Whether you have an entire home gym or just a few pieces of exercise equipment, you can still get strong without leaving the comfort of your own living room. If you are just starting out, you can focus on bodyweight exercises, such as pushups, pullups, planks and lunges, to build a foundation of strength and endurance. Once you have a feel for these movements, you can start using other tools to increase the difficulty and challenge your muscles further.
One classic tool for strength training is the barbell bench press, which focuses on building chest, shoulder and arm muscles. You can also add weight to the bar in a variation called the dumbbell chest press, which works the same muscles but requires you to brace and flex your core as well.
Another classic is the squat, which helps develop legs, glutes and back muscles, as well as a strong core. It is important to move the leg from the front of the hip to the outside of the foot, to make sure you are squatting correctly. This will help avoid any knee injuries and increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
A very effective upper-body exercise is the pull-up, which builds serious arm and chest muscles. You can use basic equipment such as a pull-up bar hung in your doorway, or you can try creative variations like a doorframe or the top of a staircase. Adding weight can increase the challenge of these exercises, but be careful not to overdo it as you can easily injure your shoulders and neck.
Dumbbells are an inexpensive and convenient way to add weight to your strength-training routine. They are easy to store in a drawer or corner of a room and don’t take up much space, so you can use them even when you are traveling or on vacation. They are available at most sporting goods stores and online, and they can be a cost-effective alternative to buying and maintaining a set of free weights.
It’s important to focus on form over weight when doing strength-training exercises, as poor form can cause injury and slow or diminish your results. To keep your form in check, count to three while lowering a weight, then count to three while returning it to the starting position. It’s also a good idea to perform one to three sets of each exercise when you are just starting out, and then increase the number of sets as you become stronger.
It’s best to perform these exercises in sessions that are separate from each other, so your muscles can recover in between workouts. This will allow you to see more rapid gains in strength. You can also consider splitting the muscles you’re working out, performing chest and shoulders one day, arms the next, and then back and biceps the following week.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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