How many of us head to the gym, jump on the treadmill and> run for 20/30 minutes maybe more, same level and> same intensity every time and> then hit the showers? Quite a few I would imagine – I know I used to! Have you ever considered weight training? Over the past few years I have integrated weight/strength training into my sessions and> have reaped the rewards. I am not saying do not include any continual or interval cardio training into your training programme, but I would also encourage you to look at some weight training. Trust me you will enjoy it! Once you step off the treadmill/cross trainer or any other cardio machine your body stops burning calories. With weight training you will gain an after burn affect, meaning you will burn more calories whilst sleeping, or recovering watching the soaps!

Women – don’t stop reading!!!

I know a vast majority of women may fear the weights section of the gym. They can be full of big muscly grunting men, and> this could look intimidating. You may be worried about looking stupid, not knowing what to do or you could just be wary of what it will do to your body. You don’t want to look like the world’s strongest man! Trust me you won’t. It is extremely difficult to get to this size. Men and> women just do not have the same levels of testosterone needed to get to this size. Instead, you will develop a more toned physique and> will definitely look good in that bikini on the beach.

Now I have persuaded you to add some strength training to your routine, how should you go about it? If you have never done any strength training before it would be wise to speak to a professional in a gym, who can ensure you are using the correct form and> give you more tips. Below is a basic run down of a few exercises and> how to put them into a beginner programme.

Research has shown that you can gain the potential health benefits from strength training in just two 15-20 minute sessions, easy hey? It does mean you have to work hard during these sessions and> ensure you are sufficiently working all muscle groups. For a basic programme, I would select 8-10 exercises which cover the whole body. Perform 1 or 2 sets of between 8-12 repetitions, using a weight that means the last repetitions feel like hard work. Everybody is different so it is not right for me to specify exact exercises or reps/sets, as they may not be suitable for you. Speak to a professional in your area for your personal needs.

Exercise Ideas

I have listed a selection of exercises for you to look into and> possibly try, but again I would check proper form by speaking to an instructor or personal trainer in the gym.

Push Ups
Shoulder Press
Lateral Raises
Bicep Curls
Tricep Dips
Tricep Extensions
Bent Over Row
Crunches – Side Crunches
Plank/Side Planks
Leg Lifts
Squats
Lunges

This is just a basic beginner overview of weight/strength training. If you are considering adding this into your gym/exercise programme, please do so with care and> ensure you are fit to do so. This article is for general information purposes only and> should not be treated as a substitute for professional supervision or advice.