Health: The gift of the lift:The benefits of proper strength training

I used to be one of those girls that thought lifting weights was just for gents.

I used to be one of those girls that thought lifting weights was just for gents.

I would happily go to the gym, hop on the bike, and be on my way.

This was before I joined US army training and was informed I would have to be able to do a minimum of 30 push ups and 60 sit ups in two minutes to pass my physical.

I quickly discovered you can run all you want…it will not help you do push ups.

I ended up leaving the army two years later, but the benefits of strength training have remained with me ever since.

Building muscle is a vital part of any fitness regime…and not just of the guys that like to stare at their biceps in the mirror.

Not only does it give lovely definition, it also boosts your cardio workout and maintains bone health.

A few quick tips to get the lift:
• Make up a lifting routine that works out ALL the muscles in your body. (Yes guys…not just your chests and biceps!) Muscles tend to work in pairs, so if you are only building one part of the pair, you can actually damage yourself (think abdominals AND back, biceps AND triceps etc.).
• Give muscle groups a day of rest by rotating those you work every day. (i.e. back and biceps one day, chest and triceps the next etc.)
• Perform every lift 6-10 times in sets of 2-4. At the end of a set your muscles should be tired but not burning in pain, so make sure you are using the right amount of weight.
• Please make sure you are doing the exercises properly. Do not be shy to ask a trainer for advice. Improper lifting can lead to joint, ligament and muscle damage.
• And ladies, don’t be afraid of the machines…they will not bite you. Hit the gym with some friends and ask friendly bodybuilders for advice. They will likely love to assist.

Amity Weiss is a professional personal trainer from America living in Kigali.

Amity_weiss@yahoo.com

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