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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Weight Lifting for Women

Today more and more women are going to their local gym, YMCA, or fitness studio, with the goal of losing weight and getting into shape. They take aerobics classes, spinning classes, tae-bo, cardio kickboxing, and may even be found on some resistance machines, but one area of the gym that most women still avoid is the free weight area. This area of the gym, where dumbbells line the wall, and men are usually busy grunting and yelling as they push up barbells, can be a bit intimidating for women, and comes with a host of misconceptions. The free weight area, however, can be a girl's best friend.

women weight training

Prevent Osteoporosis with Weight Lifting
A concern of many women, especially those who are middle age or older, is being diagnosed with osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation in their article "Osteoporosis: a debilitating disease that can be prevented and treated," osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist.

Osteoporosis is a painful disease which carries great risk with it as people age. A broken hip from a fall can be fatal to a senior with osteoporosis. The key is prevention in the younger years to ward off the disease occurring in the later years. Along with a proper diet that includes plenty of vitamin D and calcium, regular exercise using weight bearing and muscle building exercise is key to preventing the effects of osteoporosis.

Building Bone Density

Weight bearing exercises such as running, jumping rope, climbing stairs, or calisthenics cause the bones to support the weight of the body while moving against gravity. For older people or those who cannot perform high impact movements, exercises such as walking or use of cardio machines like the elliptical machine, stair climber, or treadmill will work as well.

Muscle building exercises are movements such as weight lifting, using weight machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises which place stress on the bones while strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments which surround them.

Bone is living tissue, and when these exercises are performed on a regular basis, the bone will become stronger and more dense to respond to the impact it receives during exercise. The increased density of the bone wards off the development of osteoporosis and helps treat it as well.

Benefits of Weight Training

Those women who include weight training or resistance training in their fitness program will notice many positive changes in the way they look and feel. Weight training increases metabolism, causing the body to burn calories more efficiently. Lean body mass is increased, which is the amount of muscle tissue that makes up your body.

A gain of one pound in lean muscle will burn 35 to 40 more calories per day, even while at rest. The strengthening of the muscles in the body will increase the body's balance, athletic performance, and make daily activities easier. Stronger bones ward off osteoporosis and stronger tendons and ligaments help to avoid arthritis. The benefits of weight training are many, and far outweigh any negatives or myths that can be found.

Weight Training Tips

When beginning a weight training program, there are guidelines that one should follow to ensure the exercises are done safely and without injury. These guidelines are as follows:
  • Always consult a physician prior to beginning a program.
  • When selecting a weight to begin with, choose a weight that will allow eight to 10 repetitions with proper form. The 10th repetition should be difficult but not impossible. If 10 repetitions cannot be performed, lighten the weight. If it is too easy, use a heavier weight.
  • Those who suffer from osteoporosis or are frail should use a lighter weight and perform repetitions in the 12 to 15 range.
  • Start by performing exercises which work each of the major muscle groups (legs, chest, back, shoulders). The smaller muscle groups such as arms, calves, forearms, and abdominals are worked while exercising the larger groups.
  • Perform two sets of eight to 10 repetitions for each exercise.
  • Breathe in when the weight is being lowered, and exhale when pushing the weight or moving it through the range of the exercise.
  • Rest 30 seconds to one minute between sets, longer if necessary.
  • Always use proper form and never sacrifice form to lift heavier weight.
Following these guidelines will reduce the risk of injury and ensure that the benefits of weight training are achieved.

While the fountain of youth has never been found and most likely does not exist, the closest thing there is to living a long, independent, youthful life, while maintaining a fit, toned body, is weight training. Women should include weight training in their fitness program and start visiting the free weight areas in their gym. It's not just for men anymore.

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