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Strength-Training Tips

For best results, pay close attention to these five details.

1. Pace

Draw out the positive phase of each exercise (lifting or pushing) for 4 seconds, and the negative phase (lowering or resisting the weight) for 6 seconds. Do each move without stopping for 2 minutes, but if your muscles give out sooner, rest for a few seconds and continue for the remaining time.

2. Weight

Even small dumbbells can get very heavy when you're lifting and lowering so deliberately. Start with 3- or 5-pound weights in the moves that call for them.

3. Mindfulness

Concentrate on the muscle you're working to ensure you're taking it through the full range of motion.

4. Posture

Practice "exaggerated perfect posture," says Mincieli. For most moves, this means abs tight, shoulders back, and chest high.

5. Breathing

To help maintain your rhythm, exhale during the positive phase and inhale during the negative. Don't hold your breath -- this can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to spike, leading to lightheadedness and even fainting.

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