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All Entries For strength training

Getting Started with Strength Training in 5 Easy Steps


You know that strength training (also called resistance training) is good for your body. It can help you maintain and build muscle mass, rev your metabolism, make you a better recreational athlete, strengthen your bones and reshape your body. But unlike cardio, where you usually just pick an activity you enjoy and get out there and do it, strength training can be a lot more complicated to a novice. Most people don't just walk into a weight room, stare at the sea of weights, and know how to begin.

If you've never lifted weights before (or it's been a long time since you have), it can be intimidating to know how to start. There are so many weights, machines, classes and options. Which ones are right for you and your goals?
 
While the idea of strength training can be complex, hopefully these basics will point you in the right direction so you feel comfortable starting a training program.
Posted 4/8/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 0 comments   2,967 views
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Which Is More Important: Cardio or Strength Training?


This is a loaded question! If you ask 10 different trainers, you'd get 10 different answers. One trainer's answer is likely to be based on what they've seen help clients get the best results or their own personal preference for one type of exercise over the other.
 
There isn't a ton of research on this topic, but we know that people who do both cardio and strength training tend to have better outcomes in terms of weight loss, fitness and even improved blood sugar levels. These two modes of exercise each do very different things. If the issue is time, my answer would be to find a way to fit in both, whether each workout is a little shorter (and maybe more intense) to maximize your time, or you are doing both but doing each thing occasionally (such as just once a week each). Anything you can do will help. Another solution to fitting in both cardio and strength training is to seek out workouts that combine both efficiently. There are many workout DVDs (including SparkPeople's best-selling titles), fitness classes (including CrossFit) and workout options (including kettlebell training) that give you the best of both worlds. Circuit training, which involves lifting weights in a circuit of exercises without resting in between, is another good way to add an aerobic component to your strength-training workouts
 
Now let's look a little deeper at each exercise component and the role they might individually play in your fitness and weight-loss plan.
Posted 4/2/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 3 comments   10,246 views
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You Asked: Does Pilates Count as Strength Training?


This is not an easy question for me to answer. As a certified Pilates instructor and long-time Pilates practitioner, I've seen the many benefits of Pilates first-hand, and with many of my students. Pilates can sculpt your core, help you stand taller, improve your balance, tone your muscles and even prevent and relieve certain issues like lower back pain. I'm a huge advocate of Pilates and think it can benefit any body—male or female, young or old, beginner or athlete.
Posted 3/28/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 3 comments   5,312 views
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You Asked: How Many Calories Does Strength Training Burn?


If you are concerned about how many calories you burn during strength training, chances are that you are actively trying to lose weight (or might want to ensure you are eating enough to support strength training without losing additional weight). Although strength training is challenging and requires a lot of hard work (especially when lifting heavy weights), it doesn't typically burn as many calories as cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises like running or cycling.
Posted 3/13/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 5 comments   13,526 views
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Have a Ball with This Calorie-Torching Workout!


Looking to have a little more fun with your cardio workouts? Then hop off the treadmill and get ready to mix things up with this routine that uses a small ball to amp up the moves and help you burn more calories in less time.
 
No ball handy? Try using a small pillow, holding both ends of a light dumbbell (I would recommend a weight under 5 pounds) or simply clasp your hands together to follow along with this full length, 30-minute workout video. Check it out on YouTube, or watch via the embedded video below! 
Posted 12/30/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   18,810 views
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Tone Your Legs in 15 Minutes (without Squats or Lunges!)


As a trainer, I’m a huge fan of squats and lunges, but I know that joint issues can make these common lower-body exercises pretty painful to do. The good news is that there are plenty of other exercises that can help shape up your lower half!

Whether you need to modify for your knees or simply want to try adding a few new leg moves to your repertoire, join me for this low impact, Pilates-inspired, lower body workout that doesn’t require much space and zero equipment. It's just over 15 minutes, so it's also a great option for when you're short on time! (Oh, and feel free to kick off your shoes to further engage the muscles in your feet and ankles.) Check it out on YouTube, or watch via the embedded video below! 
Posted 12/6/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 15 comments   22,888 views
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A Seriously FUN Full-Body Workout for Fall


Tired of the same old exercises? Are curls, raises, rows and squats no longer doing it for you? Fret not, fearless exerciser, for we have a fun workout that will change all of that!
 
