The many benefits of strength training are proven and well-documented. Primarily, it offers you a leaner physique because of the excellent workout you get, burning excess calories. Second, it gives you overall better health as a total body workout. Third, you get a stronger body that can function with less effort as you do everyday activities. So in other words, you will look better, feel better, and perform things with much greater ease.
There are numerous routines to choose from and there is one that fits any age and fitness level. Strength training workouts are always good to invest in because as we age, we naturally lose muscle mass and strength. Strength training avoids this natural decline in physical power, and at time even reverses it. Never look at strength training as a waste of time, but rather as time well spent investing in a leaner, healthier and stronger body. If you find it tedious or expensive to go to a gym, strength training at home can also be an alternative, which countless numbers of people often opt for. Let’s take a look at some strength training routines you can start doing immediately.
The dumbbell lunge works the quads, calves, glutes as well as hamstrings. It is a compound movement that offers a lot of practical strength, such as when you climb up a flight of stairs. You can vary the difficulty of this exercise by adjusting the weight you choose to carry, or by doing variations of the lunge, which are many. Here is the basic move from bodybuilding.com.
1. Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides. This will be your starting position.
2. Step forward with your right leg around 2 feet or so from the foot being left stationary behind and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Inhale as you go down. Note: As in the other exercises, do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint. Make sure that you keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.
3. Using mainly the heel of your foot, push up and go back to the starting position as you exhale.
4. Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform with the left leg.
This movement takes a good deal of balance, so if you have issues with that, it would be advisable that you start doing this with just your bodyweight, and progress slowly adding light weights.
Dumbbell Bench Press
The dumbbell bench press is superior to the barbell bench press since the arms have to solicit the use of stabilizer muscles to balance the dumbbell on each arm. Dumbbells are also more versatile and are easier to keep at home, in case you intend to do this exercise where you live. Here is a step by step instruction from bodybuilding.com for this move. Primary muscles involved will be the chest, with work also being done by the triceps and the shoulders.
Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand resting on top of your thighs. The palms of your hands will be facing each other.
1. Then, using your thighs to help raise the dumbbells up, lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them in front of you at shoulder width.
2. Once at shoulder width, rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. The dumbbells should be just to the sides of your chest, with your upper arm and forearm creating a 90 degree angle. Be sure to maintain full control of the dumbbells at all times. This will be your starting position.
3. Then, as you breathe out, use your chest to push the dumbbells up. Lock your arms at the top of the lift and squeeze your chest, hold for a second and then begin coming down slowly. Tip: Ideally, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it.
4. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions of your training program.
Handstand pushups may seem incredibly difficult, but once you master this, you will have a terrific deltoid workout. There are ways to build-up to this by balancing yourself up against a wall gradually. If you ever wanted those round bulging type of shoulders, this is the workout for you. Here is how to do it with little progressions from beastskills.com.
“You should be able to hold the handstand position against the wall for at least 15 seconds before you start working toward the pushup.
When you can hold the static handstand position for an adequate time, throw a pillow on the ground between your hands. You’ll now want to SLOWLY lower yourself to the ground. Please don’t dive head first through your floor! When you get to the ground put your feet down, then kick back up into a handstand and repeat.
These negative repetitions will help to build the necessary pressing strength. During these negative reps, you can work on STOPPING yourself in various positions along the way, as well as pushing back up only a couple inches, instead of the entire way.
So to recap the three methods for building pushup strength:
1. Lower down slowly
2. Stop and hold yourself at various points
3. Try pushing up short distances”
This is a move borrowed from Pilates that will shock your abs into amazing condition. Here is a video demonstrating the hundred as described in fitnesmagazine.com.
For an exercise to stimulate the back, the inverted row offers a lot of challenge. All you will need is two sturdy chairs and a strong stick or bar like a broom handle or mop handle. Here is how to do the home version from familyfitnesslife.blogspot.com.
“Grab two sturdy dining room type chairs. The height of the chairs will depend on where you place the bar/broom handle. Slide the bar through so it is supported by the two chairs. Position yourself under the bar and set your self up as if to do normal barbell rows, in that the way you pull is exactly the same.
Throw your elbows back and push your chest up, hold your back tight at the top then lower down without touching the floor, then repeat. use a grip just outside shoulder width and try to keep your elbows tucked in for a better contraction and to protect your shoulder joints.
You can use a third chair to bring your core into the movement, plus I feel it works my back and lats more evenly. However you can also have your feet on the floor too.”
Do these exercises in rapid succession with hardly any rest in between so you reap the most benefits for a leaner body. To build strength, also try to maximize the most weight or resistance you can possibly handle. You will be strong, healthy and lean in no time at all.