Be smart — keep dumbbells at home
Cardio is essential for getting rid of excess fat, but that is not the only workout you need to do if you want to get fit.
If you see people with a toned figure, it is most likely that they are also into strength training.
Do not worry if you do not have a gym membership but want to add some definition. Lifting dumbbells will not give you a hefty figure - in fact, it will tone you up in all the right places.
1. Dumbbells can be used for a range of movements
As they can be carried in either hand, they can be used with various arm movements to tone your arms.
Plus, they serve as extra weights for other strength training moves such as squats.
They can be used to work all muscle groups, including arms, chest, legs and glutes, too.
2. They are smaller than gym machines
Dumbbells can easily be stored on a rack for strength training round the clock.
Want to squeeze an express workout before heading off to work? You do not have to wake up 30 minutes earlier for a jog, as 15 minutes of lifting weights ought to get you breaking a sweat too.
3. Dumbbells can be used for targeted muscle groups
They can be used for a wide range of compound movements. You can build a workout circuit with a few moves that target your arms, chest, legs and back.
Dumbbells are also fantastic for carrying out isolated movements in problem areas such as arms or thighs.
4. HIIT yourself out
The preconceived notion with dumbbells is that they can be used only to build muscles for strength training.
If you have lifted weights before, you will know it takes only a few sets of weighted moves to get your heart racing to deliver oxygen to your muscles.
Alternate your workout sets with short resting periods for a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that continues burning fats and calories throughout the day.
5. It accelerates fat loss
Lifting weights also builds lean muscle, which is necessary for increased fat loss as its presence coaxes a higher amount of fat burn. The more the muscles, the more fat your body will burn during resting periods.
6. Increases your bone health
The Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal found that weight-bearing physical activities improve bone density, which is necessary to protect bones from fractures.
7. Improves stabilisation
Lifting a considerable amount of weight requires one to keep a balance in carrying out workout moves with an added weight. It tests your stabilisation, which means you depend a lot on your core.
This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).