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EASY, EFFECTIVE HOME WORKOUTS

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS TOPIC?

After having written more than 70 articles within my niche – workouts at home – I have been able to glean the following from my audience:

  • Many people are very knowledgeable about exercise programs and their comments add to the article
  • Others realize the importance of exercise and fitness, but have little or no experience in such training
  • Still others are beginners and seem to want advice in the very simplest terms

In my experience with new ideas, I always want things to be broken down into the very simplest concepts and with the most easily understandable wording.

Emerson,Thoreau and other transcendental essayists and poets thoroughly understood the value of simplicity and self – reliance, as did Longfellow.

Simplification of exercise programs seems aligned with Longfellow’s words above, i.e. that simplification is not “dumbing down”, but a pursuit of excellence.

The following strengthens my thoughts:

  • There is much contradictory fitness advice on the Internet and elsewhere
  • Many new devices are advertised as “changing the fitness world” and rendering everything else obsolete
  • Instruction can sometimes be complicated because of “gym jargon”
  • I have seen advertising for pills or dietary supplements which suggest that “workouts are unnecessary” for weight loss
  • Regarding the above- perhaps so, but it seems doubtful to me. And who wants less weight with no body sculpting or toning?

My topic, “EASY, EFFECTIVE HOME WORKOUTS” is to suggest that the movements will be easy to understand, not necessarily easy to perform.

At least, not without challenges. Energy and dedication are needed for progress in any exercise venture, as are more rigorous forms of resistance as gains are made.

BODYWEIGHT EXERCISE

Here is a brief 5-step program that requires no equipment:

  • PUSH – UPS – are great upper torso movements for development of the chest, triceps, shoulders and back. Do them slowly, with a pause at the bottom. Do as many as you can do correctly and try to increase that number in time. If one is difficult to perform, begin with your knees on the surface. The beginning is not so important; progress is the key.

  • PLANKS – here is another floor exercise. Support yourself by your forearms and toes. Maintain a straight alignment of your body and hold this isometric position for 30 seconds to a minute – or whatever time limit is comfortable. This will strongly engage your core (abdominal area) and back.

  • JUMP SQUATS – with feet shoulder width apart, back straight and eyes straight ahead, squat down until thighs are parallel. Then jump straight up, springing from the balls of your feet. This is great for your upper legs and glutes.

  • BUTTERFLY CRUNCH – this abdominal exercise is my personal favorite. It specifically engages the lower abdomen. Begin with knees bent and hands behind your head. Raise your legs and shoulders toward each other and return to the beginning position. Do these quickly, while maintaining tension. Be careful to begin with only a few reps. I now do 2 sets of 50 reps daily, but my ribs were very sore when I began with only about 20 reps.

  • TAKE A 30 MINUTE WALK AROUND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD – walk briskly and enjoy nature. Do this after the various floor exercises are done. A good rule is to always do resistance movements before cardio exercise. Save your energy, since the cardio can be more challenging.

INCORPORATING A COUPLE OF EQUIPMENT ITEMS

Here are a couple of suggestions to make the above program more interesting, to possibly substitute for a couple of movements at times.

  • A TREADMILL – will provide an option for inclement weather. Your speed and elevation may be raised to present more challenges. I use a treadmill daily, and exclusively during winter weather. It can be quite pleasant to work out on my treadmill as I listen to music in the morning. Distances, speeds and calorie expenditure are recorded for my convenience. My treadmill is shown below –

This model, as updated since my purchase, is shown here. Many models are more expensive, but this one has lasted for years with heavy usage.

