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As a woman, how should I do weight training?

"For women, generally the key areas, even more so as we age, are glutes, hamstrings, abs and arms," says personal trainer and competitive figure athlete Kelly Decolati. Luck may be a lady, but to this elite trainer, iron's a sure thing. "Weight training is most beneficial to a woman trying to regain athleticism, plus the obvious boost to self-confidence." 

To focus on those aforementioned key areas, the exercises Decolati has all her female clients perform, whether age 20 or 50, are squats, using a barbell, dumbbells, and/or a Smith machine. From there, clients perform walking lunges with weight.

"Lunges are simply the best," says Decolati.

Arms and shoulders also get high priority. She recommends using supersets, combinations of two exercises done back-to-back without rest. "The shoulder superset I love is front rope raises, followed up with side dumbbell raises. We then move into the mass builder, aka the burpee. My practice is to perform these with heavy -- 10- to 15-pound -- dumbbells. We close out with a decline abdominal combo, push-ups, and dips."

Decolati combines the above into a circuit. In other words, walking lunges (one lap down a hallway) followed by push-ups on a bench, then a set of dips on a bench.

"The concept is to keep moving by stimulating several different muscles and energy systems," says Decolati. "You keep it challenging and stimulating, and achieve results faster." Especially if you follow her advice by weight training at least twice weekly. "Optimally, three times," she advises.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.