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If you knew that a certain type of exercise could benefit your heart, improve your balance, strengthen your bones, and help you lose weight as it made you look and feel better, wouldn't you want to get started? Well, studies show that strength training can do all of that and more. Strength training is not just about bodybuilders lifting weights in a gym. It can benefit people of all ages and may be particularly important for people with health issues such as arthritis or a heart condition.

Strength Training: The Benefits

Yes, strength training will add definition to your muscles and give men and women alike more fit and toned bodies. But working out with weights does so much more:

1. Strength training helps keep the weight off for good.

Not only does strength training aid in shedding pounds, it helps maintain weight loss, too. A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.

Read more: 7 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Workout Routine

Different schools of nutrition argue endlessly about protein. Vegans swear it destroys our kidneys and we're eating far too much. Strength athletes and leangains devotees can't get enough. The government claims 56 grams/day is more than enough for anyone—yet even the most conservative and fat-friendly paleo templates recommend closer to 90 grams. Paleo eaters and omnivores enjoy pointing out that animal protein is "complete", unlike most grain and vegetable proteins, while vegetarians and vegans swear by "protein combining". And just about everyone gets confused when acronyms like BV, NPU, and PDCAAS enter the picture.

What Is Protein, Anyway?

Read more: Dietary Protein 101

Pushing a weight sled is a fantastic workout. It builds total-body strength, burns fat, skyrockets your heart rate, and boosts lower-body power. But for many people who exercise at a commercial gym or at home, there's one big problem: There's no sled.

Luckily, there's a way to get the same benefits of a sled push without the actual sled. It's called the plate push. All you need are weight plates and at least 10 yards of empty space.

Gravity is already keeping the plate down, so you don't need to push the plate into the ground, explains Aaron Kleinwolterink, C.S.C.S. and owner of ARC Performance in Kansas City, Missouri. Instead, you should keep your weight behind the plate, maintain straight arms and a flat back, bend your knees, and drive your feet into the ground. Think of it like a forward-moving mountain climber, he says.

Read more: 5 Fat-Burning Finishers You Must Try at the End of Today’s Workout

The class starts in minutes. You're new at this type of thing. A crowd assembles at the door. Some of them seem to know each other. Wasn't this supposed to be a beginner's class? Why does everyone seem to be talking to each other like they already know what they're doing? Why does everyone have towels that match the color of their Lycra shorts? Why does anyone have a towel at all?

A young boy shows up and says hello to everyone. Oh Good God! It's the instructor. Like sacrificial lemmings, everyone follows him into the room. Shouldn't he still be in school? He looks too young to be in charge of his nighttime routine, let alone instructing a group of people he doesn't know.

You sidle shyly into the room. So that's what an indoor bike looks like! You hadn't been too sure right up to this point. You get on, surprised it doesn't fall over when you mount up.

Of course it doesn't, that's now how it works, it's got feet, you moron!

Read more: Top 34 Indoor Cycling Mistakes (What Are You Doing Wrong?)

The following five ab moves are like circus tricks—they're visually impressive and only fitness freaks can perform them. Go ahead and try them for yourself. If you nail them, you have bragging rights for a lifetime. If you fall short, don't worry: Master the moves by following our trainers' advice.

If these are too hard (and that's likely), refresh your workout with these 25 Awesome Abs Moves today!

Human Flag

Human flag sightings are rare. The reason: Only the fittest of the fit can do it.

"This is the master of all core moves because you have to be strong enough to hold your own weight," says Sam Stauffer, a trainer with Men's Health Thrive in Philadelphia. "Your arms, shoulders, back, and abs are all responsible for holding up your long body."


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