Cardio might help you lose weight and increase endurance, but it won’t sculpt your body into the exact shape you want it to be. Lifting weights is key to controlling your fat and muscle distribution while giving you the strength to perform better at all physical activities. If you want to start sculpting a better body today, read on to learn more about why and how you should invite weights into your workout routine.
Benefits of lifting
Weightlifting isn’t just for people who want Hulk Hogan-esque mega muscles. It’s actually a vital part of any exercise routine aimed at losing weight. According to a study by Boston University’s School of Medicine, weightlifting can help to “regress obesity and resolve metabolic disorders.” If you’ve constantly struggled with maintaining a healthy weight, weightlifting could be a vital catalyst to your diet and exercise routine.
Weightlifting also builds strength, which improves your efficiency when doing cardio and other types of exercises. Stronger muscles enable you to run faster and longer, making it especially valuable for competing in marathons and other long-distance races.
Create a plan
Getting into shape involves commitment and persistence, so it’s not something you can just casually pick up the next time you visit your local gym. You need a plan to be successful.
- Get equipment: Having access to a gym is great for workouts every now and then, but if you want to make exercise more practical and accessible, it makes sense to have equipment at home. Invest in free weight sets and an exercise ball to keep your workout routine at your fingertips.
- Target your legs: When creating a routine, spend plenty of time working on your hamstrings to improve your flexibility and running ability.
- Start a routine: Three times a week, practice the following exercises: overhead lunges (for legs, hamstrings and core), chin-ups (for core and back) and Russian twists (core, legs and back). Do three sets of 20 reps each.
To perform overhead lunges, use both hands to hold a weight above your head and lunge forward, with your knee lined up over your heel. Step back and repeat this motion while alternating legs.
For chin-ups, grab a pull-up bar with your fingers facing toward you and lift your chin over the bar. The top of your head should fall beneath the bar before lifting yourself up again.
To perform a Russian twist, sit down on the floor with your legs lifted up and your body slightly leaning backwards. Hold your hands out front and twist your body from left to right while looking forward.
Incorporate cardio at least twice a week for a more fulfilling workout. Running is the perfect complement to weightlifting because it can help you improve strength and even run faster. But don’t feel limited to running. Experiment with swimming, biking, surfing, dancing and walking. Maintaining variety in your workout routine keeps it interesting and ensures better results from your efforts overall.