Strength Training at Home

In the fitness world, there’s a constant debate about whether or not you can get an effective strength training workout at home.  Many people think that a gym membership is a must if you want to be able to build muscle and get in shape.  Others think that a quality home gym would take up too much space or is a huge $$$ investment and would rather pay gym membership fees instead.

I used to be one of those people.  Over the years, though, I’ve found that it’s totally possible to get a kick-butt workout in the comforts of your own living room– and it’s not as expensive as you’d think.  When I first started strength training, I wasn’t confident enough to go to the weight section at my gym.  I knew nothing about weight training.  I’d go to the gym for cardio, but I wanted to experiment with weights at home where I’d be more comfortable.  I picked up a copy of The Body Sculpting Bible for Women and a pair of 10-pound weights to start.  And guess what?! I saw results.  Not huge results– but results nonetheless.  Since that time, I’ve picked up a set of weights here, a resistance band there, and now I have what I feel like is a pretty adequate mini-gym in my home office.

I don’t want to discount the effectiveness of a gym or fitness center by any means.  From the quality & variety of weights & machines to the atmosphere of being inside a fitness center itself, the gym is a great place to get in shape.  It’s just my opinion that a home gym can be just as effective and, for some, a more feasible fitness option.

In this day and age, it’s not always practical to get to the gym during the facility’s hours of operation.  People’s lives are busy.  Gyms are crowded, which can turn a 45 minute workout into a 75 minute workout.  It might take longer to get dressed for and drive to a workout than it takes to do the actual workout itself.  Inconvenience can be discouraging, and in a nation where  2/3 of people are either overweight or obese and health problems run rampant, we can’t afford to be lazy from discouragement.

I strength train at home because I don’t have time and/or my schedule is to hectic to get to the gym on a regular, consistent basis (I do still have a gym membership that I used mostly for spin classes, however).  I started with light weights and a stability ball (which doubled as a “bench”) and found exercises that would fit my equipment.  Over time, I’ve picked up free weights here-and-there so that I now have a broad range of weights, a medicine ball, an incline bench, several resistance bands, and a step.  I continue to pick up heavier weights as my muscle strength and budget require.  Here’s my “gym:”

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Nothing too fancy here.

Here’s just a sampling of the exercises you can do at home using basic equipment:

BICEPS

  • Dumb bell bicep curls
  • Dumb bell hammer curls
  • Reverse curls
  • Bicep curl or hammer curl using resistance band (anchor to bottom of railing, etc.)
  • Dumb bell concentration curls
  • Dumb bell preacher curls on stability ball

TRICEPS

  • Skullcrushers on ground/bench using dumb bells
  • Triceps kickbacks (dumb bell)
  • Standing/seated triceps extension (with dumb bell or anchored resistance band)
  • Push ups (elbows close to sides)
  • Close-grip press using dumb bells
  • Bench dips (can put feet on stability ball if desired)

SHOULDERS

  • Dumb bell shoulder press
  • Front raises with dumb bells or resistance band
  • Side raises with dumb bells or resistance band
  • Arm circles
  • Arnold press
  • Bent over lat raises
  • Lying rear delt raises
  • Dumb bell clean and press
  • Push ups

BACK

  • Resistance band lat pull down (anchor band securely to top of door)
  • Bent over row
  • Dumb bell rows
  • Dumb bell deadlifts
  • Incline bench pull
  • Seated row with resistance band
  • Supermans
  • Hyperextension on stability ball
  • Dumb bell pullovers

LEGS/GLUTES

  • Dumb bell squat
  • Ballet squat (with dumb bells)
  • Front squat
  • Ball squats
  • Step-ups
  • Dumb bell deadlifts
  • Dumb bell lunges
  • Stability ball leg curls
  • Resistance band leg curls
  • Stiff-legged deadlift
  • Calf raises (on floor or stairs)

CHEST

  • Push ups
  • Dumb bell bench press
  • Dumb bell incline bench press
  • Dumb bell pullovers
  • Dumb bell flyes
  • Incline dumb bell flyes

ABS

  • Crunches
  • Bicycles
  • Hip raises
  • Reverse crunch on bench
  • Planks
  • Side planks
  • Medicine ball or resistance band side chop
  • Jackknife sit ups

This is just scratching the surface on all of the different exercises that can easily be done at home with limited equipment.

Working out at home vs. working out at the gym– which do you prefer??

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3 thoughts on “Strength Training at Home

  1. Pingback: Think Weight Training is Just for Growing Bulky Muscles? Think Again. | Cristi Rae

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