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Posts tagged ‘Exercises’

The Home Gym

elaborate home gym

I think this is a little more than $100 dollars

I’m prompted to write this after reading this great blog article on how to have a great home gym for under $100 dollars. I got excited about it, as it is a list of items I can totally get behind. The author, Kevin Larrabee, put together the same list I would, and I have everything he lists except the iron gym, as I have a permanent bar in my basement. His premise is that even if you belong to a gym, you might not be able to get there all the time, and you should be able to get a workout in, no matter what.

I am a big believer in joining a gym for many reasons. First, you get to know people, which puts a subtle pressure of accountability on you. Second, if you are trying new things, it never hurts to have other people around to spot you, or call 911 if you do something stupid. Third, a lot of home equipment is not very safe, where commercial gym equipment is very sturdy and inspected often. Last, the gym will offer more equipment than most of us could ever afford to buy.

I use very few machines at the gym, and I’m not a big fan of machines. I think they have their place for rehab and if you  need to make one muscle big for bodybuilding competition. I can’t argue that you can target one particular muscle better with some of those machines. I use the squat rack, the pull up bar, the cables, swiss ball, bosu, the kettle bells, dumbbells, and barbels. That is still a lot of equipment, that I wouldn’t even have room for at home. The other big plus of the gym is space. I don’t have a large house, so there are many things I just don’t have room to do.

Now that this sounds like an ad for joining the gym, I’ll let you know, for general fitness, you can do everything you need to do without doing so. First, read the article I linked to, so you know what I’m talking about. The ab roller is the best ab exercise going. The sliders can be used for so many exercises, you could work your whole body with just those. If you need ideas, just check out you tube. The iron gym and stretchy band covers most of your upper body workout. the stretchy bands can also be used for myriads of exercises. They sell other types that have handles that can be used band squats, anti rotation lunges, rotation presses, etc, etc.  I would add at least some 10 lb dumbbells to this list. You can use dumbbells instead of kettlebells and medicine balls for most exercises. (Please don’t use the dumbbells to substitute in medicine ball slams!)

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Fitness 102

I will write what I intended to, but here is a blog post I just had to link to.  It is a list of top trainers favorite exercises. You’ll see a pattern. Which is a segue into what I intended to write.

There are a lot of exercise options out there. Exercise does not have to complicated. You want to work all your major muscle groups, you want to sweat, you don’t want to get hurt. You will want variety over time, for both the boredom factor, and to avoid adaptation. If you do the same thing every time, you will get very good at it, so get less “bang for your buck”. Efficiency is not good for exercise. All of the exercises in the top picks linked above are full body exercises.  Squats, presses, “ups”- chin ups and pull ups, and dead lifts.

So here is some more basic information for you, you can research these on the web or get books:

  1. Learn your body parts. You will hear words like “glutes, hammies, lats, and delts. Those are slangy abbreviations of muscle groups.  When you exercise, you should know what muscle group you are targeting, and if you don’t feel it there, chances are you are not doing it right. I recommend “The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises.” Or, if you are a guy, “The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises”. They are the same book with different pictures.  “New Rules of Lifting”  is a good book as well.
  2. Learn the names of exercises. While exercise doesn’t have to be complicated, there are a lot of them out there. If you don’t know what the exercises are that I mentioned above, look it up.  Again the web has TONS of info. Go to you tube to see people do them. The books I mentioned above are  good resources too.
  3. Don’t be afraid of the mirror. Good form is extremely important to exercise. Having a mirror where you exercise is very helpful. Is your back straight? Are your feet in proper position? You can get hurt if you don’t perform an exercise properly.
  4. Don’t feel you have to buy a lot of equipment. Especially don’t buy equipment to only works one body part. I would recommend 5 and 10 lb dumbbells to start (for girls). I would get a variety of stretchy bands. A swiss ball, also called a stability ball. Something to pull up on. You could get in shape with those to start. After that, there are a lot of goodies to amp things up. Barbells, Bow-flex or Total Gym. Exercise bikes, treadmills or elliptical machines.  Free weights beat machines as you have to stabilize them, using more muscles.

You can do all you need to do at home. Joining a gym offers motivation, community and more equipment. Training at home has no travel time, your equipment is always available, and no one sees you exercise. I would recommend a personal trainer to start, unless you are very motivated and have done your homework. If you can’t afford a trainer, please do your homework and read everything you can get your hands on.

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