It's no secret that regular strength training, combined with the right diet, can help you build bigger muscles. This might give your self-esteem a little boost, but the real benefits of strength training are much more impressive: stronger bones, a reduced risk of injury and even improved sleep.
If you're looking to reap all of these benefits, we'd recommend this 20-minute dumbbell exercise routine from YouTube couple TIFFxDAN. The session will help you build your arms, chest, shoulders and more.
You'll need two pairs of dumbbells for the workout, a lighter and a heavier set. The instructor, Dan, uses 30lb and 15lb dumbbells, but this will be fairly challenging if you're new to strength training. Make sure you read up on what dumbbell weight you should be using before you get started, then follow along with the video below.
How to do the workout
There are three rounds of exercises in this workout. For each exercise, you need to work for 30 seconds, then you'll get a 30 second rest. At the end of each round, you'll be challenged with a one-minute superset, which means performing a set of exercises back-to-back.
If you're an experienced gym-goer, you could try repeating these three rounds to make the workout last for 40 minutes. For an easier option, stick to the 20-minute routine, and adapt exercises like the plank and push-ups by dropping down to your knees.
How it works
Strength training can help with various aspects of physical health, including keeping your bones and joints healthy. But this style of exercise is best-known for its impact on your muscles. Stick to a routine like the one above and you should see the size and strength of your muscles improve, as long as you're eating a healthy diet with adequate amounts of protein.
Lifting weights could help you burn fat, too. Squats, chest presses and plank variations are all good strength training exercises for weight loss, as they engage large muscles in the body. Using these muscles will burn a significant amount of energy, which can increase your calorie usage and help you target fat.
Be warned that intense workouts like the one above can cause delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) the next day . This is caused by tiny muscle tears that happen when you challenge your body. Sounds ominous, but it's actually a good thing, as your muscles will repair themselves and grow back stronger. If you're feeling stiff, follow this routine with some easy beginner yoga stretches, to limber up your body.
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Jack Phillips is a freelance writer based in London, UK. He specializes in fitness, health, and nutrition features, with bylines at Ideal Home, GQ, T3, and others. He has a B.A. in politics and is currently working on a post-graduate diploma in law. In his spare time, he enjoys strength training workouts, running, rowing, and yoga.
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