Bodybuilding – Chris Jalali biceps measure

Bodybuilder / magazine cover model Chris Jalali checks his biceps size in Columbus, Ohio, during the 2009 Arnold Sports Festival weekend.

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Five Reasons to Love Strength Training

By Kya Grace

Got plans to unleash a new you this year? Whether you want to build muscle, tone up or de-stress, strength training is the way to go. Strength training is the application of resistance to achieve muscle contraction, and thus increase anaerobic endurance, the muscle strength and size of muscles. Done properly, strength training can provide you significant benefits.

Build Muscle

There are plenty of easy ways to shape, define and strengthen your muscles without looking like an over-pumped human bag of muscles. Strength training using weights is the preferred option to improve muscle strength, but if you are unfit, any exercise will contribute to initial improvements. If you do want to build up bigger muscles, you need high-intensity loading of muscle and resistance training is a great way to do this. Sprint and power training also build muscle, but not to the same extent as resistance training. People who really bulk up lift very heavy weights and tend to do less than eight repetitions. Your muscles will tone up if you lift a weight with which you can comfortably do 15 repetitions. Your muscles will get a bit bigger and increase in strength, but you won’t bulk up overall.

Lose Fat

Wouldn’t it be great to lose those wobbly bits with the least possible effort? Don’t worry; you’re not going to turn into a heavyweight wrestler overnight by pumping a bit of iron. A common misconception about building muscle is that you’ll end up with Popeye-style biceps and a chest the size of a body-builder by simply looking at a dumbbell. But that’s not the case. Most men and women cannot increase their muscle mass in the same way as body builders, since they do not produce enough testosterone, the main hormone that is responsible for increasing muscle size.

Tone Up

The best way to tone up depends on which parts of your body you’re looking to tone up. If you want to tone and shape your legs, a mixture of running, cycling, swimming and lunges with hand-held weights will work wonders. On the other hand, to tone up your arms, you need to focus on tricep dips, skipping, swimming and weights. But there’s a pattern emerging here. To tone up, you’ll see the best results if you mix a range of exercises and workout disciplines. Toning up is not like losing weight and people often confuse the two things. If you lose fat, your muscles will appear to be shapelier, but to really tone them up, you need to work them. While losing weight will give the appearance of good tone, the underlying physiology of muscle will change only when it’s used regularly. A combination of aerobic and resistance training exercise that involves a variety of group muscle groups is best, combined with a diet that is low in fat to aid weight loss.

Improve Flexibility

Flexibility is important for fitness, especially as you get older. It can prevent lower back pain, stiffness and injuries and help maintain good mobility in the joints. Raise your body temperature first because it ensures the muscle is supple and stretch more easily, without the risk of muscle damage. You can do light strength training for 5-10 minutes daily to help your body prepare for flexibility work. It is recommended that you do a variety of aerobic exercises that use as many muscle groups as possible, such as cycling, jogging and swimming. A muscle will only gain strength when it’s used for exercise.

Beat Stress

Any activity you enjoy and do for more than five minutes at a time will reduce stress. Countless studies have shown that working out helps improve your mood and beat depression. So choose a sunny day, lace up your trainers and get out there.

About the Author: If you would like to book a Personal Trainer Inner West or to register for a free Sydney Personal Training trial, visit Sydney Personal Trainer .


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HOW I LOST 80 POUNDS!!! My weight loss secrets (2009)

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