If you wanted to know about the benefits of weight training then read on.
The benefits have been well documented, and range from fat loss and muscle-building to increasing bone density, reducing your risk of injury, back pain and arthritis, and even alleviating symptoms of depression.
According to survey, only 17% of women did bodyweight exercises during lockdown and just 5% of women did weightlifting.
In fact, during that time, only 5% of women bought dumbbells to train at home and just 4% bought kettlebells.
Are we still apprehensive about reaching for the weights?
With weight training, women worry they might do it wrong, or hurt themselves, or feel silly.
And some women still feel intimidated by the free weights sections in their gym.
But I feel very strongly that women should weight train and I want to get that message out there.
Does weight-training really make you bulky?
Gaining significant muscle doesn’t happen by accident.
You need the genetic potential, you need to already be strong and you need to eat and train for this purpose for a significant period of time. It won’t happen overnight, it takes months.
HIIT and cardio can help with calorie burn but it’s a short-term result, as when you stop training and start eating you’re going to gain weight.
To change your body long term you need to change your metabolism and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate and the more calories you burn at rest.
Weight training is superior for fat loss as it’s long term.
If this has tickled your fancy but you’re confused by the terminology, you’re not alone.
Generally, bodyweight exercises, free weights and machines all fall under the term strength training.
Is weight-training dangerous?
Weight training for beginners should be slow and controlled movements.
You can get injured doing any form of exercise, but with slow tempo and correct form it’s very unlikely.
Bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups are great to start but you’ll plateau as your bodyweight will generally always stay the same.
The only way to get stronger is to progressively overload the muscle, which means to add weight.
The stronger you are, the harder you can train and the fitter you will get.
The best way to start is by performing the same workout each time to track your gains.
Find a simple programme online and learn the six basic movement patterns: squat, lunge, push, pull, hinge and twist.
You don’t have to do a different workout every time.
I think it’s better to nail one, so you can keep increasing your weight and you know you’re making progress,
Otherwise, you’re just randomly exercising.
Increased physical strength affects other areas of your life, too.
Imagine no longer dressing to cover up, but because you like the clothes.
This gives you a confidence booster and can change your body language and the decisions you make in life.
Having a strong, confident body has a knock-on effect.
Also, unlike cardio where you usually have to wait to see results, weight training can give you that instant ‘fist bump’ hit.
When you lift more than your last session you feel like a badass and those feelings can change your whole mindset.
Weight training is the last piece of the puzzle for health and longevity.
Here are 4 simple weight moves you can try at home
This works the whole lower body, glutes and core and I love unilateral exercises as people are always stronger on one side.
Start with your weaker leg.
Take a nice long stride and stand with one foot in front of the other, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Next, slowly lunge down transferring your weight on to the front foot, loading up the front quad.
Made sure the knee is facing the same direction as the toes and bend the back knee to to get good depth in the squat.
From the lower squat position come back up to the original stride start position. Repeat 13-15 times.
Isolate the arms to make sure they are not the weak link when it comes to training back and chest.
These bicep curls can be done standing or seated.
If performed standing, keep the body still and do not swing or use momentum from the hips.
With palms facing forward, keeping the upper arm very still, bend the elbow until the dumbbell almost hits the shoulder then lower back down, slowly (for a count of three seconds) until your arms are straight. Repeat 13-15 times.
To work your shoulders and triceps, this move can be done standing or seated.
Start with elbows out wide so dumbbells are at ear level, drive the dumbbells up above your head until your arms are straight (without locking elbows or banging the dumbbells together at the top).
Slowly lower the dumbbells back down (for a count of three seconds) to the start position. Repeat 13-15 times.
This simple move works all your lower body and core.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Hold one dumbbell against your chest and slowly (for a count of three seconds) squat down until the angle of your knee reaches 90 degrees, while keeping your back straight.
Then, drive up to standing position. Repeat 13-15 times.
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