Mix Fitness's Blog


The Basics of Using Free Weights

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on February 18, 2010
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Man performing the overhead tricep extension.

Resistance training is an effective method of training the muscles, joints, and bones. Both dumbbells and plate-loaded bars are types of free weights. When you incorporate free weights into your workouts, your personal fitness improves.

Benefits

Progressive resistance training increases lean muscle which leads to improved metabolism. The American College of Sports Medicine cites reductions in body fat, increases in bone density, modest reductions in blood pressure, and improved blood lipid profiles as benefits to resistance training. Athletes, in all sports, train with free weights to improve performance. And, when performed correctly, resistance training is safe for people of all ages.

Characteristics

While free weights fall under the umbrella of resistance training, they have a few unique characteristics. Free weights can be used anywhere. They mimic real life, or functional, movement. Meaning, your limbs move more freely in a natural motion. Using dumbbells and weighted bars require more skill than using weight machines. Stability is required to control the weight since it is not fixed. Some exercises, especially those when the dumbbell or bar is lifted over your head, require a spotter.

Exercises

Dumbbells can be used to train all the major muscles of the body. Upper body exercises include the chest press and flyes to work your chest. For your back, do one-arm rows. The military press is an example for your shoulders. Bicep curls work your biceps. Overhead extensions target your triceps. Examples of lower body exercises are squats and lunges. Simply hold a dumbbell in each hand to add extra resistance.

Misconceptions

Many women believe working out with free weights will make them bulky. Because of this notion, women either shy away from lifting or lift insufficient amounts of weight. However, women do not have the levels of testosterone necessary to develop large muscles comparable to those of men.

Getting Started

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends resistance training 2 to 3 days per week. Allow 24 to 72 hours between days for muscle recovery. At least one set of 8 to 12 reps per muscle group is advised by the ACSM to improve muscle tone and endurance. The amount of weight lifted should fatigue your muscles. After your first month, build up to three sets per exercise.

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When to Expect Exercise Results

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on December 9, 2009
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This morning, I wrote an article about the success a cancer survivor has found by working with a personal trainer.  It got me thinking about the fitness journey.  Exercise benefits everyone, no matter what problems you face.  It takes commitment, determination, and hard work.  Results do not happen over night, nor do they happen even within a month.  The women I wrote about has been working with her trainer for two years now.  If you want to read her story, click here.

I’ve blogged so much about weight loss, that I want to talk about the other types of results you can expect when exercise is a regular part of your life.  It’s true that beginners see results more quickly than those who have been at it a while.  The cool thing about novice weight-lifters (and I don’t mean professionals) is that while the training improves your muscles, it also trains your brain.  Your brain starts to make a better connection to your muscles and you often feel stronger.  There are many factors contributing to when you can expect the toned/defined appearance.   If you have low body fat and start weight training, you may see results within three months.

For the other great benefits like improvements in balance, body fat, blood pressure, and cholesterol, it takes several months.  And, the more you train, the faster the result.  Now, I’m not recommending you start over-exercising!  Remember, fitness is not a race.  But, the old saying applies:  practice makes perfect.  So, exercising two times per week will yield quicker results than once per week.

Finally, a tip about working with a personal trainer.  Hiring a personal trainer can speed up your results.  Let me stress can speed results.  However, it still boils down to how much exercise you’re getting per week.  If you workout once with your trainer per week and get no other activity, results will be slow to come, but will come eventually.  So, do yourself a favor and exercise independently of your trainer.

Want to know what to look for when hiring a personal trainer?  Read on.

Where to Purchase Fitness Equipment

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on November 27, 2009
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Hi blog followers!  I’m now writing for Examiner.com.  You can continue to follow me there.  I will still be writing about fitness and getting more specific about exercises and topics.  Check out this article I wrote:

If you are considering buying fitness equipment as a gift this season, read this first. Sporting goods stores tend to mark up prices.  Here are some alternative companies you should consider.  Read more…

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