Muscle strength and endurance is an essential part of fitness that is required to maintain over-all well being. A full body workout targets all major muscles and increases balance, stability and flexibility. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, strength training should be performed two or three days a week. Not only can strength training be fun, it can increase your metabolism, improve control of blood sugar and elevate your mood.
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Arms, Shoulders, Chest and Back
The chest press targets chest, biceps, shoulders and triceps muscles and can be performed in a gym or at home. Lie flat on your back with your feet flat and knees bent. Grip dumbbells in each hand. Remember to only lift a weight that is comfortable yet still challenging. Extend your arms upward above your chest without locking your elbows. Slowly lower arms back down to the starting position. You may also perform this same movement on a stability ball for more of a challenge. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions. Push ups also work all three of these muscles. Different variations of these push ups would be putting your feet on a chair simulating an incline chest press. The dumbbell shoulder press will strengthen your shoulders. You can stand or sit to perform this exercise. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with and overhand grip, arms comfortably to your sides. Stand with feet hip-width apart then slowly raise the weights to ear height, than fully extend your arms above your head without locking your elbows. Bring the weights back down to ear level for one full repetition. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions.
Kickin' Quads and Gripping Glutes
Standing lunges not only shape and tone quadriceps and hamstrings, but you'll feel the difference in your glutes as well. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and grab a pair of dumbbells. Choose the right amount of weight for your fitness level. Lunge with left foot directly in front of you, thigh parallel to the ground. Your right knee should come close to the ground but not touch it. Come back into the starting position and repeat with other leg. Your back should be straight and shoulders should be rolled back, keeping posture in check with each lunge. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions. Another excellent glute and leg exercise involves using steps or platforms. Grab your set of dumbbells and stand in front your stairs or platform steps. Step up with one foot, then lower and step up with the other foot, arms to your side. Keep this step pattern at a quick pace for maximum benefit. Perform the step-ups to exhaustion.
Get to the Core
Your core is made up of your abs, obliques, lower back and glutes. When exercised properly, all of these muscle work together to prevent injury, increase flexibility and balance. Planks give your core a challenge while strengthening abdominal muscles. Lie on your side with your left leg on top of the right, raise upper body and place right elbow beneath right shoulder, breathing out as you come up. Your elbow should be bent at 90 degrees and resting on the ground. Hold for a 30 second count, release back to the floor then repeat then switch to your left side. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
Whether you workout in a gym or at home, keep in mind that it takes time to build the physique that you want. Add variation to your workouts such as cycling classes or kickboxing classes so your workouts don't become stale and boring. Control the weight as you lift, counting in a phase of one-two-three and never hold your breath. Breathing through each slow movement will allow the oxygen to flow through your body.