Fight Fat Over 40

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Muscle Builder Exercises

Muscle Builder #1: Ease into It

Start with 2- to 3-pound dumbbells and work on the following muscles: your chest, arms, shoulders, upper and lower back, butt, and thighs. For example, do biceps curls, triceps kickbacks, overhead presses, squats, push-ups, bent-over flyes, and stiff-legged dead lifts. Contract each muscle as hard as you can and make smooth, controlled movements. Do two sets of eight to 12 repetitions each for 20 minutes, three days a week. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets. After six weeks you should notice more muscle tone. Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps each, then try increasing to 5-pound weights. Those new to weight training may want to consult a trainer at a local gym or Y, take a class, or get a CD or book on weights for women.

Muscle Builder #2: Full Body Press

Once you've mastered Muscle Builder #1, focus on your upper body two days a week and your lower body two alternating days. Upper-body exercises include shoulder presses, upright rows, overhead triceps extensions, dumbbell lateral raises, bent-over rows, and dumbbell one-arm rows. Lower body: leg extensions, dumbbell lunges, squats, and standing calf raises.

Muscle Builder #3: Building Up

As you get stronger, you need to train harder to progress. Try "supersets" -- pairing exercises that use opposing muscle groups, such as chest and back or thighs and hamstrings: a set of dumbbell squats followed by a set of dumbbell lunges, then a 60-second break; repeat twice. Other combos: two-arm rows and pushups; dumbbell biceps curls with triceps kickbacks; dumbbell shoulder presses and standing calf raises.

Continued on page 3:  Learn to Love Muscle


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