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Weight Training for Women of all ages, shapes and sizes

Weight Training for Women is often thought of as something to be avoided because of fear of bulking up. It is true that when strength training is included in a fitness program for women we are going to gain some muscle mass. But, it is what we really need as we replace body fat with lean muscle which helps to strengthen our core core muscles and tone our body. This however is only one benefit of including weight training routines in women’s fitness programs!

Apart from looking great when body fat is replaced with lean muscle and we say goodbye to flabby arms and spare tires, there are other important benefits to be gained with weight training for women! Working our abs alone is not enough to get rid of that tummy bulge. We need a good balanced set of exercises, including core strength and flexibility training to achieve the best long term results.Here are the reasons why I am a firm believer in strength training for women of all ages.

1. Increase bone density. After age 30 a woman's body starts to produce less estrogen which is the key for strong bones. This will, over a period of time, cause your bones to become very brittle and there is a big risk of osteoporosis as we get older. That is, unless we take action before it is too late. Adding regular weight training routines in a fitness program will prevent this from happening. It will create lean muscle mass which in turn will strengthen your bones. Action taken today can help you in the future. So by doing some regular resistance training women can decrease the risk of age related problems such as broken hips.

2. Increase Strength. If you replace body fat with lean muscle you are obviously going to gain strength at the same time. This increased strength will make any woman feel more confident. Just think who you would feel when you no longer have to ask your son to lift that suitcase for you.

3. Say goodbye to Flabby Arms. Replacing body fat with muscle takes a lot of energy. As you train your body will use stored body fat to provide this energy. What do you think the result is? As your excess body fat is used up your lean muscle mass increases and you can say good bye to those flabby arms and that spare tire that until now just wouldn’t shift.

4. Increased Confidence! The effort put into your core strength and weight training routines will make you look and feel great. Regular workouts will keep that body fat off permanently and your self esteem will bounce way back up again.

5. Look years younger! Physical exercise has been proven to slow the aging process. Studies by scientists at the University of California have found that exercising for one hour a day for 12 weeks was enough to turn the clock back nearly two decades for women in their 50s

by Elizabeth Todd


Crunch Variations for An  All-Around  Ab Program

It’s really hard to overtrain your abdominal muscles since you use them all day in twisting, turning, and other torso movements. So your abdominal muscles can be worked 4-7 times per week. Studies have shown that using a variety of crunching exercises is the best workout for the abdominal muscles. Do the 10 Crunch Variations listed below and you’ll have an all-around abdominals program.

Do 1-2 sets of 10 repetitions for each of the 10 crunches and you’ll hit every abdominal muscle. Remember to focus on proper form and the intensity of the exercise instead of the number of repetitions or sets. You will definitely feel a "burn" in the abdominal muscles on each set. Keeping your arms crossed on your chest with your hands on the opposite shoulder, you should lift only your head and shoulders up off the floor. This technique will not cause the typical pain in your neck or back.

1. Knees bent, feet flat on floor
2. Knees bent and out to sides in a frog-leg position, soles of feet flat together
3. Legs at 90o to body, knees bent, calves parallel to floor
4. Legs at 90o to body, knees bent and out to sides in a frog-leg position, soles of feet flat together
5. Legs at 90o to body, toes pointing to ceiling
6. Legs at 90o to body, toes pointing to ceiling with legs spread wide
7. Left leg straight and held 3” off ground, right leg bent to chest
8. Right leg straight and held 3” off ground, left leg bent to chest
9. Turn on left side, do side crunches
10. Turn on right side, do side crunches

by Jerry Ryan, Ph.D.

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