Fitness

Lift Your Spirit

Try our weights workout and watch your strength and confidence soar.

Lift Your Spirit
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Keeping your body in peak condition can build your self–confidence–and not just because you look great. "When you challenge yourself through exercise, you get a real sense of accomplishment and control," says Minna Lessig, a fitness expert in Virginia and author of Tank Top Arms, Bikini Belly, Boy Shorts Bottom (Rodale, 2007). In addition, working out triggers a release of endorphins, brain chemicals that make you feel good. Focus on strength The best confidence–building routines (like the one here, developed by Lessig) combine easier moves with more demanding ones while improving your overall strength. As you do these exercises, use the power of your mind to stay focused. "If the occasional negative or self–defeating thought pops into your head," says Lessig, "recite a positive mantra like 'I am strong and believe in myself' to overcome it.".

Alternating Reverse Lunge
Strengthens hamstrings, buttocks, and quadriceps; improves balance and coordination.


A. Stand with your feet hip– or shoulder–width apart, toes facing forward. Hold a light dumbbell (5 pounds or less) in each hand and rest your arms at your sides, palms facing your outer thighs. (If you're new to strength training, do this move without weights the first few times until you feel comfortable with it.) Contract your abdominals.


B. Step your left foot 3 to 5 feet behind you, landing on the ball of your left foot and keeping your torso tall. As you step back, bend your right knee and lower your right thigh until it's parallel to the ground (or as close to that position as is comfortable). Be sure your right knee doesn't extend past your toes.

C. Using the ball of your left foot, push yourself back to start and repeat, this time stepping back with your right leg to complete one repetition. Continue alternating.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.



Squat
Strengthens hamstrings, buttocks, and quadriceps.


A. Stand with your feet hip– or shoulder–width apart, toes facing forward. Place your hands on your hips or, for more of a challenge, hold a light dumbbell (5 pounds or less) in each hand and rest your arms at your sides, palms facing your outer thighs. Contract your abdominals.


B. Shift your weight to your heels and bend your knees to lower your body slowly toward the ground as if sitting in a chair. Keep your chest lifted, your eyes forward, and your back tall, and make sure your knees don't extend past your toes. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor– or as close to that position as is comfortable.

C. Return to starting position and repeat.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

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