Strength Training For Women

Strength training for womanIf you are tired of not reaping the rewards of your regular exercise routine, maybe it's time you considered doing strength training. What is strength resistance training? It is any type of exercise that contracts your muscles while building your strength, endurance and muscles. Don't be put off though, as contrary to popular belief strength resistance training does not make woman bulky. There are also many benefits, including an increased metabolic rate, postural support, bone density and overall flexibility.

Tips before you start Strength Training

Wait! Before you run off to grab 20 kg dumbbells, there are some basic principles that you should bear in mind if you are new to strength resistance training:

Learn the proper way of doing your chosen exercises. Exercises that are not done correctly may cause injury and make your routine ineffective.

Start off with 8 – 10 exercises that target the entire body at least three times per week in the first months.

Do the most important exercises first to reduce fatigue

Make sure you get at least a two-day break to recover before doing further training.

How to take Strength Resistance Training to the next level

After you've mastered the basics of resistance training you can take it up a notch by:

  • Doing exercises that challenge your entire body. Skipping, swimming and cycling are all exercises that challenge the entire body.
  • Incorporate weights into your chosen exercises
  • Increase the size of the weights as your muscles become stronger.
  • Increase reps

The best way to train for weight loss and toning

The best way to train for weight loss and tone up simultaneously is to do the correct strength training exercises and by eating properly. Doing dumbbell exercises, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, sit-ups and increasing the reps for these exercises will eventually build up your muscles.

Ensure that you eat a balance diet, which should include nutrients from the different food groups. Protein and carbohydrates are especially important. Protein is needed to repair and build muscles that have broken down during exercise, and carbohydrates provide the body with a source of fuel and energy required to carry out your exercise routine.

Types of exercises to include

There are many methods of strength training and it can be done with, or without the use of weights. Body weight exercises are a form of strength training without weights. These include squats, pull-ups, dips, the power clean and bench presses. Include all of these in your strength resistance training for maximum results.

Squats target most muscle groups in the body placing emphasis on the core and the large lower body muscles.

Pull-ups target every part of your back and are the most effective exercise for back development.

Dips target your triceps and I can vouch for this. If you are new to this you can start off doing bench dips. If you are experienced you can add weights to your dips by holding a dumbbell between your feet.

The power clean is similar to the deadlift and works the lower legs, quadriceps, gluteal and upper back.

Bench presses work the pectorals and can be done many ways to target areas of the chest.

Kettle Bells can be a great way to perform resistance training. Have a look at this link for a good introduction and sample workouts.

How many Reps to do

According to experts on Body, many factors will determine the amount of reps you should do. These include your level of experience, your age, your body type, your fitness level and your goals. The debate is on-going regarding the amount of reps to do, but it is generally recommended that you perform 6 -20 reps on each set.

How long to train for?

Aim to keep your work outs short. Anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes is fine. Studies have shown that your glycogen is depleted after an hour and there is a risk of overtraining. In other words, training for more than 60 minutes is like running on fumes and is a recipe for disaster.

Sample plan for strength resistance training at the Gym

The advantage of going to a gym is that it offers a variety of machines and different sizes of dumbbells, as well as trainers that can boost your strength resistance training.

Monday – 45 minutes cardio work out:( treadmill 20 minutes, skipping for 5 minutes, bicycling for 10 minutes and jogging on spot for 10 minutes).

Tuesday – 30 minutes of cardio workout- 10 minutes of squats, 10minutes of bench presses, 5 minutes of dead lifts and 5 minutes of stretch.

Wednesday – 45 minutes cardio work out

Thursday – 30 minutes of cardio workout – 10 minutes of pull-ups, 10 minutes of power clean and 5 minutes of stretching.

Friday – cardio work out

Saturday and Sunday – Rest

Sample-training plan for home

Performing your strength-training programme at home can be an inexpensive and convenient alternative to gym membership.

If you do not own dumbbells, you can improvise by filling two matching water bottles, or milk jugs with water or sand, or both.

