Turn Up the Resistance


When you finally take the plunge and add resistance training to your cardio workouts, you’ll burn more calories over a longer period of time than if you hadn’t. The good news: You don’t need to join a gym to get resistance! You can start with just your own bodyweight.
    
Studies show that when you add bodyweight exercises to an exercise program, you improve muscle function and strength. Bodyweight exercises are just that: those that use your own body weight for resistance. These include sit-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats, and leg raises, just to name few. Keep in mind too, any bodyweight exercises can also be modified for resistance and experience levels.
    
Take pushups for example: For beginners, you can start on your knees, making sure your back is straight and your rear is in line (no butts in the air!). Intermediates can go all the way out on your toes with your back in line. Need more resistance? Try it with one foot on top of the other, or with only one hand. Better yet, try it on a decline with your feet on a chair or stability ball.
    
But won’t resistance exercises get you all “bulky” when you really just want to be lean? Not at all! Personal trainers agree that resistance is crucial for strength training, but when you keep your repetitions in the 12 to 15 range, you’re setting your body up to build lean muscle mass. If you want to bulk up, keep your reps between 5 and 10 and increase the resistance or weight.