Before heading to the office, you have just enough time to hit the gym for a strength training session. Since you don't have time to mess around, here are ways you can get the most out of your toning workout.
- Lift at least twice a week. Once a week is better than nothing, but in order to reap the benefits of strength training, put the time in at least two days a week. Avoid more than three lifting sessions a week as it won't allow enough recovery time in between workouts, which is essential in building muscle.
- Lift enough weight to make it worthwhile. You'll know you have the right set of weights when your muscles feel fatigued after three sets of about eight to 12 reps. Don't be married to this size dumbbell. Respond to your stronger muscles by gradually increasing the weight you lift over time.
- Multitask. Exercises that target more than one group of muscles such as bicycle abs with pec fly or plank opposite limb extensions are big time savers.
Read on for more strength training tips.
- Pair two pieces of equipment together. Use a resistance band with your set of dumbbells, or hold a medicine ball when doing crunches on an exercise ball. Using two types of equipment at once will challenge your sense of balance and add more resistance, so you end up working your muscles more than if you were only using one type of equipment.
- Don't rest between sets. You'll really feel the burn if you push through each set without stopping. Skipping the rest shouldn't compromise your form, so just to be sure, it may help to do your exercises in front of a mirror. You can also incorporate supersets into your workouts, where you pair up two different sets of exercises, one right after the other, without resting in between sets.
- Don't rush through your reps. If you move too quickly you're not only at risk for an injury, but you're also more likely to use momentum, which translates to not using your muscles. Move slowly and with control to ensure you're targeting the intended areas.
- Mix things up to keep your muscles guessing. Doing a variety of strengthening exercises, mixing up the sequence you do them in, and using different types of toning equipment will not only prevent boredom, but you'll also become stronger.
What other ways do you get more out of your strength training session?