Monday – 45 minutes cardio (20 minutes of stair climbing (2 at a time), 10 minutes of skipping and 15 minutes of on the spot jogging).

Tuesday – 30 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of squats and 10 minutes of dips (you can use a sturdy chair to do this), 5 minutes of dumbbell exercises, and 5 minutes of stretching.

Wednesday – 45 minutes cardio

Thursday – 30 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of sit-ups, 10 minutes of squats, 5 minutes of dumbbell exercises and 5 minutes of stretching.

Friday – Cardio work out

Saturday and Sunday – Rest

This is a great video to watch to get a sample of the exercises you could do at home. It mentions that you need dumbbells, but to start off with just use bottles filled with water or sand, or cans. Hope you enjoy it.


On a final note, if you want your strength training to be successful, changing your routine every four to six weeks, or whenever you feel you feel you are beginning to plateau is crucial. This helps your body to keep adapting. Now that you have all the information on strength training, what are you waiting for? Start doing those bench presses!

Strength Training – Related articles

Photo Credit: Gerard Fritz via Compfight cc

Enhanced by Zemanta

Yoga – Relaxation and Toning – What more could you want?

Yoga PoseQuite a number of people believe that fulfilment and inner peace can only come from outside sources, but this is not entirely true. That empty feeling and deep longing can be fulfilled through the aid of workouts such as yoga. Thus, rather than looking for something that is beyond, it is sometimes more helpful to settle for that which is within in order to attain that heightened state of calmness.

This kind of calmness is essentially what helps rid the mind of disturbing thoughts, and subsequently enables an individual to focus their energy on more positive things. In practicing yoga, one is able to experience heightened joy, power and positivity.

Types of yoga

There are numerous types of yoga, but before you settle on any it’s best that you do some research so that you are able to determine which will work for you. Here are four popular types that you could consider:

1.    Hatha Yoga – This is a type of yoga that focuses more on meditation and breathing techniques and is quite a good for beginners.

2.    Vinyasa Yoga –  is also another type which is very much like Hatha, only that it entails learning how to synchronize movements and breathing, with a focus on 12 specific poses. Vinyasa is one type of yoga that is important in building lean muscle.

3.    Bikram Yoga – is a category of yoga that has to be practiced in a room with high temperatures, which may be anything between 95-100 degrees. Bikram incorporates 26 poses that facilitate sweating and muscle tightening. This option can work well for beginners as well as those who have been practicing yoga for a while.

4.    Iyengar Yoga – on the other hand involves all the eight elements connected to Ashtanga. It primarily focuses on getting the body aligned. It makes use of blankets, straps, and blocks all of which are intended to strengthen the body.

Yoga can be practised at home using books, DVD's and some equipment. Take a look here for pricing, reviews and products – Yoga Deals

Benefits of yoga

Practicing yoga comes with so many health benefits. The pose and breathing techniques involved in the workouts help improve the relaxation and the flexibility of the body. Here are some of the other advantages of yoga:

  • It helps reduce stress and also keeps the mind calm.
  • If you are experiencing back pain, yoga may just help relieve it
  • If you wish to give the whole body a workout, then yoga makes the perfect choice because the workout involves just about every joint and muscle.
  • It helps get the blood oxygenated thus making the body more energetic.
  • Unlike some sports and workout that can only be executed by persons with less body weight, yoga is a workout that can be performed by anyone.
  • You experience more joy, creativity, and optimism, and additionally connect with your purpose for life.
  • With regard to mental benefits, you will be able to manage stress better, have improved memory and also experience enhanced concentration levels.
  • Yoga involves a lot of stretching, thus as you do this, it keeps the spine, arms and legs in shape – it greatly enhances overall flexibility.

