Strength training, also called weight training or resistance training, is an important part of any fitness routine. It helps make you get stronger and also builds muscle endurance.
Strength training is a versatile type of workout that you can do almost anywhere. While it’s a popular exercise option at many gyms, you can also build a robust strength training program that you can do in the comfort and privacy of your home.
If one of those fitness goals is to get stronger and tone exercising with weights should definitely be on your list of regular workouts. From dumbbells and kettlebells to sandbags and those very intimidating barbells that fitness enthusiasts use, weighted exercises have more benefits than just defining your muscles.
Training with weights has numerous benefits. It has the potential to boost your health and fitness, improve bone density and muscle endurance, and increase your overall strength.
Research on overweight or obese adults (age 60 and over), the combination of a low-calorie diet and weight training resulted in greater fat loss than a combination of a low-calorie diet and walking workouts, according to a 2017 study published in the journal ‘Obesity’.
The adults who walked instead of weight trained did lose a comparable amount of weight—but a significant portion of the weight loss included lean body mass. Meanwhile, the adults who did strength training maintained muscle mass while losing fat.
This suggests that strength training is better at helping people lose belly fat compared to cardio, because while aerobic exercise burns both fat and muscle, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat.
Training with heavy weights has also proven to improve your self-confidence. Weight training can also reduce anxiety, ease depression and increase happiness. While it might be hard at times to get motivated to hit the gym, the benefits outlast the initial struggle.
Herbalife Nutrition shares the best weighted exercises for toned legs and arms:
It really isn’t as intimidating as the name implies! All you need to do is stand up straight, holding one weight in each hand at hip level; draw your shoulders back and push your hips back as you slowly lower the weights toward your feet. Then, slowly press your hips forward to come back into a standing position. You should feel the burn in your abdominals, glutes, and hamstrings.
Double arm raised lunges
Work your glutes from every angle! Start with your right foot forward and left foot back. Bend your knees but don’t let your left knee touch the floor. Then, while keeping your torso straight and abs in, push through your front heel and return to your starting position. Now repeat on the other side, and then add some weights! You can choose how you want to hold them: straight down next to your body, extended out to the sides, or stretched out in front of you.
Weighted Russian twists
Romanian twists are great for working your abs and upper body. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding one dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. Keep your spine long, lean slightly back and lift your legs off the floor. Now, slowly twist your torso to the left and bring the weight beside your left hip. Return to the centre, then slowly twist to the right and bring the weight beside your right hip to complete one rotation. You’ll immediately start to feel the exercise working! Add it to your daily workout and you’ll have a stronger core in no time.
Another great weight training technique to try at home is to stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbbells or your makeshift weights at shoulder height. Your palms should face away from you and your elbows should form a 90-degree angle. Chest up, core engaged, breathe, and press the weights directly upwards until your arms are straight and the weights touch above your head. You can also try this by lying on your back and have the weights meet in the air above your head. Do as many reps as you can or until your arms start to feel tired.
Getting fitter, stronger, and leaner takes time, dedication, and hard work. Fitness and health are, of course, about feeling great about yourself right now, but also about ensuring your future health. Take the leap, fill those water bottles, and pick an open space on the floor to start your weight-training journey.