For the longest time it was believed that a cardio workout will help you burn calories and in turn lead to fat loss. But lately there’s been a lot of talk on strength training for building` muscle mass’. This has several benefits, from boosting metabolism to toning your body and of course helping you burn more calories even while resting.
When you gain strength, you can run fast, workout better and hit harder. You feel a inner sense of power with better energy levels and stronger arms, chest and legs.
What is Strength Training ?
Strength training doesn’t always mean weight training. It entails free-hand exercises with lifting weights like dumbbells, barbells, or using resistance bands. Sometimes it is just about using your own body weight like in Push-ups, Squats and Lunges. These kinds of strength training exercises done with free weights makes your muscles broader and stronger than before.
So, it is important for us to include Strength training as a part of any fitness routine.
With strength training, you move your body against some type of resistance, such as:
Your body weight
Free weights, like dumbbells or barbells
Resistance bands, also known as resistance tubing or workout bands
Resistance machines, like cable machines, single-exercise machines, or multi-gym systems.
You can do Squats and Lunges with dumbbells.
Begin the squat by pushing your hips back as far as you can. Keep your lower back arched and you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. When your hips are bent, begin bending your knees and squatting low. This is what you need to squat maximal weight.
You squat every time you sit or stand, but don’t take this exercise for granted. It works your legs and your glutes, the most powerful muscle group in the body.
Be careful: Done incorrectly, squats can be hard on your knees. As you squat, keep your butt pushed out, like you are about to sit on a chair. Use the muscles in your hips and thighs to push yourself up; don’t press your knees forward as you move. If you’re doing it correctly, your knees will move only during the first half of the squat; your hips will finish the movement.
Challenge yourself: You can add some plyometric motion to a squat by jumping from the lowest position back into your starting stance.
A lunge is a single-leg bodyweight exercise that works your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core and the hard-to-reach muscles of your inner thighs.
Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Engage your core.
- Take a big step forward with right leg. Start to shift your weight forward so heel hits the floor first.
- Lower your body until right thigh is parallel to the floor and right shin is vertical. It’s OK if knee shifts forward a little as long as it doesn’t go past right toe. If mobility allows, lightly tap left knee to the floor while keeping weight in right heel.
- Press into right heel to drive back up to starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
You can combine this exercise with free weights to build lower body strength.
High intensity interval training (HIIT)
HIIT can help you maintain lean muscles in your body. It is programmed in such a way that high-intensity workouts are done in a short period of time.
HIIT is as short bursts of very hard work. The whole point of high-intensity training is to kick up the intensity of your cardio. In order to qualify as true HIIT, you’ll need to push yourself to the max during every set. That’s why they’re short—anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds, typically. It’s the opposite of going for a long run where you ration your energy in order to sustain the activity for longer.
It will leave you out of breath for a while, and boost up your strength and energy levels.
Reduce your cardio session
When you are targeting muscles then maybe you need to cut back on your cardio. Instead, use this time and energy for strength training.