Four Killer Moves to Strengthen All Your Muscles
When you’re trying to lose weight, your fitness regime may revolve around cardiovascular exercise, but strength training is important for your wellness too. Not only does building strength help you to shed fat, but it also gives you a sleeker, more toned body and boosts your calorie burn all day long. To lose weight and take care of your wellbeing – without bulking up like The Hulk – you need a tailored workout that calls on every one of your muscles. Fitness expert Keli Roberts explains you need to target each of your muscles so that ‘your body burns more calories than if it were doing a single-focus exercise like biceps curls.’ We’ve got some killer moves that can shape your muscles, improve your posture, and build your core – especially if you pair them with a cardio plan and healthful diet.
1. Alternating overhead squat: This one is great for your legs, core and shoulders. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Squat down and press your hips back, making sure that you keep your spine lengthened and core engaged as you do so. At the same time, reach towards the floor with one dumbbell, and press the other one overhead. Finally, return to your starting position and repeat with the opposite arm. That is one rep. You should aim to do two or three sets of eight to 15 reps.
2. Lunge row and press: Again, if you’re looking to strengthen your legs, core, back and shoulders, this is the exercise for you. Standing with your feet together, hold a weight in your right hand, up by your shoulder with your elbow bent. Then, lunge forward with your left leg, bending your knees while you rotate your torso and lower your weight down towards your left ankle. Return to the starting position by pushing off your left foot and pulling your hand back to shoulder height. Finish off the exercise by pushing the dumbbell straight up, and returning to the starting position once more. Do eight to 12 reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat. You should try for two to three sets of this exercise.
3. Bird dog: The bird dog is ideal for toning your upper back, bum and core. You start on all fours. Then – remembering to keep your abs engaged – you need to lift your right arm and left leg so that they’re in line with your torso, reaching the hand and foot away from each other. Keeping your belly from sagging, hold this position for a moment and then return to starting position. To complete the rep, repeat the exercise with your opposite arm and leg. Aim for two to three sets of eight to 15 reps.
4. Alternating dumbbell fly: When it comes to strengthening your chest and core, the alternating dumbbell fly is your new best friend. Start by lying on your back with your legs lifted and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. You should also be holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your hands directly over your chest, palms facing each other and elbows slightly rounded – it should like as though you’re hugging a tree. Then, slowly lower the dumbbell in your left hand to the side, exhaling and bracing your abs as you do so – this prevents the opposite shoulder from lifting. While you make this movement, you should not move your torso. Keeping the elbow soft, bring the hand back to starting position and, to complete the rep, repeat with the opposite arm. Do two to three sets of 12 reps.