While doctors recommend aerobic activity like walking and swimming to aid your weight-loss efforts and improve the function of your heart, strength training helps you gain muscle mass, or muscle weight, that normally decreases as you grow older. Strength training also enhances your body’s ability to burn calories and complements aerobic exercise as a way to shed unwanted fat. Several methods of strength training can be performed at home or outdoors, which allow you to have a full workout and to build muscle weight in every area of your body without incurring the cost of a gym membership.
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Multiple Muscle Workout
A full workout to build muscle weight away from the gym often includes free weights like barbells and dumbbells, as well as smaller hand weights. Free-weight workouts provide the option of lifting while standing, sitting or positioned on a bench and are ideal for building multiple muscle groups in your body during a single exercise session. Your injury risk increases when lifting heavy free weights without a trainer nearby, so recruit a workout partner to assist you. Most sporting good stores offer free weights at a variety of prices, although you may prefer to buy used weights online for additional savings.
Core Muscle Focus
Add weight to the core muscles in your body -- or the muscles located in your abdomen, hips and back -- by including a stability ball in your strength-training workout. Lie on the stability ball on your back, and perform crunches to build muscle without weights, or try pushups with your feet or knees on the ball. Some athletes prefer to lift free weights like barbells while sitting or lying on the ball. Stability balls can also be used to stretch the muscles in your back, abdomen and other areas. The balls come in a variety of sizes and colors, although larger balls serve to increase the difficulty of your workout.
No Equipment Workout
Athletes who seek to gain muscle weight in multiple areas without the need for equipment often prefer body-weight exercises like pushups, pullups and situps. Body-weight exercises can be performed anywhere and also carry a lower risk for injury than a workout that includes weights. The activity strengthens your bones and improves your stamina, balance and focus. Additional body weight exercises include abdominal squats and crunches.
Small Muscle Training
Resistance bands let you add weight to the smaller muscle groups in your body while in your office, living room or outside. A resistance-band workout centers on stretching, which causes the lightweight material to provide resistance that challenges your muscles. Some trainers recommend resistance bands for athletes who wish to improve conditioning during rehabilitation from an injury. Most sporting good stores offer the bands at affordable prices.