By Emily McLaughlin
Article 1: Love to sweat, live to sweat
Article 2: Love to sweat, live to sweat: Your exercise routine
Article 3: You’re reading it. ;)
If your focus is to lose weight, cardio is most important. So, why lift? Well, strength training will improve your cardiovascular abilities and get you looking toned. Make time in your schedule for both.
Here are 5 total-body strength moves that work your muscles head to toe in the most effective way possible. These exercises use weights. Start weights small and increase as you get stronger.
Plié Arm Sculptor - targets inner thighs, legs, glutes, arms, shoulders, abs
Holding a 3-10lb weight in each hand, take a wide stance with toes pointed on a diagonal (wide enough so that when you plié, your knees go over your ankles, and no further than your toes). Plié, lifting your arms up and out to the side (palms face down) until they reach shoulder height. Return to a plié squat, bringing arms back down. Repeat 10x to complete 1 set. Do 3 sets.
*keep back straight as you plié, driving your weight down through your center
Woodchopper – targets legs, glutes, back, shoulders, abs [triceps]
Stand with feet a little further than hip-width apart, toes pointing forward. Hold a 8-15lb weight with both hands right above your head (elbows straight). Squat, shifting your weight back into your heals and bringing the weight right down between your legs. Return to standing, bring that weight back over head [Bonus move: add a tricep dip here). Repeat 8x to complete 1 set. Do 3 sets.
*stick your butt out when you squat, keep shoulders and eyes up, move slowly and keep weight under control
One-legged Dead Left - targets back, abs, glutes, hamstrings
With arms straight down, holding 5-15lb weights in each hand (backs of your hands facing forward), put all of your weight in your right leg. Lower your upper body down, hands moving towards the ground, lifting your left leg up to the back (hips square, left toes pointing towards the ground). Your back and leg are in a straight line, parallel to the ground. Return to standing, all of your weight stays in your right leg, left toes touch the ground behind you. Repeat 10x on the right leg and 10x on the left leg for 1 set. do 2-3 sets.
*move slowly in this move, engaging your core for balance, keeping your gaze off in front of you so that your shoulders do not drop too low
Curling Lunges - target legs, butt, abs, biceps
While holding 5-15lb weights by your side, step your right leg forward for a lunge. Hold this position, perform a bicep curl, then return to standing. Do the same on your left. This is 1 rep. Do 10 reps for 1 set. Complete 2-3 sets.
*When you lunge forward, bend low and make sure your front knee lowers down so that it comes over your ankle.
Ab-twisting Balancing Act - targets abs, arms, butt
Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Using a 5-15lb weight or medicine ball, hold it straight out in front of you. Transition all of your weight into your right leg, lift your left knee up to hip height all while bringing the weight into your chest for an ab twist to the left. Repeat by returning your leg to the ground and arms out front, then lift your right knee and twist to the right. This is 1 rep. Do 10 reps to complete 1 set. Do 2-3 sets.
*Use a weight or a medicine ball, move slowly to maintain balance and control
It should take under 30 minutes to complete all of these total-body strength exercises. Do these moves 2-3 times a week, resting for a day or two in between workouts. Do a full-body stretch at the end of the routine to reduce soreness and make those muscles long and lean.
Happy exercising. :)