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6 Sexy Moves for Weight Training (VIDEO-GIFS)

02/02/2015 09:16 am ET | Updated Apr 04, 2015

Thinking of getting started with strength training and feeling like a Dummy? Don't feel bad--we are all dummies when it comes to something. As the author of many For Dummies books, I know first hand how hard it is to get started. Beginning a strength training program is one of the best decisions you can make for your health, well-being, physical and mental performance. Not only does strength training on a regular basis improve your strength, endurance, and appearance; it also improves your health, quality of living, and longevity. Good news, right? The even better news is that consistent weight training burns fat, reduces stress, manages weight gain, strengthens bones, lowers the risk of injury, and gives you a competitive edge in all aspects of life.

Before you begin strength training, it's important to pick the right amount of weight. The right amount of weight to use depends on what you want to achieve, because it relates to the number of repetitions to perform. To develop strength, do one to six reps. To increase muscle size, do between six to 12 reps. And, to improve endurance, do between 12 and 20 reps. When using free weights which include dumbbells, start out with three to five pounds for women and five to 10 pounds for men. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends doing two or three workouts a week when strength training.

Tip: Using your own body weight provides resistance. The exercises below are done in a lunge position to help engage the lower body along with the upper body.

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Work your arms and shoulders with dumbbell press
The move: Standing in a lunge position, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows and raise your upper arms to shoulder height so the dumbbells are at ear level. Pull your abdominals in as you press the weights up above your shoulders.

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Work your shoulders with lateral raise
The move: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand in a lunge position. Bend your elbows into your sides, and turn your palms toward each other. Pull your abdominals in as you lift your arms up and out to the side until the dumbbells are just below shoulder height. Slowly lower the weights back down.

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Work your shoulders with the front raise
The move: Standing in a lunge position, let your arms hang down to your sides with a dumbbell in each hand. Pull your abdominals in as you bend your elbows and raise your arms up to shoulder height right through the midline of your body. Lower weights back down and repeat.

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Work your triceps with tricep kickbacks
The move: Hold dumbbells in your hands, and stand in a lunge position. Lean forward at the hips until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Bend your elbows so your upper arms are parallel to the floor, and your palms face in. Keep your elbows close to your waist. Pull your abdominals in as you straighten your arms behind you until the end of the dumbbells are pointing down and behind you. Slowly bend your arms to lower the weights.

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Work your butt and legs with outer-leg lifts
The move: Lie on your right side propped up on your elbow with your arm outstretched in front of you on the floor for support. Extend both legs straight. Place your hand with the weight on top of your outer thigh. Bend your elbow. Lift your top leg a few inches off the floor. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, and slowly lower your leg back down. Switch sides and do the same number of repetitions with your left leg.

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Work your legs and inner thighs with inner-thigh lifts
The move: Lie on your right side propped up on your elbow with your arm outstretched in front of you on the floor. Straighten your bottom leg on the floor and bend your top leg. Place your hand with the weight on the inner thigh of your straight leg. As you place the weight on your inner thigh, lift your bottom leg a few inches off the floor. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, and slowly lower your leg back down. Switch sides and do the same number of repetitions with your left leg.

Cardio tip: Add more cardio and resistance to your workouts by holding three-pound weights in your hands when you walk.

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References:
Weight Training FD, 4th Edition, (John Wiley & Sons, Dec. 2014) by LaReine Chabut
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines

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Join LaReine in this 20-minute workout Weight Training For Dummies

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