This is a guest post from Ben.
It’s well known that the faster your metabolic rate (the rate you burn calories), the easier it is to stay in shape. What’s perhaps less well known is that boosting muscle mass helps boost your metabolism.
This is because muscle burns more calories than fat – up to 50 calories per pound per day in fact. So, the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate becomes and the more calories you burn.
This doesn’t mean you need to look like Arnie. Rather, it’s a case of turning flab into muscle. Toning muscle will help boost your metabolism just as effectively as bulking up. So, to boost your muscle mass and increase your metabolism, try completing sets of these simple exercises.
Press-ups build the pectoral (chest) muscles, triceps and anterior deltoids (front of the shoulder). To properly perform a press up, lie face down on the floor, then raise your body so you’re taking your weight on both hands and feet. (Your arms should be straight but don’t lock your elbows). Keeping your back straight, lower yourself toward the ground until your elbows form right-angles, then raise yourself to the starting position again using your arms.
This exercise targets the bicep muscles between your elbow and shoulder. With an underhand grip, hold a pair of dumbbell weights down by your thighs. Slowly curl the dumbbells towards your chest as far as you can without moving your upper arms. Pause, then lower the weights to the starting position.
A bench is needed for this exercise, which is designed to strengthen the triceps, the muscles on the back of the arm between the elbow and shoulder. Sit on the edge of the bench gripping it either side of you. Slide your bottom off the bench, keeping your feet together and legs straight out in front of you. Keeping your back upright, slowly lower your body straight down, then press back up. All the weight should be in your arms with your elbows pointing back.
This dumbbell exercise works the deltoid (shoulder) muscles. Hold the dumbbells on either side of your shoulders with elbows below wrists. Push dumbbells upwards until arms are extended overhead (do not lock elbows). Lower the weights to the sides of your shoulders and repeat.
Lunges help strengthen the quadriceps, gluteal and hamstring muscles in your legs. Stand with your feet together. Step forward with one foot and shift your body weight onto this front foot. Gently lower your body until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Firmly push off with the front leg and return to the starting position.
Warming up and cooling down is an essential part of any workout routine to help protect muscles but joints also take an impact when using weights. To help protect joints consider taking a glucosamine supplement. This sugar compound is naturally present in joints and helps with flexibility.
Photo by: greg westfall.
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