Strength is the foundation of nearly all physique and performance goals. When you’re strong, you more easily gain muscle size, lose fat, run faster, hit harder, and play longer.
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Research has shown that strength training increases power and endurance and also:
- Helps control weight by boosting the metabolism
- Halts bone loss and even restores bone
- Improves balance
- Helps prevent bone fractures from osteoporosis
- Improves flexibility.
In addition, in women age 40 or older, strength-training helps prevent loss of muscle mass.
A strength training program may include free weights or weight-training machines. But you don’t need extensive equipment to do strength-training. You can do Pilates mat work, using simply a stability ball, or do exercises that use your own body weight for resistance, such as push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, and dips.
Here are 7 exercises to get you started:
1. Chicken wings
Holding a set of dumbbells, stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and elbows bent and in front of you at a 45-degree angle. Keep your forearms against the front of your body as you raise your elbows out and up through a count of 10. (Your neck and shoulders should be relaxed.) Hold and squeeze your triceps for 2 seconds, then return to starting position through a count of 10.
2. Chair dips
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or workout bench with your hands behind you and fingers pointed forward, grasping the front edge of the chair. Flex your feet so that your weight is on your heels and slide away from the chair. Keeping your back straight, lower yourself through a count of 10 seconds. Hold for 2 seconds, then push yourself back up to starting position through a count of 10.