and triceps muscles to give you defined shoulders.
Sit on a bench or stand holding weights in each hand with your palms facing forwards and level with your shoulders.
Keeping your back straight, press the weights upward until they almost touch over your head. Straighten your arms but do not lock the elbows. Pause; lower the weights back to the starting position. Repeat.
Works the quadriceps, buttocks and hamstrings to give you firm thighs and a tight buttocks.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward. Hold weights in your hands at your sides with palms touching your body.
Keeping your body erect, step back with your left leg, bending your right leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor with your knee at a 90-degree angle.
Pushing hard through your right leg and contracting the muscles in the butt, return the left leg to the starting position. Repeat; then switch legs.
Alternating Bicep Curl
Works the front arm muscles to give you toned and well defined biceps .
Sit on the end of a bench. Hold the weights with your palms facing your body at your side.
Keeping your elbows at your side, raise the left weight towards your shoulder rotating your forearm so your palm faces the shoulder at the top of the movement. Pause; return to the starting position. Repeat; then switch arms.
Works the back upper arm muscles to give you flab-free triceps.
Stand with your left leg forward, slightly bent, and your left hand placed above the knee for balance. Your right leg should be shifted slightly backwards and your right arm should be bent at a 90-degree angle, with your elbow pointing behind you.
Hold a weight in your right hand with palm facing your body. Without moving the upper arm, move your lower arm backwards until the weight is pointing away from your body. Pause; slowly return to the starting position. Repeat; then switch arms.
Works the lower leg muscles to give you shapely, well-defined calves.
Stand on one leg and balance yourself by keeping a hand on a wall or chair; your other leg should be bent behind you. Slowly lift your heel off the floor, placing all your weight on the ball of the foot. Pause; slowly lower yourself to the starting position.
If you are advanced, you can hold a weight in the same hand of the leg that is doing the work. Repeat; then switch legs.
Works the upper abdominals for a flatter stomach.
Lie on your back. Bend your knees until your legs are at a 45-degree angle, keeping both feet flat on the floor.
Contract your abdominals and raise your shoulders up off the floor. Keep your head in line with your spine - do not tuck your chin into your chest. Move your shoulders and head up as one unit. Hold, one to two seconds, and slowly return to the starting position.
Your lower back should remain in contact with the ground throughout the exercise.
With thanks to Tescodiets
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