The purpose of this post is to give you low intensity strength training exercises and routines that you can easily work into your fitness routine in the comfort of your own home and with minimal or no equipment requirements. Strength training, at any level, is an essential component to an all around healthy and beneficial fitness routine that will produce results.
I will introduce the five exercises this workout includes and how to execute them. The exercises will be introduced in the order they should be done and each description will include how many sets and repetitions to do of each exercise.
Targets: Chest or Pectoral Muscles
Place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart and fingers facing slightly inward. With feet or knees on the floor, get your body into position and look slightly in front of your hands. Lower toward the floor until your chest is two to four inches away from the floor, then push back up. Remember to keep your abdominals engaged to prevent your hips and low back from dipping down, but also try to keep your backside from sticking up in the air. Knees down will always be easier. Your shoulders, hips and knees should be in a nice straight line, slightly sloped down from the shoulders. If you go for the more difficult variation, with weight on your toes, your body should be in a nice straight line from shoulders to hips to feet. Repeat until you have reached 20. If you are unable to do 20, do as many as you can and try to increase your repetitions every day that you do this exercise. If you start out on your toes, maybe you’ll need to move down to your knees to reach 20. If you start on your knees and can’t make it to 20, you’ll get there! Just keep at it! Try doing three sets of this exercise (meaning 20 repetitions 3 times, resting 30-60 seconds between each set)!
Two Arm Dumbbell Row
Targets: Back Muscles
To perform the Two Arm Dumbbell Row, set up as I am in the picture on the top. I only use 10lb dumbbells for this exercise. You may need more or less. Pick a weight that allows you to perform the exercise with good form but still gives you a burn in your back muscles. If you are using a resistance band, position it under your feet and set up the same way, with each end of the band in both hands. Start with legs shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend over to a 45 degree angle. Focus on sticking your butt out and keeping a nice arch in your lower back while keeping the neck in neutral alignment with the rest of the body. It is also okay to move naturally throughout the exercise, but refrain from any jerking motion. With palms facing towards the body, bring the dumbbells toward your abdomen by squeezing the shoulder blades together. Breathe out as you bring the weights to the abdomen and inhale as you lower them back down. It is very important that you do not round out your lower back as you perform this exercise as this could easily lead to injury. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions of this exercise
Dumbbell Front Raise
Targets: Shoulders or Deltoids Muscles
To execute this exercise, grasp dumbbells in both hands. Position dumbbells in front of upper legs with elbows straight or slightly bent (See picture on top). If you prefer to use a resistance band instead, simply stand on band and grasp each end of the resistance band in each hand. Raise right arm and dumbbell forward and upward until upper arm is at eye level (See picture on bottom). Lower and repeat with left arm. You can do both arms at the same time, if you like, but I prefer alternating between the two. Absolute height of movement may depend on range of motion. Raise should be limited to height achieved just before tightness is felt in the shoulder. Height just above horizontal may be considered adequate. Elbows may be kept straight or slightly bent throughout movement. Make sure to pick a weight that allows you to execute the movement with good form but still feel a little resistance. Do 3 sets of this exercise with 15 repetitions for each arm during each set.
Dumbbell Biceps Curls
Targets: Biceps Muscles
Begin by standing with dumbbells at your side (see picture on top). Raise right arm, rotating palm so it is facing your shoulder (see picture on bottom). Lower arm back down to starting position and repeat with left arm. You may also raise both arms at the same time, if you’d like, but I prefer doing one arm at a time so I can focus on each muscle separately. Picturing your muscles working and squeezing them at the top of your movement helps more than you realize. If you don’t have dumbbells, a resistance band will work for this exercise, as well. Just stand on the resistance band, as we have done for the other exercises, take one end in each arm and follow the same movement. If you are using dumbbells make sure to pick a weight that allows you to execute the movement with good form but still gives you a little resistance. Do 3 sets of this exercise with 15 repetitions for each arm during each set.
Targets: Triceps Muscles
Using a chair, position yourself as I am in the picture on the top. Hands should be placed shoulder-width apart on the chair and should be straight up and down. Lower yourself so that your arms are at a 90 degree angle as seen in the picture on the bottom. You’ll feel like you’re going down further than this so double check to make sure you have taken yourself down deep enough into the dip to get that 90 degree angle. Feel strong through your core while executing this exercise so your posture does not slouch. Do 3 sets of this exercise with 15 repetitions for each set. If this is the first time you’re doing this exercise, it may be difficult to get all 15. NEVER sacrifice form for numbers. Do as many as you can with good form, and as with the other exercises, try to increase every time you do this exercise.
**Do this workout 3 times a week, along with 4 days of Abdominal Workouts**
(See Abdominal Workouts #1 & #2)
This type of low intensity strength training is perfect for someone who is just starting out or for those of us who are doing an intense cardio training program. Remember, NOW is the time to start incorporating a strength training and core workout into your fitness routine. Doing these things, along with cardio and a healthy diet, will have you reaching your goals before you know it!
Good Luck and Stay Focused on your Goals!!!!