Alongside a sensible diet, sport is an essential part of successful weight loss. Fitness coach Silke Kayadelen reveals why it makes sense to focus on strength training.
In some places, pure endurance training in the so-called fat-burning range is still recommended for weight reduction: One should run, bike, etc. for at least 20 minutes, as slowly as possible – with a pulse rate between 110 and 130, that the old credo.
Today, we know that fat burning is activated during sports sessions right at the beginning of the workout and not after 20 minutes. On the subject of pulse rate: Moderate intensities do indeed extract more energy from body fat in percentage terms. The bottom line is that at high intensities you have a much higher total energy consumption – and therefore also a higher fat consumption.
To lose weight healthily and keep it off, muscle building is just as important as regular endurance training – for women as well as for men.
Important: Do mainly complex exercises that require a high percentage of muscle mass – these provide good growth stimuli, regardless of whether you train using the classic method or eccentrically with resistance. Pilates, targeted courses in the gym, or small feats of strength in everyday life also make you strong.
This is why you should focus on strength training
Strength training rejuvenates, reduces body fat, promotes fat loss, and shapes the entire musculature. It’s also convenient to do at home or in the gym on machines and dumbbells and is suitable for all ages.
After just a few training sessions, the exercises become increasingly easier and you notice how muscles grow, how posture improves, and how your body image changes.
In addition, muscles easily justify a little more on the scale, because they weigh more than fat. However, each extra kilo of muscle mass burns an additional 100 calories a day – even at rest. By improving inter- and intramuscular coordination, the body is also able to move more efficiently.
Be sure to pay attention to posture during strength training
During exercises, pull your shoulders down, away from your ears. The head is always directly above the torso in the extension of the spine. Try to keep your pelvis in a neutral position, i.e. do not tilt backward into a hollow back.
Draw the belly button inward toward the spine, keeping the knees loose. Open your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward. Squeeze the buttocks tightly and make sure to do each exercise slowly and without momentum.
Each movement should be done deliberately and correctly. Take a break if you notice that you are getting sloppy and the exercise is becoming too strenuous.
Strength training: Heavyweights or many repetitions?
If you don’t want to have thick muscle packages, train with small weights and many repetitions. Women don’t need to be afraid of Schwarzenegger’s arms anyway, because the prerequisite for a large muscle gain is a high testosterone level – which women generally don’t have – and training with heavy weights.
For beginners, one round per exercise with about twelve repetitions is enough. Start with two 20-minute workouts per week. After about three months, you can and should increase the intensity to provide the muscles with a new stimulus threshold and continue to make progress.
Muscle building: training & tips
With the workout, you train strength endurance to tone the body, increase cardiovascular and fat burning, and improve coordination between different muscle groups. The percentages of resistance in the exercises refer to your maximum strength capacity (MK).
- Workouts per week: at the beginning 2, later 3 training days
- Number of exercises: 6 to 10; 1 to 2 exercises for each muscle group
- Load range, intensity, and duration: 15 to 25 repetitions per exercise; 30 to 50 percent MK. 1 to 2, later 2 to 4 rounds each time. Rest 30 seconds between runs and after each exercise.
- Workout content: Running, biking, and swimming sessions combined with fitness strength training: push-ups, squats, pull-ups, burpees, plank variations, plyo exercises, and dips.
- Beginners: two sessions of endurance training per week (at least 30 minutes each), bodyweight training on two other days (20 minutes). Do the exercises at full throttle for 20 to 30 seconds, then pause for the same amount of time. Two to three sets per exercise.
- Advanced: two sessions of endurance training per week (duration: at least 45 minutes), on three other days bodyweight training for 30 to 45 minutes. During the exercises, you go full throttle for 30 to 60 seconds, then take a 30-second break. Three to four repetitions per exercise.
Here’s what you should look for in strength training
- Regularity: spread out your workouts over several days, don’t try to do it all in one day.
Increase: Beginners achieve training success very quickly. Increase the load in training with your performance.
- After six to eight weeks, change the training intensity from day to day. For example, you can use Tabata workouts on one or two bodyweight days: Here, you give 20 seconds of full power per exercise, with a rest period of 10 seconds between intervals (eight per exercise). So each exercise lasts a total of four minutes. Occasionally incorporate trends such as functional training or sling training.
- Take breaks: Muscle building and fat burning do not happen during training, but in the phases in between. Therefore, take at least 24 hours of rest per muscle group.
- Vary: Very important to achieve the desired results is variety in the training plan. Do not only alternate between endurance and strength training but also train the same muscle group with different equipment.
- First repetition, then increase intensity: To avoid incorrect execution and injuries, train with light weights first and then increase the intensity with increasingly safe execution.
- Strength before endurance: If you want to train strength and endurance in one day, do the muscle workout first and then train your endurance.
- Large muscle groups first: Train your large muscles first and then the smaller ones, because the larger the muscle, the more energy is burned.