You don’t need to go to the gym to get a great strength training workout. If you are pressed for time, you can use some dumbbells and get it done at home in about 30 minutes. I bought a book called “The Men’s Health Home Workout Bible” to put together a workout for my husband, who I’ve been trying to get to strength train forever… Anyway, I haven’t been quite successful in getting him to commit to strength training workouts twice a week, but I learned a lot that I now use for MYSELF. Most of the basic exercises in this book can be applied for men and women. Below is a list of the exercises I do for each muscle group. I don’t do them ALL in one session – I pick one or two in each group.
- Push-ups : I do the normal variety (off the knees), which challenges me. However, you can lots of other variations if this is too easy (stack your legs, elevated push-ups, staggered hands, etc)
- Bench press : you can do these on a bench or on a ball.
- Fly with dumbbells : again, you can do these on a bench or on a ball.
- One arm row : You can do these with your elbow in or elbow out.
- Reverse fly : you do these lying face down on a bench or ball.
- Pullovers : You can do these with a bar or dumbbells
- Basic squat : You can use heavy dumbbells or a bar
- Lunges : You can do stationary lunges, alternating lunges, or walking lunges… they are all good!
- One leg squats
- Sumo squats : This works your inner thighs.
- Reverse lunges : Focuses more heavily on your hamstrings
- Curtsy lunges : With dumbbells, step back and to the side like you are doing a curtsy, but keep your chest up.
- Upright row
- Shoulder press
- Front raise
- Lateral raise
- Skull crushers
- Tricep dips
- Tricep kickbacks
- Reverse crunch
- Pulse-up : Feet are straight up in the air and arms at your sides, lift your hips a few inches off the ground.
- Basic Crunch
- Oblique crunch
- Russian Twist
Deep Abs/Lower Back
- Side Plank
- Bird Dog : On all fours, one arm goes out as the opposite leg goes out. Hold for two seconds and switch.
Here is how I organize my workout: I pick three different exercises (using different muscle groups) and do 8-12 reps of each. I then rotate through those same exercises two more times, which results in doing 3 sets of each. For example, I might start with 8-12 push-ups, followed by 12 squats, followed by 8-12 tricep dips. I then do those 3 exercises all over again 2 more times. Then I switch to a different set of 3 exercises, like a plank, followed by lunges, followed by bicep curls. And so on… until I hit thirty minutes. If you keep your pace up (i.e. not resting a lot in between exercises), then you will be getting a great cardio workout too.
I’m sure there are other great exercises I could incorporate too… I bet my friend Elizabeth Sherman (personal trainer in Austin) knows plenty of other moves you can do at home with dumbbells or no weights at all. This is a great place to start, though. Adding 2 strength training sessions to each week will ensure that the weight you lose will ALL come from fat, and not from muscle!