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I am so lucky! I’ve been fortunate enough to enroll in a Women’s on Weights class and I am dedicating this blog to the art of strength training. If you are not interested in lifting weights or strength training, please skip this blog and enjoy some of the other writer’s escapades!
a) Select one type of exercise for each major muscle group. If you are at the YMCA within my city, you’ve got the choice of the CYBEX, Paramount, and In-Shape machines – just to name a few. You could also choose to use the benches, incline benches, barbells, E-Z Curl Bar, dumbbells, and balls on the workout mats.
*Note: There are many exercises that can be done at home which mimic some of the strength training machines. If you are like me and feel you need to stay at home, take heart! You CAN take care of sick children and still workout!
b) The major muscle groups would include: quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves and abs.
c) Work from the largest muscle groups to the smaller muscle groups. (Note – while this is recommended, it is not crucial. One will still develop muscle and tone if one chooses to vary the order.)
d) Frequency: 2-3 times per week – but never 2-3 days in a row. Give the muscles a chance to rest and rebuild.
e) How many? Lift the weight or repeat the exercise 12-15 times. Rest briefly, and repeat. 2-3 sets are recommended
*Here’s the funny part. I was completing only one set for about a year. Yes, I did develop tone. Yes, I did lose weight. But it probably took me a lot longer than it could have. Or maybe this is a good adaptation for A’s? After all, we are more about calming and relaxing than intense!
f) How fast should one lift the weight? Not fast at all! (Slow and controlled.) Inhale before the exercise itself, and exhale on the exertion. On the exertion, squeeze the muscle you are targeting, hold, and slowly release.
g) Increase your reps before you increase your weight. Why? I am taking an educated guess and saying that this prevents injury.
h) Stretch!!! Do this before you lift weights and in-between.
i) Never hold your breath.
The Paramount leg extensions, the ball squats, the Cybex Leg Press, and the “leg press” work the Quadriceps primarily.
The seated Cybex Curl, walking lunges, and standing lunges primarily work the hamstrings. (By the way, a lunge can actually work all of your leg muscles. This is an excellent exercise for all of your lower body.)
The barbell bench press, the cybex press, the dumbbell bench press, incline dumbbell press, and the flat dumbbell flies work the chest muscles.
The Cybex shoulder press, the dumbbell shoulder press, the upright row (dumbbells) and the front lateral raises work the shoulder muscles.
The seated incline dumbbells, the hammer curls, the EZ curl bar, and the dumbbell curls work the biceps.
The cybex triceps extension, the cybex dip, the bench dip, the cable push down, the kickbacks and the rope all work the triceps.
The seated calves machine, the one-leg calf raise and the angled raise works the calf muscles. (So does hauling laundry up and down the stairs!)
Last but not least, the ball, the thera crunch machine and the abdominal machine all work the abdominal muscles. This is a muscle group, which could be worked every day unlike the other muscle groups.
Strength training is really all about form and proper posture. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are causing themselves injury every day. Thanks for reading. Good Day.
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