Tips for Working out at Home. Part 2

Intermediate Home Workout

As you begin to master the beginner's workout, you can incorporate additional exercises to build visibly stronger arms, legs, and abdominal muscles. For this intermediate plan, you would need a set of dumbbells. 

Start by adding one or two of these exercises to your routine. You can then mix it up as you get stronger, creating workouts of six to seven exercises of your choosing (focusing on the upper body, lower body, overall body, or core).

Biceps curls: Stand with feet hip distance apart with one dumbbell in each hand. Maintain good posture as you raise and lower the weights, bending at the elbow. Do two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps. Increase the weight when you able to complete the sets with relative ease.
Lateral raises: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should be facing inward towards the mid-line of your body. Raise your straight arms to shoulder height and lower slowly. Do two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps. If you find that you are bending your elbows, you are lifting too much weight. Lower the weights and keep your arm straight.
Triceps kickbacks: For this exercise, use a chair to stabilize yourself. Extend your arm slowly backward and return to the starting position with control. Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Bent rows: To get into the proper position for this exercise. tilt forward from the hips so that your chest is facing the floor and your arms are hanging beneath you. Pull your arms toward your chest as if you are rowing a boat.
Wall squats: For this variation, stand with your back to a wall and sink down to a seated position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Let the wall support your back. Now hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds. As you build strength, challenge yourself to hold the squat for a minute or more.
Overhead press: This exercise is performed while seated in a straight-back chair. With your back pressed firmly against the seat back, press the dumbbells over your head with your upper arms positioned in a straight line from elbow to elbow. Extend the arms fully without locking the elbow, pausing momentarily before returning to the starting position. Do two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

For an added twist, you can add dumbbells to the exercises of the beginner's workout. For example, you can hold a dumbbell in each hand as you do a set of lunges or squats.

Advanced Home Workout

In this advanced workout program, you will need a set of resistance bands and an exercise ball. These tools can help further strengthen the muscles used for stability.

There are four exercises you should add to the plan:

Stability ball push-ups: If you can complete a standard push-up with good form, try performing the exercise with your lower body positioned on the ball. Start with the ball under your knees and, as you get more comfortable with the exercise, move the ball closer to your feet.

Banded side steps: Step on the middle of the resistance band and grab one handle in each hand. The band should be looped under your feet. Now, step to the side with your right foot while keeping your left foot on the band. Do five steps to the right and five steps to the left to complete a set. Rest and repeat for three to four more sets.

Lunges with overhead extension: Step forward into a lunge position, placing your front foot on the middle of the band. With one handle in each hand, raise the arms into an overhead press while sinking into a deep lunge. Return to the starting position. Do five reps on each side to complete a set. Rest and repeat for two to three more sets.

Lat pulldowns: For this exercise, you will need to hitch the center of your resistance band to a hook on the door. Place the ball against the door. Grabbing a handle in each hand, take a seat facing away from the door. Slowly pull the bands down until your elbows are fully pressed to your sides. You will feel the effort in the back muscles adjacent to your armpits, called the latissimus dorsi. Raise to the starting position and repeat, aiming for two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

    To create a balanced exercise program, workout two to three times per week. Be aware that your weight may drop at first but then increase slightly as you build muscle mass. By this stage, your success should be measured not only in pounds and inches but how you feel look and feel.

    If ever you reach a plateau, simply increase the intensity and/or duration of your workout. Your body will respond in kind, putting you back on the fast track to weight loss.

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