Yoga poses

The yoga poses are also known as the yoga asanas, and while some postures help in getting the body relaxed, others contribute to stress relief. There are many yoga poses and it is therefore up to an individual to figure out what is suitable for them. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Trikonasana: This is the triangle pose where you have to stand straight and keep your feet apart and then bend sideways, while resting your hand either on the floor or your ankle.
  • Konasana: Here you have to bend sideways with your palms together; you have to take deep breaths while you perform the move.
  • Badhakonasana: This pose is also referred to as the butterfly pose. The name is obtained from the look obtained by the posture. For this pose, one has to sit with both feet together and placed close to the groin. The soles have to touch and then you have to hold them in your hands for the posture to be attained.
  • Virabhadrasana: This posture is quite graceful and it makes one encounter more grace in practicing yoga. To achieve the pose, the legs have to be straight and wide apart and then the arms should be lifted sideways.

However, even in practicing yoga, it’s critical to do the exercises with care because making the wrong move may come with some unwanted consequences. For instance during pregnancy, if you aim to start out on the yoga work outs, it is important that you get in touch with your healthcare provider so you are sure to perform the exercises safely. While there are some poses that can be performed by pregnant women, there are also those, which should be avoided.

In addition, the practice should not be employed as a substitute for medical care. As much as it provides the body with some exceptional benefits, it cannot be used as a treatment for any illness. Thus, if you are taking any medication, you can only employ the workout as a means to keeping fit, and not to recovery.

Moreover, it is advisable that you do not stretch yourself too much-there are so many poses in yoga, and while some are easy to execute, others are quite demanding. Therefore, before carrying out the exercises it's best that you know your limit, so you work within them. This ensures that you adhere to overall safety during the exercise sessions.

Do not be too hard on yourself when attending yoga classes; it is good idea to keep in mind that the class is not a competition. Someone may be able to perform some demanding stretches, but just because you cannot do the same shouldn’t be cause for worry. If you are a beginner, you should focus on maintaining your balance before trying to do the excessive stretches.

When attending yoga classes, you should expect to also obtain instructions concerning proper breathing, chanting and meditation, all of which will be given by the class instructor. The amount involved will however be largely dependent on the specialization of the instructor with regard to the yoga style.

Yoga can be practised at home using books, DVD's and some equipment. Take a look here for pricing, reviews and products

To see Yoga for Weight Loss in action, have a look at this video

Yoga Related articles

Photo Credit: vramak via Compfight cc

Enhanced by Zemanta

Post Workout Recovery Plan

Post workout recoveryStrenuous exercise is one of the best methods to keep our bodies in top physical form. We increase our circulation and heart rate, our bodies rid themselves of toxins faster, our lung capacity dramatically rises and our muscles remain lithe and strong. While these are but a handful of undeniable benefits, many of us may forget to acknowledge that proper rest and recovery are both equally crucial in helping to increase our performance and prevent injury. We need a post workout recovery plan, so we can optimise the benefits from our exercise.

In effect, we can examine the term "recovery" in three distinct phases. The preliminary stage is that of a cool-down while still in the gym or immediately after strenuous exertion. The second stage revolves around proper post-workout nutrition, and the final phase is the amount of physical "down time" and rest we allow ourselves before the next session. So, let us examine each stage in a greater amount of detail.

Post Workout Recovery – Cooling Down

Have you ever noticed someone in the gym leave immediately after running five or ten miles on an inclined treadmill? Perhaps you may have witnessed a weightlifter finish a heavy chest workout and simply walk out into a chilly December night without having even caught his breath. This is actually quite counterproductive to the workout itself. Cooling down is an absolute necessity, and for a few good reasons.

First, you must remember that during any physical exertion, your heart rate may be as high as 180 beats a minute. Stopping this activity altogether will cause a massive dip in your nominal heart rate. This can lead to dizziness and even the occasional blackout. A proper cool-down can help moderate your breathing and heart rate.

Also, cooling down will help increase circulation throughout the body. This can deliver vital nutrients to any affected muscles while decreasing the amount of lactic acid build up. This will help muscles loosen up and can actually reduce the amount of soreness you will experience the following day. This is the reason why it is a good idea to perform stretching exercises or a light jog as opposed to simply leaving the gym straight away, particularly after a hard workout on a cold day.

Post-Workout Nutrition

One of the fallacies of working out is that the most important meal is taken before the exercise actually begins. While of course it is pivotal for your body to receive an adequate amount of energy to perform physical activity, proper nutrition after a workout is absolutely vital for muscle repair and recovery.

