It’s common for men to spend more time working out their upper body, then that of their lower. For women however, it is often the opposite. Spending more time working out their lower body (legs) then their upper body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should be performing muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
This doesn’t just mean more time on the stair master or ab-crunch machine. These activities should cover ALL of your major muscle groups, including your hips, arms, shoulders, back, chest, abdomen and legs. Can you honestly say you are covering all the bases?
I’ll be the first to say I’m not!
According to Federal data, it’s quite common. In fact, only 18.2% of women reach the two recommended types of physical activity (aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities). However, among women aged 25 to 64, 49% of those are getting enough aerobic activity each week. This includes performing at least 75 minutes of an intense aerobic activity (i.e. jogging or running) or 150 minutes of a moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e. walking).
The data suggests women (and men) aren’t doing enough muscle-strengthening exercises to meet the recommended minimum (twice a week). I think it’s time for both sexes to take a page out of one another’s book. It’s time to start exploring that uncharted area of the gym; you know, the one with all those barbells.
But before images of The Incredible Hulk flash across your mind, you should know building and toning muscle is a gradual process, and unless you are taking steroids or have been struck with gamma rays, you aren’t going to look his female counterpart anytime soon.
In fact, as Chris Muir from the Lean Muscle Project points out, lean muscle takes up 18% less space than fat does. This means that by being more toned, you will have a stronger and tighter body.
If that’s not a big enough reason to hit the weights, according to Stuart Phillips from the McMaster University in Hamilton, it can also lower the risk of type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Moreover, it can also assist with mobility, which becomes particularly important in the later stages of our life, governing our ability to carry out daily tasks and live independently. Resistance training can potentially reduce the amount of time we are required to live out our final years in institutional care.
The only catch is you need to start adding strength exercises to your weekly workout routine. Below is our two-day strengthening workout plan, where you can start training with weights to stay strong, lean, fit and ultimately meet those minimum guidelines for a healthy life.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to add more weight. If you can easily complete a set, then up the amount of weight you are lifting. Alternatively, you can also up the amount of reps or sets performed.
Day 1 – Duration: 45 minutes
Burpees – 3 sets / 10 reps
Clean & Jerk – 3 sets / 6 reps
Crunches – 2 sets / 8 reps
Side Crunches – 2 sets / 8 reps
Bicep Curls – 3 sets / 8 reps
Day 2 – Duration: 45 minutes
Squats – 3 sets / 6 reps
Assisted Chin Ups – 3 sets / 8 reps
Calf Raises – 3 sets / 10 reps
Dumbbell Around The World – 3 sets / 8 reps