Can At Home Fitness Workouts
Be As Effective As Gym Workouts?
By Mike Westerdal
Sometimes you just can't make it to the gym every time you want to-meetings run late, traffic gets backed up, the car breaks down or something else happens that stops you from getting in your workout. The next time that happens you might want to consider working out at home rather than skipping your training session entirely. Have you not trained at home because you don't believe you can get a decent workout? Well, think again because you're dead wrong-you can. At-home workouts, if done with reasonable intensity, can be extremely effective. A good in-the-house workout session can be made even better if you add in a pair of dumbbells.
While depending on your fitness goals, training in the home might not be right for every person all the time, and nothing will ever replace weight lifting for building mass, for even the most dedicated gym rat, working out at home can be a nice break from the routine at the gym once in a while. Plus, it's always a good idea to keep your muscles guessing by challenging them. There are a few other advantages to working out at home too: you can listen to your favorite music, there's no waiting for machines, there's no one to hassle you, no worries about cleaning up after others and you don't have to drive. It can also be a great way to dodge the inner escape artist every once in a while when you just don't feel like going to the gym or need a change of pace. If you've got kids, at-home workouts can help get them on the right track early on.
The question is though, "Is working out at home effective and can I see results?" The answer is yes! The key though to an effective home exercise program is to include exercises that work three key areas: cardio, strength and flexibility. Even if you don't have a fully-equipped home gym, there are plenty of exercises you can do using just your bodyweight. Keeping a set of dumbbells around the house can give your in-home workout some teeth and get your muscles pumped. Plus, they don't take up a lot of space and help in stabilizing and developing muscles that are important to strength, balance, and posture. Some strength training exercises you can do at home using just your bodyweight and dumbbells include:
- Chest: Push-ups are great for working the pecs. Vary the spread of your hands to work different parts of the chest. For even more punch, place your feet on a chair or your bed and try some decline push-ups. Do some chest presses with dumbbells lying on the floor and dumbbell flies (flat or incline if you happen to have an adjustable bench at home) to round things out.
- Shoulders: Shoulders are little tougher to work out using just your body weight so you're better off using dumbbells. These are all great exercises that are easy to do in the house: seated press, side raises, front raises, bent-over reverse flies and shoulder shrugs; upright row.
- Arms: There are plenty of effective exercises you can do at home to pump up your arms using just a chair and a set of dumbbells. Biceps: Just like at the gym you can do standing or seated bicep curls, concentrated curls, standing or seated alternating curls and hammer curls. Triceps: Doing push-ups with your hands close together is an excellent way to beef up your triceps. Or, sitting on a chair, do some one-arm behind-the-neck extensions with a dumbbell. Using a chair you can also do bent-over kickbacks and lying flat on the floor you can do a couple of variations of triceps extensions using a dumbbell.
- Back: For your back, try dumbbell rows, dumbbell dead-lifts and if you've got a spot where you can do pull-ups, holding a dumbbell between your ankles will really give you an extra punch.
- Legs: There are plenty of exercises you can do in the home to work your legs but add dumbbells and they'll be even more effective. Here are a few examples: squats with dumbbells, lunges with dumbbells and standing calf raise (holding a dumbbell in one hand).
Adding dumbbells to your out-of-gym or at-home cardio routine can help you make the most of your time. Carry a set of dumbbells with you when you walk, alternating between curls and just carrying them at your side. If you do this though, be careful not to swing your arms around too much, you can injure yourself easily. If you've got access to a set of stairs, walk up and down carrying a couple of dumbbells at your side-you'll get your heart moving in no time.
If you don't want to skip the gym in favor of an at-home workout but do want to kick your metabolism up a notch while you're hanging around the house, set aside some times throughout the day to spend a few minutes moving around using dumbbells. A University of Missouri (Columbia) study found that when we spend too much time sitting on our rumps, the body's fat burning mechanisms slow to a near halt. No surprises there but the study also found that moving around whenever possible can jumpstart the fat burning process again. So instead of just lying around on the sofa for hours at a stretch, get up, pick up the dumbbells and get your ass moving-even if it's only ten minutes at a time. You'll burn some extra calories and you'll do your body good.
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About The Author
Mike Westerdal is the author of the first and original...
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