Weight training is the key to success for anyone who wants to tone up, improve bone density, increase metabolism and stop muscle shrinkage as they age. Some women shy away from weight training because they fear it will make their muscles big or don’t know where to start, but we all stand to benefit. alive@work makes it easy.
How to begin
In order to get the most bang for your fitness buck with the lowest chance of injury, you need to build slowly and train consistently.
A good understanding of form is also important. Before you start lifting, pushing or pulling that dumbbell, do these three quick mental and physical checks.
1. Pull your shoulders back and down at all times.
2. Engage the deep abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in toward the spine.
3. While lifting, keep a neutral spine, being mindful of the spine’s three natural curves.
In addition, know your body type.
- If you’re naturally muscular and aren’t interested in bulking up, choose a lighter dumbbell and keep your repetitions high.
- If you’re not naturally muscular and would like to build muscle, choose heavier dumbbells and do fewer reps.
10-minute express home workout
Warm-up: Warm up properly by taking a 5-minute brisk walk or jog.
Perform each exercise, one after another, for the recommended number of repetitions. Once you complete the circuit, take a quick water break and then perform it again. Aim for 3 to 6 sets or 10 minutes, whichever comes first.
Bridge with Chest Press
Muscles activated: pecs, triceps, anterior deltoid, hamstrings, glutes, low back
- Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart and close to your bum.
- Lift your hips as high as you can and keep them lifted throughout the exercise.
- Position dumbbells in each hand with elbows bent and lined up with your shoulders. Hands are in line with your elbows and your palms are facing away.
- Press the dumbbells up and above your chest and slowly lower back down to start, until the backs of your arms are touching the ground again.
(20 reps in total)
Muscles activated: core, lats, rear deltoids, mid back
- Position your body in a straight-arm plank, feet hip-width apart and the dumbbells on the ground under each shoulder.
- Place your hands on top of each dumbbell and slowly pull one arm up into a row, with your elbow brushing by your side.
- Keep the lower body and core still while you lift your arm up.
- Lower your arm back to start for rep 1, and perform the same movement with the other arm for rep 2.
- To modify, drop down onto your knees.
Squat and Shoulder Press
Muscles activated: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, core, shoulders, triceps
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands resting at shoulder height (dumbbell in each hand).
- Squat down, pressing your bum rearward, and as you come up, press the dumbbells up and above your head.
- Lower your hands back to your shoulders for a complete rep.