One of the most important nutrients to absorb after a workout is protein. Whey protein is easily digested into the body and contains all of the essential amino acids necessary to help the muscles recover properly. In particular, amino acids such as L-Glutamine are extremely necessary for proper muscle repair. These substances can be thought of as the "mortar" which helps give your muscles their strength. Without protein as a "building block", your body will benefit little from the exercise and you may actually be prone to injury in the next session.

While much stress has always been placed on protein shakes, it is important to realise that protein is difficult to break down in the digestive tract. The energy needed to metabolise protein needs to come from carbohydrates. Some easy-to-find sources of simple carbohydrates include whole grains, wheat bread and rice cakes. These will provide the energy needed to digest the protein. Click this link to discover more about good carbs vs bad carbs.

Finally, there are specific vitamins that should be increased during the post-workout phase. Substances that aid in cellular repair such as vitamins B, C and E are extremely important while minerals such as calcium and zinc are equally valued due to their tendency to increase the metabolic functions within your cells. Read more about the essential vitamins and minerals here.

The good news is that most of this nutrition can be found in the form of ready-to-drink shakes or protein powders. Some proprietary mixes will even contain the optimum amount of carbohydrates within, thus providing you with a quick and tasty form of nutrient-rich recovery. All of these nutrients should be taken within fifteen minutes to one hour after completing a workout and having properly cooled down. A good meal example is chicken pasta salad or a Green Thai Chicken stir-fry. Both of these will provide protein, vitamins and carbohydrates to help your body repair and be ready for your next workout.

Post Workout Recovery – Physical Rest

When I first began training nearly twenty years ago, I was under the distinct impression that professional athletes were superhuman. I believed that they needed no downtime and instead operated as efficient machines. The truth of the matter is, is that proper physical rest is all but essential in preventing illness and injury.

Never forget that the soreness we feel is actually a result of countless microscopic tears within our muscles. While many of us may feel like "sucking it up" and simply "soldiering on", we will actually do more harm than good. Our bodies need a great deal of time to recover in between sessions; the time directly correlating with the intensity of our training.

Sleep plays a crucial role in this process. The normal individual is said to need between five and seven hours of sleep a night. An athlete needs between six and eight hours of rest due to the fact that their bodies will need more time to repair. Although it is not a well-known fact, many of our natural repair mechanisms are only activated during sleep. Our digestive tracts more easily absorb nutrients while our brains release chemicals known as neurotransmitters that "instruct" our muscles, tendons and bones to begin the lengthy healing process. Without adequate sleep, our bodies will not receive the amount of repair that they need. Over time this can lead to prolonged soreness, decreased progress and in extreme cases, burnout or physical injury.

Hopefully it should now be clear that a post-workout recovery needs to be considered an integral part of anyone's training regimen. Here I have shown you some of the best ways to recover after exercise and given you enough information to allow you to design a post workout recovery plan for yourself. By allowing ourselves adequate time to cool down, by ingesting the proper nutrients and by receiving the appropriate amount of sleep, we can be assured that we will enjoy steady physical progress and all of the other numerous benefits that healthy exercise provides. 

Related articles

Photo Credit: S.L.Y via Compfight cc

Enhanced by Zemanta

HIIT Workout

HIIT WorkoutWhat is An HIIT Workout?

Don't laugh, but High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was born from a method of training known as Fartlekking. This is a Swedish term that in English translates to 'speed play'. An HIIT workout  can be considered a more structured form of training based on the simpler principles of Fartlekking.

It was originally practised as a way for runners to train to 'push it to the limits' at the very last minute in a race. It has since been discovered that in a less aggressive form it can actually be a good way to burn calories, maintain a healthy heart rate and increase metabolism. It could also be practised anywhere at any time and it costs nothing.

HIIT Workout involves taking on the challenge to go flat out for a given time, then resting for a few minutes, then going flat out again. The repetition of going 'flat out, rest, flat out, rest' in sets makes this form of training as effective as it is. Practise makes perfect and the more you practise HIIT the stronger you become.

