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Can I do effective strength training with small weights?

Asked by Becky, Pasco, Washington

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I know that weight training is crucial to losing weight. What are good home exercises to do that fall under "weight training" when you don't have any weights besides 5/10/15-pound hand weights?

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Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi, Becky, I'm glad you asked this question, as weight training, also known as resistance or strength training, is very important for permanent weight loss as well as helping to prevent osteoporosis and minimizing the risk of injury from falls as you age.

Contrary to what many people think, you don't have to go to the gym or have any special equipment to get a good strength training workout. Experts suggest building strength training into your workout regimen at least twice per week, and making sure that you work all major muscle groups including legs, butt, back, chest, shoulders, stomach and arms.

If you don't have time to work all major muscle groups during each workout, you can split them up to fit your schedule.

There are numerous exercise guides and videos that demonstrate easy at-home exercises using light weights such as those you have, exercise bands, or even simply using your own body weight.

If you are really pressed for time, there are also exercises that work several muscle groups at the same time. Check out Strongwomen.com for five great exercises created by Dr. Miriam Nelson, director of the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition and associate professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

For weight loss, you might want to try moving quickly through each exercise group (don't rush the exercises, though) with minimal rest in between sets to keep your heart rate elevated and burn even more calories. In addition, it is important to change up exercises every six to eight weeks to continue making progress as your body becomes more efficient each week and burns fewer calories performing the same exercise.

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