Right kind of workout tones body

News for women wary of weights: the right kind of workout will tone your body. And no, it will not give you muscles.

health and fitness Updated: Jun 18, 2011 19:10 IST
Yashica Dutt
Yashica Dutt
Hindustan Times

Getting a gym membership today is as essential as being seen at the right places, wearing the right brands and driving the right car. It determines your hip quotient, though how many people actually visit the gym regularly makes for another story. But if you are a health (read figure) conscious woman who gyms regularly, then you’ll have probably worried about this at some point: Developing muscles when you’re in fact working to build a toned, lean physique. You’ve wondered whether to include weight training at all in your routine.

Althea Shah, vice president, marketing, Gold’s Gym, says that it’s not so easy for women to build up muscle due to the negligible presence of the male hormone testosterone. It takes years of working out to achieve muscles. But that doesn’t mean you should exclude weight training from the routine, because it does help build strength and muscular endurance. “Strength training increases bone density and builds strong joints and supporting tissues. One must select a programme that consists of lower weight and higher repetitions to tone and firm the muscles,” she says. However, muscle training needs to be done correctly, especially when it comes to women (due to their fragile structures). We spoke to Pankaj Chandila, assistant fitness manager, Fitness First, to recommend the right way to do this.

When going down, keep the entire body weight on your heels and keep the core tight to generate strength

Skull Crusher
While lying down facing upwards on a mat, lift a barbell so that it’s parallel to the elbows. Keeping your hands absolutely straight in a line bring it slowly towards the skull. Ensure that only the back of the upper arms are used to pull and push the barbell. Repeat in a set of 10-12.
Muscles Used: Triceps

Trainer’s Tip
Ensure that you hold the barbell parallel to the shoulders and don’t move your hands to the edges do not keep the weight on the neck but only on shoulders do Not create anything but a 90 degree angle with hips, legs and knees

Barbell Squats
Choose a weight that you could easily lift on your shoulders without being overburdened. Keep the posture erect with feet spread at the width of the shoulders. Bend knees forward and push your hips back, like sitting on a couch. Drop the body till the knees and hips make a 90 degree angle, while keeping the knees parallel to the toes. Repeat 10-12 times.

Muscles Used: Legs, quadriceps, gluts
Do Not keep the elbows and upper arms tilted while moving the barbell do not raise hips or back while performing the sets

Trainer’s Tip
When going down, keep the entire body weight on your heels and keep the core tight to generate strength

Lunges with Dumbbells
Place one foot forward while keeping the balance of the body in the centre and holding the dumbbells in each hand. Drop down on the knee while keeping the body in a straight line, stopping a few inches above the floor level. Make sure to not lean forward, keep a straight spine and position the knee right above the foot. Rise up and repeat with the other leg completing a set of 10-12 reps.
Muscles Used: Quadriceps and gluts

Trainer’s Tip
Keep the body straight. And the distance between the two feet should be enough for you to bend comfortably
Do not bend forward as you push your body downward
Do not lift your knees higher. Your legs should make a 90 degree angle with the thighs

- From HT Brunch, June 19

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First Published: Jun 17, 2011 18:48 IST