Fitness Articles

This Is Exactly How You Should Strength Train if You Want to Lose Weight

strength train lose weight

PHOTOGRAPH BY SHUTTERSTOCK; AMANDA BECKER

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no WiFi, you probably knowstrength training can help you lean out. But new research from theAmerican College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) explains exactly how to use resistance training to lose weight faster than you would with moderatecardio, like jogging.

As the study author notes, previous research suggests that gaining more muscle will up your metabolism and help you melt fat. Plus, a shorter strength session can be less daunting than, say, an hour on the treadmill, which means you’re more inclined to stick to your workouts in the long haul. And that’s super important when weight loss is your goal.

When to Do It

Research shows that two strength training sessions per week produce similar results as three sessions a week, according to the study. So if you’re new to the workout game, you can aim for two days of strengthening all of your major muscle groups (upper body, lower body, and abs). It’s a manageable schedule that you’ll be less likely to bail on, and you can always add a third sesh once your routine becomes second nature. (Work these moves from Women’s Health’s Look Better Naked DVD into your weight-loss routine.)

 

How Much You Should Lift

American College of Sports Medicine experts recommend starting out by performing each strength-training exercise with 60 to 70 percent of maximum resistance. Translation: You should be able to do the move (with proper form) 10 times. Once 10 reps feel too easy, shoot for 15 reps with the same weight. Once you’ve mastered 15 reps, increase the weightby 5 percent. That means you’d increase eight-pound dumbbells to 12 and your 10-pound dumbbells to 15.

How Much to Do

The study author recommends completing two to four sets of each move, resting for 30 seconds between sets. If you’re not feeling it, though, previous research shows that even one round of each move will give you results, according to the study.

How Much Weight You’ll Lose

Adding resistance training to your routine has been shown to increase lean body weight by one pound per month and decrease fat by one pound per month, which comes out to, uh, zero pounds lost per month. So, don’t depend on the scale to track your progress. Instead, take measurementsor use your clothes as a guide. We’d take a pound of muscle over a pound of fat any day, and if you’re not convinced, these before and after pics should do the trick.

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