Being able to perform at your peak at any given time helps you to get through life at a pace that allows you to keep up with the demands placed on your body by your chosen lifestyle.  Think of those times when you've had to run after a bus, your dog or toddler, or to a meeting before it's too late. These are the times when our bodies take serious strain. Although you may make it to that meeting in time, you're feeling worn out before you even enter the office.

For these reasons and for more obvious ones like the fact that HIIT can increase your metabolism, maintain a healthy heart rate and burn calories fast. It has become a popular way to stay fit and healthy.

Of course you shouldn't just spring straight into this form of training. You'll need to have a certain level of fitness first, unless you want to experience a few painful side effects.

An average resting heartbeats between 60 and 100 times a minute, with between 70 and 80 beats per minute considered healthy. When an individual with a standard heart rate suddenly gives it their all their heart rate may go up to as fast as 140 beats per minute. If they're not used to this, you can well imagine how their heart would react to being so rudely awakened. It is best to monitor your heart rate while performing this exercise. Click here for a heart rate monitor watch comparison chart.

Sample High Intensity Interval Training Workout​

Lets take a look at a week-long program that will prepare you for HIIT. This you can do around the area you live or at the gym on a treadmill if it's raining outside. Always start out with a good warm-up session for ten to fifteen minutes before you start any sort of exercise. Make sure you are warm and feeling flexible before you begin your workout.


On day one, after stretching, start out with a two-minute walk. Then move into a simple five-minute jog at a pace you are comfortable with. Using your watch, after the fifth minute go on ahead at a faster pace for a full minute (a 'burst minute'), a pace you are still comfortable with. Don't push yourself too hard the first time.

After a 'burst' minute, slow down to a walk for two minutes again. After two minutes pick up the pace to a jog again for five minutes and then after the fifth minute, move on to the 'burst' minute, then back to the walk again.

Do this on the first day in a set of three, ending your set with a two-minute walk. Always stretch to warm down when you're done.

Begin by going through your warm-up routine. Start off with your slow two minute walk then move into the five minute jog, then after the fifth minute pick up the pace for the burst minute to almost twice the speed you were running at on day one. Practice this today in a set of three again, ending on the walk and stretch.

Today you will do the same as you have done on day one and two, but this time you will pick up the pace of the burst minute to almost maximum speed. Feel your breathing. If you start to feel light-headed you are probably pushing it too far too soon. Complete your set of three and then end on a walk and stretch.

Today you will follow what you did on day three but your set will increase to four, still ending on a walk and stretch.

Today will be the same as day four but you will increase the effort you put into your 'burst' minute. End on a walk and stretch.

Today you will complete a set of four, but you will push yourself further than you ever have before during your burst minute. This time you may very well feel a little light-headed. Once again don't over do it to a point where you feel like fainting or vomiting.

When training it's important to take a day of R n' R, rest and recovery. Use this day to go for a short walk instead, purely to keep your muscles supple.

This program will get you started. The week following this one will involve you increasing the time of your burst. You could increase it to say 80 seconds, instead of 60.

As you move on over time you can increase your burst by 20 seconds each time until you reach 3 minutes. Some athletes go as far as to exert themselves for as long as 10 minutes, but this won't be necessary if you're working with HIIT purely as a way to keep fit and healthy.

Finally, it's always good to keep some form of log or diary when you're in training. Use your log to jot down any experiences you have during a session. This will help you to monitor your training and it should show you when you're ready to give it your all.

I hope this has giving you a good insight into High Intensity Training. As always if you have not trained for a while it is a good idea to check with your medical professional before starting this type of training. You could also talk with a personal trainer at your Gym to workout a personalised program. The key with an HIIT workout is to go into it slowly, building up the intensity as you go over the weeks and months. This will keep you injury free and motivated, so you continue to get the most from this great fat burning training.

HIIT Workout Related articles

Photo Credit: jeremyhughes via Compfight cc

Enhanced by Zemanta

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

[close] Pinterest Bookmarklet