Strength Training Is So Important:

When you gain muscle, you gain a lot — more benefits, that is.

  • Fend off flab
  • Protect against a variety of diseases, like heart disease and osteoporosis
  • Decrease the risk of diabetes
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Improve sleep
  • Enhance balance and coordination

More muscle mass also translates into a faster resting metabolism (the baseline number of calories you burn throughout the day). So even at rest, you’re incinerating extra fat.

The following basic, effective routine is simple and easy to learn. Plus, it only takes 20 to 30 minutes from start to finish. Look forward to looking toned and lean.

The Workout

Warm up for a few minutes by jogging in place or walking at a moderate pace.  Then do 10 to 12 reps of each exercise. Rest for 30 seconds, and repeat for a second set. Aim to do the workout at least two or three times a week.

Use 5- to 8-pound dumbbells. (If that’s too hard, use just your body weight to start.) Reach for heavier weights as you get stronger.

1. Step Up

step up
 Start: With dumbbells in hand and arms at the side of your body, face a bench or step.

Movement: Lift your right knee and place your foot on the bench. Push your body up. Your left leg will hang straight behind you and won’t touch the bench. Pause at the top while squeezing your glutes. Lower down to starting position. Finish your reps before switching to your left leg.

2. Forward Lunge

forward lunge
With dumbbells in hand and arms at the side of your body, stand with feet hip-width apart.

Movement: Step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees. Be careful not to let your right knee extend past your toes. Push back to starting. Complete all reps and then repeat with the left leg.

3. Dumbbell Row

dumbbell row
Start: Hold dumbbells with your arms in front of your body, palms facing toward you. With feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, bend forward at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor. Allow your arms to hang from your shoulders, palms facing your legs.

Movement: Bend your elbows and pull the weights up toward the sides of your torso. Pause and pull your shoulder blades together. Lower the weights back to start and repeat for all reps.

4. Dumbbell Chest Press

dumbbell chest press

Start: Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor (or on the bench if you can’t reach). Hold a dumbbell in each hand on either side of your chest. Keep your elbows out to the side and upper arms parallel to the floor.

Movement: Push the weight up till arms are extended. Pause and lower back to start.

5. Plank

Starting from a pushup position, bend your elbows and lower down until you are resting on your forearms. Your body should form a straight line.

Movement: Engage your abs (think of pulling your belly button towards the ceiling) and hold your body in a straight line for 30 to 60 seconds. Don’t allow your hips to drop or your butt to rise up. Rest and then repeat for a second set.