Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no WiFi, you probably know strength training can help you lean out. But new research from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) explains exactly how to use resistance training to lose weight faster than you would with moderate cardio, like jogging.
As the study author notes, previous research suggests that gaining more muscle will up your metabolism and help you melt fat. Plus, a shorter strength session can be less daunting than, say, an hour on the treadmill, which means you’re more inclined to stick to your workouts in the long haul. And that’s super important when weight loss is your goal.
Try this total-body strength training routine during your two or three workouts a week or use some of the moves from this video:
How Much You Should Lift
American College of Sports Medicine experts recommend starting out by performing each strength-training exercise with 60 to 70 percent of maximum resistance. Translation: You should be able to do the move (with proper form) 10 times. Once 10 reps feel too easy, shoot for 15 reps with the same weight. Once you’ve mastered 15 reps, increase the weight by 5 percent. That means you’d increase eight-pound dumbbells to 12 and your 10-pound dumbbells to 15.
How Much to Do
The study author recommends completing two to four sets of each move, resting for 30 seconds between sets. If you’re not feeling it, though, previous research shows that even one round of each move will give you results, according to the study.
How Much Weight You’ll Lose
Adding resistance training to your routine has been shown to increase lean body weight by one pound per month and decrease fat by one pound per month, which comes out to, uh, zero pounds lost per month. So, don’t depend on the scale to track your progress. Instead, take measurements or use your clothes as a guide. We’d take a pound of muscle over a pound of fat any day, and if you’re not convinced, these before and after pics should do the trick.