Strength training is crucial for bone health, altering your body composition and helping you burn calories during the day. It is important to work certain muscle groups together to prevent injuries and make the most of your workout. Adding strength training to your routine will help give you more energy and tone your body.
Legs and Shoulders
Legs and shoulders can be worked together. Your leg muscles include the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Work each muscle individually and also with power moves, incorporating the entire lower body. Hamstring curls, leg extensions and calf raises all target your primary muscles. Lunges and squats are also effective ways to engage the lower body. The American Council on Exercise recommends doing lateral raises, front raises and overhead presses to strengthen and sculpt your shoulders.
Chest and Back
The chest and back muscles are large and known as antagonistic muscles, meaning the muscles move the bones in opposite directions. When you pair chest exercises with back exercises, you allow one muscle group to rest while the other works. Do one chest exercise followed by a back exercise. Strengthening moves for the chest include the chest press, incline chest press and pushups. Back exercises include lateral pulldown, seated row and pullups. Abdominal exercises can be done after your chest and back training or mixed into your workout.
Biceps, Triceps and Core
Biceps and triceps also form a set of antagonistic muscles. Work your biceps and triceps, along with your core, on the same day. Complete a bicep exercise, followed by a triceps exercise and then a core move. Choose about three exercises for each body part. For example, complete one set of bicep curls, then one set of triceps kickbacks, followed by a plank hold. Another example of a circuit is bicep barbell curls, triceps overhead extensions and reverse.
Strength train two to three days a week if you are new to exercise, and up to five days a week if you are advanced. Complete eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, taking a 30-second rest between sets. Complete three sets of the chosen exercise. During you daily workout, it is recommended you do between six and 10 different exercises.