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10 top tips to building muscle and strengthening your bones

23 June 2015, 19:16 Anna Rich

So, you know that you have to build muscle and strengthen your bones, but you're just not sure on how to get it going.

Catherine Viljoen, a biokineticist at Virgin Active, gives advice on what you should focus on while getting into an exercise routine:

  • Always warm up with some light cardio or a light set of each exercise before increasing your weights.
  • Lift and lower weights in a controlled manner. If you have to swing to lift and lower them, they are probably too heavy.
  • Breathe. And make sure you use a full range of motion throughout the movement.
  • Engage your core muscles [more on the core later] in every movement to balance and protect your spine.
  • Try do at least two strength sessions of about 30 minutes each per week.
  • Use at least eight different exercises per session, focusing on the major muscle groups.
  • To build muscle and improve strength, use more resistance than your muscles are used to. Increase the number of repetitions you do or lift heavier weights; make it increasingly difficult.
  • You should be lifting enough weight so that you can only complete the desired number of reps. You should be able to finish your last rep with difficulty, but with good form.
  • To avoid plateaus, increase your intensity regularly – weekly or monthly. You can do this by increasing the amount of weight lifted, changing your sets/reps, changing the exercises or changing the type of resistance.
  • Enjoying a well-deserved rest day now and then is just as important as your workouts. The harder you train, the longer your rest period should be.

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