12 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

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Popular in Health & Family

Basic Free Weight Workout

Lose weight and gain muscle with simple strength-building exercises you can do at home.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Muscle added by strength training speeds metabolism, turning your body into a calorie-burning machine. Strength training also increases endurance, improves posture, strengthens bones, and cuts your risk of injury -- all good reasons to add strength training to your exercise program.

      The average 130-pound woman who lifts weights burns up to 250 extra calories per day, according to Gary Hunter, exercise physiologist and professor of human studies at the University of Alabama. To start your own weight-training program, all you need are some simple handheld weights, comfortable clothes, supportive shoes, and a few simple exercises. Remember to consult your doctor before you begin any exercise program.

    • Biceps Curl

      A. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. With a weight in each hand, let your arms hang down; face your palms forward.

      B. Keeping your elbows close to your body, bend your arms and bring the weights up to your chest, squeezing your biceps muscles. Then straighten your arms, returning them to the starting position. Repeat eight to 12 times.

    • Triceps Kickback

      A. Place your right knee and right hand on a chair; slightly bend your left leg. Holding a weight in your left hand, bend your left arm at a 90-degree angle and press your left elbow to your side; the weight should be parallel to the floor.

      B. Keeping your elbow in place, straighten your left arm, being careful not to lock your elbow. Then bend your arm, returning it to the starting position. Repeat eight to 12 times, then switch sides and repeat.

    • Forward Raise

      A. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. With a weight in each hand, let your arms hang down; turn your palms to face the fronts of your thighs.

      B. Keeping your arms straight, lift your arms until they are level with your shoulders. Hold for a second or two, then lower your arms, returning them to the starting position. Repeat 12-15 times. If this is too difficult at first, do one arm at a time.

    • Pec Fly

      A. Lie on your back on a pillow with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. With a weight in each hand, your elbows slightly bent, and your palms facing in, extend both arms up over your chest.

      B. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, slowly lower your arms to the sides until your elbows are just below your shoulders. Slowly bring your arms back up to the starting position. Do this exercise 15 times. Once you improve, add more weight.

    • Bent Row

      A. Place your right knee and right hand on a chair; slightly bend your left leg. Holding a weight in your left hand, let your left arm hang straight down.

      B. Keeping your back flat, pull your left elbow up, bending your arm at a 90-degree angle and squeezing your shoulder blade. (Imagine that you are trying to start a lawn mower.) Slowly straighten your arm, returning it to the starting position. Repeat eight to 12 times, then switch sides and repeat.

    • Squat

      A. Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. With a weight in each hand, let your arms fall naturally to your sides.

      B. Keeping your back flat, bend your knees and lower your buttocks as if you were going to sit on a chair. Then straighten your knees, returning to the starting position. Make sure your knees aren't blocking your view of your toes; if they are, shift your weight back some. Repeat eight to 12 times.

      Caution: Lower your buttocks only until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor.

    • Lunge

      A. Stand with a weight in each hand and your arms hanging naturally at your sides. Step forward about 30 inches with your left foot and place it flat on the floor; raise up on the toes of your right foot.

      B. Bend your left knee until your left thigh is almost parallel to the floor, making sure your left knee is not in front of your left foot. Push up and back with your left leg until your feet are in the starting position. Repeat eight to 12 times on each leg, alternating legs, if desired.

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      Next Slideshow 10 Minute Workout to Toned Abs, Legs and Arms

      10 Minute Workout to Toned Abs, Legs and Arms

      These multitasking moves from our sister magazine Fitness will tone your abs, legs, and upper arms. Jonathan Ross, owner of Aion Fitness in Bowie, Maryland, shows you five quick exercises perfect for busy schedules. Grab a pair of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells and a mat, and get ready to trim, tighten and tone.
      Begin Slideshow »

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