This is a basic program for those of you who are just starting out. You will do the following exercises for 20 minutes and only three times a week. You can all fit this into your lives.
One complete move is called a repetition (rep). You will do eight reps, which make one set. Do two sets of each exercise. You can pause for a few seconds between your two sets and then rest for a minute before you go on to the next exercise.
Start with light weights. If you have never lifted a dumbbell, use a one-pound can of soup from your pantry. When you can easily to eight reps, increase to two pounds. You may want to increase the reps from eight to twelve at this point and then see what kind of dumbbells will work. A set of three and five-pound dumbbells should be fine for those of you who want to tone, and keep your bones healthy.
Remember to breathe through all exercises and do not hold onto dumbbells as if your life depended on it.
1. The Chair Stand: This is a warm-up exercise, which tones your thighs, and works your abdominal muscles and back. Remember that whenever you work your abs, you are strengthening your back. There are two versions. Start with version one and when that gets easy go to version two. You can keep version one as a warm up. You will sit in a chair with your feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Cross your arms and hold them against your chest touching your shoulders. Keeping your back straight, lean forward and stand up slowly. Use your legs and butt to stand up. Slowly sit back down on the chair. Don’t just plop back into it.
2. Reverse Chair Stand (version two): You will start by standing with your arms stretched out in front and slowly lower yourself into the chair, pause and stand up again. When this becomes easy do not sit on the chair. Lower yourself just shy of the seat
3. Overhead press: Use light weights for this one especially if you are over 40 and/or have shoulder problems. This will help strengthen weak shoulders and upper arms, and help with your posture. Standing you will hold your dumbbells (or cans) in each hand. Push them straight up from your shoulders where you have started. Slowly lower them down so you end up with each dumbbell next to your shoulders.
4. Bent over rows: This is a great exercise for your back, biceps (area on the top front of your arms), and shoulders. In addition, keep your abdominal area tight and you will work the core as well. Sit forward in your chair with your feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang down at your sides with your palms facing in. Using your and upper back muscles pull the dumbbells straight up as high as you can. Your shoulder blades should move together so if someone were behind you they would actually feel less space between your shoulder blades. Your elbows will bend; hold there for a second and slowly lower the weights.
5. Calf raise: Our calves are under-developed because it seems they are the last part of our bodies we work but strong calves make our ankles strong and flexible. Strong calves will help your balance as well. Stand behind a chair holding the top lightly. Slowly raise yourself as high as you can on the balls of your feet. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly lower.
6. Seated fly: This is a great exercise for your chest area. Sit on a chair holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bring up the dumbbells so that they are at chest height with your palms facing forward. Bring your arms back and then squeeze them in to get a good contraction in your chest.
7. Biceps curl: You will see a difference in your arms quickly if you do this one three times a week. Hold the dumbbells at your sides and raise them bringing your forearms up. At the top of the movement squeeze your biceps for an added benefit. Your dumbbells will be facing in. To change this up a bit, turn the dumbbells so that your palms are facing in. This is called a hammer curl and will target a slightly different area of the biceps.
8. Triceps pull up: This exercise is easy but effective in getting rid of the area of the upper arm that fly in the wind. Hold one dumbbell straight up slightly behind your head. Slowly lift it, pause, and lower it behind your held. Hold in your belly as usual for that added benefit.
Next article: Stretching after this workout.
Where to buy dumbbells in New England:
Target $8.99 for a 5-pound weight
Wal-Mart 6-piece dumbbells set – 2 each size: 3, 5, and 8. This is a great deal at $30.00
Dick’s Sporting Goods 3- pound dumbbell is $4.99
Sports Authority 2-pound dumbbell $2.99
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