The Best Weight Training Regimen for Overweight Women

This may be your first attempt at weight loss or the next in a string of many -- as an overweight woman it can seem impossible to find something that works and that you can stick with. It may have never crossed your mind, but weight training might be just what you need to help you succeed in your weight loss efforts. One of the best weight training regimens for overweight women is circuit training, which smartly combines strength training with cardiovascular work.

Woman lifting a barbell
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A Look at Circuit Training

Circuit training is a weight training regimen that involves performing a series of preselected exercises one after the other with little to no rest between stations. This type of training generally involves a high number of repetitions with lower weights and targets all of the major muscle groups in one continuous cycle. Circuit training can be performed with hand weights, resistance bands, exercise machines, body weight or a combination of these.

Perks of Circuit Training

Weight training itself is not a big calorie burner, which is necessary for weight loss. However, when performed in a circuit training style, you're adding in a cardiovascular component, which is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. With this type of training you get the muscular benefits of weight training and the weight loss benefits of cardiovascular training combined into one time-saving workout. One muscular benefit includes added muscle mass, which, according to the American Council on Exercise, increases your metabolic rate making it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Give it a Try

Your circuit training regimen will consist of six to 15 exercises that alternate between upper and lower body movements. The only rest between exercises should be the amount of time it takes you to get from one station to the next, ideally less than 30 seconds. The short rest time will give you a cardio workout as you tax your muscles. An example workout includes 12 repetitions of each of the following exercises, chest press, squats, bent over row, 30-second plank, lunges, shoulder press, leg extension, bicep curl, leg curl, triceps extension, bicycle crunches and upright rows.

Safe Progression

Circuit training should be performed two to three times per week, with a day of rest between workouts. Begin with one cycle of the circuit, progressing up to two to four as your fitness improves. Perform 10 to 25 repetitions of each exercise, depending on the amount of weight you use. Lighter weight will allow for more reps while a heavier weight will limit the number of reps before fatigue sets in.

Dietary Considerations

While an effective weight training regimen can help you lose weight, consuming an unhealthy diet full of fat, sugar and processed foods will sabotage even your best efforts. Complement all of your hard work with a diet full of nutritious foods including vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, nuts and lean sources of protein. Avoid under-eating and overeating, both of which can have detrimental effects on your weight loss efforts.

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