strength exercises

Losing weight is more than just a walk in the park. It takes effort, determination, and intentional discipline. Along with a healthy diet and a cardio workout three times a week, strength exercises can boost metabolism and rev weight loss. If you are a gym rat, like me, you know the value of resistance/strength training equipment. If you workout at home without the use of exercise machines, you can obtain the same results.

Try adding these six strength exercises to your workout for weight loss. The gym equipment and the non-equipment equivalent are shown for your convenience. Get moving!

1. Seated Cable Rows

Great for an overall workout. Squeeze and engage core, pressing with heels for greater motion.

Sit and relax, extending legs, but not locking joints. Grip the cables, keeping back straight. Push in with your heels, pulling toward your core.

On the floor, land on your elbows, arms in front. Press and lift off the floor. Squeeze core and hold. Complete 2 to 3 sets, holding for 30 seconds, resting between sets.

2. Lat Pull-Down

Want to look forever sexy in a strapless dress? Lat pull-downs target biceps and latissimus dorsi. Your mid-back will feel the burn as you melt calories. Lat pull-downs build and strengthen, creating good posture, making you look and feel younger.

Find your seat and grip the bar with palms facing forward. Slightly lean back, extending arms (never locking elbows). Engage abs and pull the bar to your chest. The slower the movement, the greater the burn.

A tried and true way to get lean, pull-ups require strength and stamina. If you are a beginner, start slow. Engage back muscles as you pull up for best results.

3. Arm Curls

A favorite gym machine, arm curls start out easy, but the more you do, the more you must engage your core, legs, and back to move the weight. Fry fat. You can do it.

Find your seat, become comfortable so that you can relax and enjoy the workout. Remember to breathe and exhale as you move the weight. Press in with your heels and engage your abs to work more muscle groups.

Grab a pair of dumbbells or weight that fits your fitness level. This move elongates and strengthens arms and back. Engage core, pressing into the floor with your heels. Intentional breathing makes this, and all exercises, much easier.

4. Shoulder Press

Targets medial and anterior deltoids; as you lose weight, shoulders become toned.  

Elbows at shoulder level, back straight without strain. Grip and engage abs.

Straighten arms slightly (never, ever lock joints), pressing upward

  • Yoga: Shoulder Poses

Build strength while losing weight with yoga. The more you practice working out with yoga, the more skilled you will become. Find out how to do yoga shoulder poses here.

5. Leg Press

Butt, thighs, and legs get a slimming workout with the leg press.

Adjust the seat to fit your body. With feet hip-width apart, press into the plate. Lengthen legs, but never lock knees. Feel the burn in glutes and quads. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Squats are considered one of the top exercises to rip and burn fat; squats exercise knee, hip, and ankle joints, building strength and balance. Metabolism is boosted, as well as muscle definition and performance.

6. Seated Leg Curl

Engage abs to press legs; feel the burn in thighs, glutes, and core. At first, this seems easy, but the more repetitions, the greater the resistance.

Adjust the seat and leg stabilizer to fit your body. Place calves on padded bar and press downward, squeezing abs and core. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Posture and balance are important with this exercise. Hands-on hips, lift your right leg backward. The slower you go, the greater the burn. Squeeze the core for more intensity. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Note that brands of gym equipment are designed slightly differently, but all provide the same end result. Remember, a training circuit should always include at least 20 minutes of cardio to balance your strength training. This will provide a greater overall workout. The goal is not to bulk up, but to strengthen and elongate muscles to efficiently burn more calories. A 30-second break between machines/exercises is recommended. Exercise at least 2 to 3 times a week for best results. Find more training tips here.

Consult with a certified fitness trainer to guide you through technique and form. Avoid injury, strain, and overexercising. If you have never been to the gym to experience a round of circuit training, I highly recommend you schedule an appointment with a professional trainer and give it a go! The gym atmosphere and aesthetics will provide motivation and support as you continue to make strides to good health.

About the Author: GINA MCKNIGHT

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