The Role of Strength Training in Fat Loss:
Strength training for fat loss is one of the most effective ways to lose body fat. There are many reasons why it works so well, but there are two main ones which have been proven time and again. First, strength training helps you burn calories while you sleep! That’s right, when your muscles are strong enough they don’t need as much energy from oxygen to perform their job properly.
When you lift weights, your heart rate increases and blood flow to your muscles increase. Your body then burns up those extra calories during the rest of the day. You’ll probably notice that after a few weeks of doing just this, you feel like a different person than before. This is because all the hard work you put into getting stronger has made you better overall!
Second, strength training builds muscle mass! Muscle mass means more muscle and less fat! By building up your muscles, you’re going to look better and feel better too! If you want to get rid of belly fat, then strength training is definitely the way to go.
What Is Strength Training For Fat Loss?
There are several types of exercises that can be used for strength training for fat loss. These include:
Weighted Dips – This exercise involves holding a dip belt or dumbbell in place while you pull them upward with both hands. This exercise can be performed anywhere and doesn’t require any special equipment.
If you want to make this exercise easier or harder, simply hold a dumbbell in each hand or wear a dip belt around your waist. Begin by holding the parallel bars, kneeling or standing with your arms extended over your head. Bend at the elbows and lower your body as far as you can, then push back up. This exercise mainly works your triceps, but also gives your chest and shoulders a great workout as well.
Weighted Pull-Ups – Like the weighted dips exercise, this one involves holding a dumbbell in place while you perform the exercise. To perform this exercise, find a pull-up bar or somewhere you can hang from so that your arms are fully extended in front of you. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hang from the bar so that your arms are fully extended. You can also use a dip belt and simply hang from it with your arms extended.
This’ll allow you to extend your legs and hang completely straight so that you can easily distinguish your forearms from your biceps when beginning the exercise.
Begin by pulling yourself up until your chin rises above the bar, then lower yourself back down. Try to do 3 sets of pull-ups and see if you can increase the weight by at least 5 pounds each week. This exercise mainly works your lats, but it also works your biceps and forearms quite a bit as well.
Weighted Sit-Ups – To perform this exercise, you’ll need to find somewhere around 20 pounds of weight to hold in your lap while you sit up. If you have access to a weighted lap pad or something of the sort, you can place it over your regular weight cot. If not, you can try using a few dumbbells or something similar and place them around your midsection so that they don’t roll off.
Begin by lying down on the ground with your legs extended and your hands behind your head. Contract your core and sit up while curling your head down towards your knees. Make sure that you don’t use your legs to help you out at all, this is entirely a core exercise. Lower yourself down slowly and repeat.
Try to perform 3 sets of 20 reps and increase the weight each week. This exercise mainly works your rectus abdominis, but also works your obliques as well.
Weighted Step-Ups – This is a simple exercise that can be done anywhere as long as you have a bench of some sort to perform them on. If you don’t have access to a bench, simply find anything about knee high to place your foot on like a book or brick. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand in front of the bench with one foot on it and the other on the ground.
Bend the knee of your standing leg and pull it up slightly to steady yourself if needed, then push with that leg to step up onto the bench. Once your foot is on the bench, flex your quadriceps and push back down until your foot is back on the ground. Perform reps until you’ve completed your set number, then change legs and repeat. This mainly works your quadriceps, but also gives your calves and hips a bit of work as well.
Weighted Lunges – Find a relatively flat, solid surface to perform this exercise. It can be done outside or inside a house or apartment as long as the surface isn’t too uneven. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
Without letting your upper body move at all, take a large step forward with one leg and lower yourself until that knee almost touches the ground. Go back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. Perform reps until you’ve completed your set number. This will work your quadriceps, but also works your glutes as well.
Hanging Leg Raises – Find something to grip that’s just out of reach so that when you hang from it you’re able to extend your legs completely straight. The top of a door frame works well for this, or you can hang from the bars of a pull-up bar that’s situated about waist high on the door.
Raise your legs up as far as you can, then lower yourself down. Try to do 3 sets of 15 reps and increase the number of reps each week. This mainly works your abdominals, but also works your lower back to a slight degree as well.
Plank – Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up onto your forearms and toes. Make sure that your body is in a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position as long as you can. This mainly works your abdominals, but also works your lower back to a small degree as well.
Sprinting – Find somewhere outside where you can Sprint for 30 seconds and then walk at a fast pace for 90 seconds. Repeat this until you’ve completed about 20 minutes of total walking/sprinting. This will work your entire body, but really works most of your body because of all the energy that’s expended during sprinting.
Sources & references used in this article:
The role of diet and exercise for the maintenance of fat-free mass and resting metabolic rate during weight loss by P Stiegler, A Cunliffe – Sports medicine, 2006 – Springer
ACSM strength training guidelines: Role in body composition and health enhancement by W Westcott – ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 2009 – journals.lww.com
Strength training as a countermeasure to aging muscle and chronic disease by BF Hurley, ED Hanson, AK Sheaff – Sports medicine, 2011 – Springer
Strength training in the elderly by BF Hurley, SM Roth – Sports Medicine, 2000 – Springer