Let’s face it. Juggling busy work and personal schedules makes it hard to get to the gym for a workout. To make it easier on yourself, forget going to the gym, buy a couple of inexpensive dumbbells and work out at home. MayoClinic.com recommends strength training two to three days per week with rest in between. Of course, if you want to train every day, go for it -- just don’t overdo it. As long as you alternate between upper- and lower-body muscles every other day, you’ll be fine -- some muscles get a break, while others get a workout.
Try front and lateral raises for your shoulders. Grab your dumbbells and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Front raises start with your arms by your sides and your palms facing backward. Lift your arms forward until they are shoulder high and then reverse the movement. Lateral raises start the same way except your palms are facing inward and you lift your arms out to your sides.
Perform dumbbell curls to work your biceps. Grab your dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your sides and your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows and curl your hands up to your shoulders. Lower your hands and repeat the pumping action.
Give your triceps equal time with dumbbell kickbacks. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Take a step forward with your right foot and bend your knees slightly. Bend at your waist, lean forward and put your right hand on your right thigh for support. Bend your left elbow and lift your upper arm until it is parallel with your torso. Without moving your upper arm, straighten your left elbow, take the dumbbell backward and then reverse the movement. Don’t forget your other arm, switch after several reps..
Finish your session with dumbbell rows to work your back muscles. Grab your dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and bend at your waist until your chest is directly above your feet. Start with your arms extended and palms facing backward. Bend your elbows, pull the weights up to your ribcage and then reverse the movement.
Include a core exercise. Try a variation of the classic crunch. Sit on the floor, lie back, bend your legs and put your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the ends of your dumbbell and hold it close to your chest. Lift your upper back and curl up toward you thighs. Pause and lower back to the floor. Don’t forget your obliques. As you curl up, twist your torso to the left or right.
Perform dumbbell squats, a two-in-one exercise. Squats work your butt and thigh muscles. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and angled slightly outward. Bend your arms and lift the weights to the front of your shoulders. Keep your arms in this position throughout the exercise. With your back straight and chest up, bend your hips and knees to lower your butt into a squat. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor and keep your knees over your feet. Pause and return to a standing position.
End your session with calf raises. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. While keeping your arms by your sides, slowly raise your heels as high as you can. Transfer the weight onto the balls of your feet, hold the position a few seconds and then lower your heels. If you’re a little unsteady, just hold one dumbbell and the back of a chair for support. Don’t forget to switch hands.
- Be creative with your workouts, there are many dumbbell exercises to choose from.
- Use 1-pound dumbbells for the upper-body exercises and 3-pound dumbbells for the lower-body exercises.
- Perform two sets of 10 to 12 reps with each exercise.
- Before starting a new exercise program, get the OK from your doctor.