Strength Training for Obese Women

Use dumbbells to intensify your strength-training routine.
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According to the Weight-Control Information Network, more than 35 percent of women over age 20 are obese in the United States. Obesity is a serious problem that contributes to dangerous health conditions such as coronary heart disease, menstrual irregularities, type 2 diabetes and pregnancy complications. Doing three strength training sessions a week is one way to help combat obesity. As you develop more muscle, your body is able to burn more calories. Strength training also increases bone density, reduces your risk of injury and increases your stamina, which can lead to even more weight loss.

    Step 1

    Warm up your body before you attempt any strength-training exercises. Try jogging or walking for five minutes, followed by lunges or arm circles to prepare your muscles for training and reduce your risk of injury.

    Step 2

    Learn the proper technique and form of each strength-training exercise before you try it, especially if you are inexperienced with weights. Consider asking a professional or going to a personal trainer for one or two sessions.

    Step 3

    Work your legs and butt by doing an exercise such as a squat. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and sit back as if you are sitting in a chair. Hold onto the back of a chair if you need extra stabilization and to be sure that your knees never go over your toes. Return to the starting position and repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 squats.

    Step 4

    Strengthen the muscles of the chest, arms and abdominals with pushups. Position yourself on your hands and knees with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. From here, either lift your knees so you're in a plank position or keep your knees bent and move your hands forward slightly so your body is in a straight line from shoulders to knees for a modified pushup. Slowly bend your elbows and bring your body as close to the floor as you can. Straighten your arms and push yourself back into the starting position. Repeat nine times and continue for two more sets if possible.

    Step 5

    A shoulder shrug exercise works the muscles of the back. Stand while holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Exhale and lift your shoulders upward as if you are shrugging. Inhale and slowly lower your shoulders. Return to the starting position and repeat 12 times.

    Step 6

    Stretch out the muscles that you worked after your workout. Try a stretch like the seated side-straddle, where you sit with your legs slightly apart, toes pointed upward. Slowly bend to the side and reach your elbow toward your thigh or the floor. Hold for 15 seconds, and then bend to the opposite side.


    • Complete each exercise slowly with proper form. For best results, be sure to contract your muscles as you exercise.


    • Get your doctor’s approval before you start any strength training routine. Never train too fast or too hard, but stay at a pace that's appropriate to your fitness level.

    Things You'll Need

    • Free weights

    • Chair

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