To Your Health
January, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 01)
Incline Dumbbell Presses: Angle an exercise bench at approximately 45 degrees. Take two dumbbells and lie on your back. Starting at chest level, press the dumbbells over your chest and lightly touch them together at the top.
Keep your head resting on the bench, lower weight to starting position and repeat for desired repetitions.
Dumbbell Flat Fly: Lie flat on an exercise bench and take two dumbbells into starting position (pressed above the chest with your palms facing each other). Slowly lower the weights to either side as if you are hugging a tree, keeping a slight bend in your elbow. Be careful not to go too low with the weight or you will stress the shoulder joints. Return to chest level and repeat.
Dumbbell Rows: Take two dumbbells and stand with feet just outside shoulder width. Hinge your hips backward and lean forward toward your toes with a slight bend in your knees. Pull the dumbbells up to your sides with palms facing each other. Lower and repeat. Keep your head up and maintain a slight arch in your lower back. Resist the temptation to round your shoulders forward.
Pull-Ups: Take an overhand grip on a pull-up bar. Pull your body weight up until your chin reaches the bar. Lower down until your arms are fully extended. Repeat. This is an exercise where a workout partner is helpful for assisted reps, especially when you're first starting out.
Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: Sit on an exercise bench with your back supported. Press the dumbbells overhead from the shoulders. For added variation, rotate your palms to face each other during the movement. Be sure to keep your elbows back.
Upright Rows: Grasp a straight bar with a close overhand grip and pull upward from hip level to above the collar bone. Repeat.
Arms (Biceps and Triceps)
Seated Dumbbell Biceps Curls: Using two dumbbells, curl weight from your side up to chest level. Be sure to keep your elbows perpendicular to the floor and tight by your side to isolate the muscles and prevent swinging.
Rope Curls: Standing in front of a cable weight machine, grip the exercise rope and curl upward. Grip the rope with palms facing each other.
Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: Lie on your back with two dumbbells and palms facing each other, arms extended toward the ceiling. Slowly bend your elbows, keeping them close together, until the dumbbells reach ear level, and then return to starting position.
Dumbbell Kickbacks: Standing and bent over slightly at the waist, hold dumbbells with palms facing each other. Start with elbows bent and extend your arms backward, stopping just short of locking the elbows, and then return to starting position. Be careful not to swing with momentum; slow and isolated movements with lower weight are best.
Dumbbell Squats: Stand shoulder-width apart grasping two dumbbells by your sides. Squat as deep as you can, keeping your head up and shoulders pulled back. If you lean forward and your heels come off the ground, place a ½ to 1-inch support under your heels. This tilts your pelvis, which prevents you from leaning too far forward and keeps the heels stationary.
Dumbbell Reverse Lunges: Stand with feet together and dumbbells by your side. Step backward with one leg into a lunge position until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Return to starting position and repeat with opposite side/leg.
Leg Curls: Lying face-down on a leg curl machine, hook your ankles under the support bar, being careful not to place it too far up the calf. Curl your legs, bringing your heels to your buttocks. Slowly control movement down to starting position.
Not only can weight training make a significant positive change in your physical appearance and overall health, but it also can elevate your self-esteem and confidence. For better or worse, in this day and age, body image is one of the leading factors in how people view their own self-worth. What's more, weight training can have enormous overall impact on improving the quality of your life. It instills dedication, commitment, sacrifice and goal setting. So enjoy the journey to a new and improved you. And take a moment every now and then to glance in the mirror and admire your accomplishment. It's a good thing!