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Exercise At Home

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
   abductors Biceps Triceps

There may be many reasons why you can’t make an class or a session in the gym. Time and money will be the root cause in many cases. But simply because you have to operate under these constraints it doesn’t mean that you are not able to exercise your muscles and tone up your body.

For a start, look at the everyday items in your house that can make a difference. Just one example is the staircase. Use the first five or six steps as an impromptu step machine and try several repetitions both up and down the stairs, using the banister rail only for balance, to firm up both the large muscles of the thigh and bottom. You may not be dressed head to toe in Lycra and be pumping away on a gleaming, state of the art machine, but that doesn’t mean your muscles won’t be working.

The same is true of the benefits the shoulder and chest will gain from the good old fashioned press-up. Hated by schoolchildren down the ages, this most simple of resistance exercises is very effective none the less. Don’t be tempted to take any of the weight on your lower back as that can lead to injury, so keep it nice and straight. Then it’s simply a case of hands a shoulders’ length apart, balancing on your toes, and try five repetitions. As with all these exercises, step outside your comfort zone by one or two repetitions to give your body something to think about, but don’t be tempted to overdo it. If you’re worried about your back, try the press-up routine from a kneeling position, feet off the floor and crossed behind you.

Stomach and Lower Back

How about those stomach muscles and lower back? Then try some sit-ups. Lying flat on the floor, bend your legs at the knees and place the first two fingers of each hand against the corresponding temple. Look straight up in front of you and lift from the abdomen, pushing your bottom into the floor. Don’t allow either your arms or legs to get in on the act as you won’t feel the full benefit. Up to 10 reps is fine as a starting point, again building up slowly and steadily. Supplement sit-ups with curls: knees bent, arms extended so that the palms are flat on the tops of the thighs. Then pull up from the abdomen so that the palms travel up to the knee caps.

Using small weights over a number of repetitions is the way to achieve good toning of the biceps. Yes, you can invest in a set of handweights, but why bother when unopened tinned vegetables or fruit can work equally as well. Remember, toning is all about the repetitions, not about the amount of weight you are lifting.

Using Furniture as Supports

For the back of the upper arms, or triceps, a solid chair can prove a useful substitute for a gym bench. Slip your bottom off the seat, holding yourself up with your palms around the front edge of the frame. Then simply raise yourself up and down by bending your elbows. A chair can also be useful for giving better definition to the outer thigh muscles, or abductors. Stand sideways to the back of the chair with, as an example, your left hand on the top of the frame. Then using this as a support, gently push out your right leg to the side for five to 10 reps, then swapping hands to exercise the left abductors. Finally, work those calf muscles by facing the back of a chair and placing both hands on the top of the frame. Raise both heels at the same time in a series of 10 reps. As with all the above routines, keep your movement slow and steady to maximise the work your muscles are doing without risking injury through over exertion or jerky movement.

Be sure to warm up before every routine, and warm down afterwards, too. To realise the benefits try to complete a set circuit of exercises at least three times a week, slowly building up the number of repetitions. Apart from step work on the stairs, all of them can be completed in any room, so to avoid boredom, why not complete them in front of the television, or simply turn on the radio. It may lack the glamour of the expensive gym down the road, but you’ll be saving time and money while putting in a similar amount of effort.

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