  • POWER PRESS PUSH-UP SYSTEM – this is a device to enhance the value of push-ups. Handles are provided to allow for deeper dipping, more in line with parallel bar dips. The handles may be inserted into color coded and recessed plug positions. Thus, there are hand positions to specifically engage the chest (pectorals), arms (triceps), shoulders (deltoids) or back (latissimus dorsi). You may choose the upper torso body part to especially work. The Power Press is shown below, as it sits on my living room floor –

The Power Press is very reasonably priced. Check it out

NEED VARIETY? CONSIDER RESISTANCE CORDS

Resistance cords are excellent vehicles for muscular development, with lower “impact” than barbells or dumbbells. The “weight” of the cords provides varying resistance. Packages come with handles, door anchors and a choice of cords with different weights (or resistance levels). A few exercise movements are shown below:

  • CURLS – this provides a means to develop the biceps of the upper arm, not afforded in any of the movements shown above. You may stand on the mid point of the cord and raise each handle upward by “curling”, as you keep each palm up and bend your arms.

In the image below, the lady’s right arm is approaching the top of her right shoulder and she is alternating arms as she works.

  • CHEST PRESS – the pectoral muscles of the chest may be worked thoroughly by anchoring the resistance cords to a door, facing the opposite direction and pulling the handles across your body to meet in front of your chest. Note the stress on these muscles as you complete the pull and allow the handles to return to the starting position

See another image below. The man above seems to be elevating the pull, while the woman below is pulling on the same plane. Either version will work

  • LAT PULL – this movement activates your “lats”, or latissimus dorsi, the muscles of your back that fan out to give you a V- shaped upper body. The woman below is sitting and anchoring the cords by her feet. You may also stand and pull the cords to your side from a door anchor.

I am quite fond of resistance cords. They offer lots of variety for home workouts and can be employed in any bodybuilding movement that I know of. They lessen the chance of injury and provide several levels of challenges because of differing thicknesses of the cords within the packages.

Here are a couple of options. Both of these packages include everything you need at reasonable prices:

CONCLUDING

This has been an attempt to simplify home workouts, while offering exercise choices for a full body program. It is important to allow a day’s rest between resistance workouts. Outside walking or inside treadmill workouts may be done every day.

The equipment options shown are items that I have personally used and found effective, of good quality and reasonable in price. But bear in mind that you may work out very effectively with no equipment whatsoever.

Please leave any comments or questions in the “Comments” box below. Or e-mail me, richard@myworkoutathome.com.

I have a special request: please suggest any topics for home workouts that may interest you. I need to know what you consider important and worthy of your time and attention.

Be well!

Richard

4 Comments

  1. Simplification is simply better. There is no need to complicate things. So, simplifying is definitely not “dumbing down”, I agree.

    As a beginner, with how many push ups per day do you recommend I start? I think they are excellent exercise, and I would like to begin with that.  Planks are a great exercise, I have done that before. You really feel it throughout your core when you do this. I have not done this in such a long time … I am going to bookmark this page, so that I can refer back to it!

    I already walk a lot, so that’s good. Butterfly is a tough one for me, but I know how good it is. Should I start with less than 20 reps per day?

    Resistance cords and lat pull are my favorites. Where can I order them?

    • Christine, thanks for your interest. Do a few push – ups and see how you feel after about 5-6, then evaluate. If your triceps and pecs are sore, wait a while before doing more. Ultimately, you may find yourself doing 20 – 25. I show a couple of options for resistance cords in my article. A full package is available from Amazon for a little over $30. See the 2 links in my article. With the Butterfly crunch, go easy at first. Very easy. Just a few reps to see if your ribs are sore…..Richard

  2. I have already tried the effectiveness of planks and I’m convinced. It’s less than a month since I started doing planks and I can now see good results with my abdominal muscles. Maybe I should continue with this bodyweight exercise and then, later on, incorporate the other exercises you have listed here especially the ones that are using simple equipment. I will try the chest press and the lat pull next.

    There’s just one that bothers me doing all these. I am wondering whether they would be good even if I have a back problem of mild scoliosis and I need some advice.

    • Gomer, your physician is the best choice for advice on your specific health questions – your orthopedic or sports medicine physician. The chest press and lat pull movements are considered low impact with resistance cords and resistance cords have differing levels of challenge within the same package….Richard

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