For a strengthening workout, start with a weight that can be easily lifted 10 times, with the last two repetitions being increasingly difficult. A weight that becomes difficult at eight repetitions has been shown in studies to be an effective stimulus for strengthening and toning muscles. Some people start at 1 to 2 pounds; others start at 15 to 20 pounds. As strength is gained, increase the weight in 1- to 2-pound increments.
Do each lift slowly to get maximum benefit. Aim for 10 minutes, two to three times a week. Studies show that only one set of the exercise is necessary to derive benefit. Doing more sets might fatigue the muscle or defeat the purpose of moderate training. Some good choices for moderate resistance training include:
- Isometric rope
- Elastic bands
- Swim gloves and kickboard using the water as resistance
- Free weights
- Resistance machines
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