Ease into a full-body workout with machine weights and light dumbbells.
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Full-body workouts are optimal for enhancing your physique and improving your health, especially if you don't have four to five days to devote to strength or resistance training. Shape your entire body, including your buns, the back of your arms and your waistline, with full-body beginner workouts that are based primarily on strength-training exercises.
Reap the Benefits
Strength training provides a basket of positive lifestyle perks. According to an article by Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., regular strength training increases your resting energy expenditure. That is, your body uses up plenty of calories to repair and remodel your muscles even while you are sitting down or sleeping. Ultimately, strength training enables you to modify your body composition by increasing your lean mass and decreasing your fat mass. Strength training also reduces the rate at which you lose muscle tissue as you age. The more muscle and strength you have going into your 60s, the less likely you are to suffer from disabilities and injuries related to falls. Additionally, strength training helps regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, reducing your risk of diabetes.
Increase the Intensity
Intensity is a key factor in toning your muscles. As a beginner, start out with light weights that you can lift for three sets of 12 repetitions. The last two to three repetitions of each set should be somewhat challenging. Once you can complete three sets of 13 to 14 reps for any exercise, increase the weight you are using by 5 to 10 lbs. At the new weight, it's okay if you are only able to do eight to 10 reps per set. Once you can complete three sets of 13 to 14 reps, increase the weight again. By using progressively heavier weights, you'll continuously tone and build muscle, decrease body fat and improve your strength.
Master the Circuit
A circuit workout is based on a series of exercises that are done one right after the other. Each exercise is performed for a specified duration or for a predetermined number of sets and repetitions. Many gyms have a designated area of resistance machines that are used primarily for circuit workouts. Circuits have one to two exercise machines for each major muscle group of your body such as a chest press, back row, leg extension, biceps curl, leg curl, tricep extension, shoulder press and abdominal crunch. Do one set per exercise. Once you have completed one round, repeat the circuit for two more rounds. For your first week, rest for 30 seconds between each exercise. For subsequent weeks, rest just long enough to transition between exercises. Do this routine at the beginning of the week such as on a Monday.
Change It Up
Change your second full-body routine to incorporate different exercises for each muscle. New routines help stimulate further muscle tissue repair and remodeling. A body-weight and dumbbell routine may be done at home or at the gym. For this routine, pair two exercises together. Alternate one set of each exercise in the pair until you have completed three sets per exercise. This style of training enables one muscle to rest while you train the other muscle. Pair pushups on your knees for your chest with dumbbell rows for your back, body weight squats for your legs with dumbbell curls for your biceps, triceps extensions for the back of your arms with bicycle crunches for your abs and dumbbell presses for your shoulders with standing side leg lifts for your hips. Complete three sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise in a pair. Once you can do three sets of 13 to 14 reps, increase the resistance. Do this workout at the end of the week, such as on a Thursday.