Thursday, January 21, 2010

When It Comes to Working Out, Don't Fear the Weights

There are misconceptions about weight training that prevent people from truly understanding the value it provides in shaping your body, developing lean muscle, and improving athletic and day-to-day performance. Women are especially prone to neglecting this form of effective training for fear of getting "too muscular" or looking "too bulky." This is unfortunate, because when done correctly, weight training is a great way to make a noticeable difference in how your body feels, looks and performs. Here are a few suggestions on how to make weight training work for you:

1. Design a program that's right for you. Some fundamental questions to ask yourself prior to beginning a weight training program include the following:

How many days per week can I realistically exercise? Three days minimum is suggested, preferably with a day of rest in between each exercise day.

How much time can I allocate to work out per exercise session? Twenty minutes is ideal for most people, up to a maximum of 45 minutes.

Am I trying to build size or simply tone muscle? A quicker, lighter pace is more for toning, while a heavier, slower pace generally builds muscle size and strength.

Do I have more than 10 pounds of body fat to lose? Do higher reps at a quicker pace to maximize fat loss.

How much experience do I have with weight training? Be careful not to over-exercise. Progress slowly; remember, if you get hurt, you won't be able to exercise at all!

The answers to these questions will determine the amount, tempo and frequency of your training program.

2. Work your entire body. Here's a sample of the exercises you can perform using weights to get a full-body workout. You can perform these exercises one after the other with little or no rest three days of the week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), and add in other exercises as you advance. Here are a few to get you started (remember to talk to your doctor for more information and before starting any new exercise program):

Incline Dumbbell Presses: Angle an exercise bench at approximately 45 degrees. Take two dumbbells and lie on your back. Starting at chest level, press the dumbbells over your chest and lightly touch them together at the top. Keep your head resting on the bench, lower weight to starting position and repeat for desired repetitions.

Dumbbell Rows: Take two dumbbells and stand with feet just outside shoulder width. Hinge your hips backward and lean forward toward your toes with a slight bend in your knees. Pull the dumbbells up to your sides with palms facing each other. Lower and repeat. Keep your head up and maintain a slight arch in your lower back. Resist the temptation to round your shoulders forward.

Seated Dumbbell Biceps Curls: Using two dumbbells, curl weight from your side up to chest level. Be sure to keep your elbows perpendicular to the floor and tight by your side to isolate the muscles and prevent swinging.

Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: Lie on your back with two dumbbells and palms facing each other, arms extended toward the ceiling. Slowly bend your elbows, keeping them close together, until the dumbbells reach ear level, and then return to starting position.

Dumbbell Squats: Stand shoulder-width apart grasping two dumbbells by your sides. Squat as deep as you can, keeping your head up and shoulders pulled back. If you lean forward and your heels come off the ground, place a &fra12; to 1-inch support under your heels. This tilts your pelvis, which prevents you from leaning too far forward and keeps the heels stationary.

In your Health,
Dr. Jon Wise
Wise Chiropractic

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