One of the secrets to a faster metabolism? Strength training, which builds firm, lean muscle tissue. Muscles burn more calories than fat at rest, after all. “The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn,” says Denise Klatte, FitnessGlo.com trainer in Los Angeles.
You don’t have to hit the weight room at your local gym or do CrossFit to gain the benefits, though. The following beginner-friendly strength workout designed by Klatte can be done right in your living room with just a pair of dumbbells. Do each exercise in the series once to start. As you get stronger, work your way up to doing the entire series three times, aiming to do the workout three to four times a week.
1 Side-to-Side Twist
Targeted muscles: arms, core
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold one dumbbell in both hands in front of thighs. Pivoting on left foot, rotate body to the right and twist weight to right side of body, keeping weight low. Repeat, this time moving left. Do this 10 times.
2 Dumbbell Squat
Targeted muscles: legs, glutes, back, shoulders, core
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding one dumbbell with both hands by thighs. Lower body toward floor, sitting weight back into heels, until thighs are almost parallel with floor. As you do this, lift weight in front of you to shoulder height. Pressing heels into floor, stand and lower weight to start. Do this 10 times.
3 Lunges With Running Arms
Targeted muscles: core, hips, shoulders
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, hands by sides of body. Step back with left foot about two to three feet, landing on ball of foot, and lower until right thigh is parallel with floor. As you do this, lift left arm in front of you, elbow slightly bent, and extend right elbow back. Return to start, then lift left leg in front of you and switch position with arms so right arm is bent in front of you, left arm extended back. Do this 10 times; switch sides.
4 Bent-Over Row With Calf Raise
Targeted muscles: back, shoulders, calves, arms
Stand with right leg forward, right knee bent at 45-degree angle, and left foot about two feet behind, left leg slightly bent. Place hand on right thigh and hold dumbbell in left hand, arm extended down by side of body. Keeping core engaged and shoulders squared with hips, lift weight alongside body until left elbow is slightly above ribcage. As you do this, lift left heel. Lower arm and heel; do move 10 times. Switch sides.
5 Sumo Squat With Arm Crosses
Targeted muscles: hips, legs, glutes, core, arms
Stand with legs two to three feet apart, feet turned out slightly. Hold dumbbell in each hand, arms extended down in front of body. Lower toward floor, bending knees until thighs are about 45 degrees to floor (if this position is too challenging, don’t lower as deeply). Keeping right elbow by body, bend right elbow and lift right hand toward left shoulder; release and repeat with left arm. Continue alternating right and left 10 times, holding squat the whole time.