Exercise recipe, part 2: Strength training

Posted 04/17/2014 | By HealthCorps

Last week you read about cardiovascular exercise, one of three components of a well-rounded exercise program. Strength training, also called resistance training, involves muscles contracting to resist a force. You can work out on gym machines that have increasing weight loads, use free weights, or use your own body weight to perform exercises that fall into this category of exercise. Include exercises like squats, lunges, pushing exercises like a shoulder press or a chest press, pull exercises like pull ups on a bar, and you can use weights called kettle bells for rotation movements with a weight.

After several repetitions of the contractions, small micro-tears begin to occur in your muscles. When the muscles rest and the repair process occurs, energy is used, which means calories are burned, and the more new muscle tissue you create, the more elevated your overall metabolic rate becomes. Obviously you need to increase the load on your muscles, as you become accustomed to bearing certain weight levels, if you want to keep increasing the challenge.

It’s also important for girls and women to realize that you will not bulk up if you use heavy weights while training. On the contrary, your muscles will tone and sculpt, giving you a sleek and leaner appearance. Most experts recommend two to three sessions of weight training weekly. You can start with two short 15 – 20 minutes sessions and then continue to build on those.

Next week: Flexibility training

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