These seven exercises require a little imagination but otherwise no equipment at all. You can do them outdoors, inside a tiny apartment or even on an empty soccer field. As a bonus, this is a workout that your kids will LOVE to do with you—because it feels more like play than exercise. So if you're a mom or dad who needs to squeeze in exercise on top of childcare responsibilities, this is a win-win-win. (The extra "win" is because your little one will become your accountability partner and will ask to do the whole routine with you again and again!)
Posted 10/28/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 20 comments   18,978 views
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8 Resistance Training Exercises


Do you shy away from free weights at the gym? Thankfully, there are a slew of other ways to build your muscles that don’t require a pricey membership or bulky equipment. Besides the benefits of toning your body, resistance workouts help improve blood pressure and lower your diabetes risk. Strength training can also give you an  instant mood boost and help fight depression, much like a brisk walk or jog around the block does. Here are easy moves you can do at home and on the go. 
Posted 8/5/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   10,145 views
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Is Being Really Lean Really Worth It?


Say what?!  Is being really lean really worth it?  This probably sounds like a crazy question coming from a trainer who helps clients reach their fat-loss and physique goals.
 
Before we get started, let me say that I realize this is a very ambiguous question.  ''Really lean'' is relative, and I will tell you up front that I don’t have an answer for you. Only you have that answer for you. This blog post is simply intended to help you realize a few things:

1.    Everybody is different.
2.    Some of us can maintain leaner physiques than others.
3.    Going beyond a healthy level of leanness for YOU is a stressor.
4.    It’s not normal, and it may not even be healthy, to walk around shredded all the time.
5.    How lean do you want to be, and will you sacrifice what it takes to get there?
 
Let’s explore each of these.
Posted 8/1/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 117 comments   95,692 views
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Bone Health for Kids


Brittni Reum's first broken bone happened in her right heel at age 10. She suffered four more fractures over the next three years in her arms and knee—all from seemingly minor mishaps while playing on the monkey bars or shooting hoops in gym class. "Brittni seemed so fragile that I was afraid to let her go outside or play sports," says her mom, Michele, an accounting manager in Jacksonville, Florida. 
Posted 6/18/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   5,626 views
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Your Excuse-Proof Workout Plan


Hey, we're all busy. But that’s no reason to let your workouts get away from you. Next time you feel like skimping on exercise to watch TV or meet your friends for Happy Hour remember this: It doesn't take much to get a great workout.
 
That's why I designed this excuse-proof workout. You can do this simple, 6-minute circuit anytime (it's whisper quiet), anywhere (no gym required) and without any equipment.  All that and it'll sculpt your body from head to toe, too.
Posted 6/3/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 40 comments   104,232 views
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The Towel Workout Makes Toning Easy!


There’s no need for special equipment for a great workout! A good old beach towel can be just as effective at working your muscles as dumbbells, resistance bands or expensive machines. Want proof? Meet "The Towel Workout."
 
All of these moves can be done with just a towel, which is great because you’ll probably need it to wipe up your sweat after you are done.
Posted 5/31/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 42 comments   53,611 views
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6 Kettlebell Workout Routines


Just like fashion trends come and go, same can be said about workout trends. Hundreds of years ago Russian bodybuilders were using cannonball-like equipment for strength training. Little did they know then that their workouts would be turned into classes in gyms across the globe 300 years later. The reason kettlebell workouts are so popular is they provide strength training, cardio, balance and flexibility all in one short workout.

In the January 2011 issue of Fitness magazine, John Porcari, PhD, an exercise researcher at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, stated that "an intense 20-minute workout with kettlebells burned on average, an astonishing 400 calories, or 20 calories a minute."

Posted 5/27/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nancy Howard : 91 comments   336,435 views
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The Top 5 Exercises You're Doing Wrong


For some people, safety and form during a workout is a huge priority. For others, it's an afterthought. If you work out without the careful eyes of a trainer or instructor watching your every move, it can be difficult to know if you are exercising with proper form—even when you're really trying to.
 
Learning how to move with correct alignment isn't just about looking good; it can mean the difference between muscle activation and joint strain—or even injury.
 
Here are five exercises that are common—and may even seem simple—but are most often performed incorrectly by people of all fitness levels.
Posted 5/13/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 38 comments   154,046 views
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8 Amazing Exercises for the TRX


If you haven't been in a gym recently you may be surprised to see trainers and fitness enthusiasts incorporating many new gadgets into their workout routines to help keep their training fresh and challenging. Having covered kettlebells, BOSU trainers and Body Bar workouts in previous Fitness Round-up blogs, now seemed an opportune time to introduce the TRX Suspension System.
Posted 5/10/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 34 comments   179,318 views
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