14th March, 2012
There are many books in the market that instruct you on how to strength train, using dumbbells, barbells and whole body machines. There are clubs and gyms that also offer instructions.
As we progress, I would like to offer you simple resistance exercises that will work you out without adding weight.
George Foreman, former heavyweight boxing champion, never used weights during his training. Instead he used the resistance of his own body and that is what you will do here.
By using the lighter load and doing more repetitions (reps), you tone your muscles instead of building bulk. Plus you will have all the strength necessary for your everyday life.
You will need a mat of some sort and a chair. Begin with the suggested number of reps (or even fewer if you have never exercised. It only takes one attempt to build new muscle tissue!) and rest for thirty seconds between sets. Consecutive repetitions of one exercise defines a set.
We will use a chair as a prop for the first part of our workout.
For Hips, Thighs, and Buns: Leg Lifts.
Stand behind a chair and hold unto its back. While pressing your pelvis into the back of the chair, lift your right leg behind you with pointed toe for nine more repetitions; then contract your toes and lift 10 times (or work up to this amount if just starting out).
Turn and hang on to the chair’s back with your left hand. Standing straight (don’t lean to the left or right), raise and lower right leg out to the side,10 reps with pointed toe, then 10 lifts with contracted toes. Only raise your leg about two feet or so. Repeat these exercises for your left leg. Work up to about 15 or 20 reps.
Weight training of any sort will build lean body mass, which in turn revs up your metabolism. You have no need to fear. This routine won’t give you buns of steel, but it will tighten the little tush of yours!
For Buttocks: Bun Lift.
Sit on chair, holding on to edge. Stretch out legs and raise the lower buns. Tighten gluteus (large skeletal muscles that form the buttock and move the thigh) muscle with each lift and hold. Do eight reps.
For Triceps (chicken arms): Chair Lift.
Stay on the edge of a study chair. Place hands near your buttocks, fingers facing out. Stretch your legs in front of you and lower your body until your buns nearly touch the floor. Hold this position for two seconds, then lift back up, using the muscles in the back of your arms. Feel them working? Repeat this lifting and lowering motion three-five times. Do three sets. This is a difficult move for most women. Build reps up gradually and rest between sets.
Chair Crunch. Sit on the chair. Scoot (very quick movement) your bottom to the edge of the seat and hang on to the edge with your hands. With bent knees, lift legs up to chest then lower, straightening legs, but not letting them touch the floor. Back up to chest, then straight out again. Start with five reps. Work up to 20, contracting stomach muscles continually.
Reclining Windmill. Lay on the mat and continue your abdominal work. Lie flat on your back, legs outstretched, arms cradling back of head. Simultaneously, bring knees up and lift head and torso until elbows touch knees. Repeat five to 10 times. Rest, then do another set. You can vary this exercise by touching opposite elbow and knee in a bicycle motion.
For Arms, Shoulders and Chest: The Reliable Push-up.
Roll over and get on all fours. Place hand shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing out. Lower upper body almost to the mat. Hold, then raise up to the starting position. Repeat four times. Do two sets. Build up reps and sets as your strength increases.
To Cool Down: Reward Time. Collapse on mat and finish with a long, slow stretch.
These exercises are firming up muscle groups. If you have weight to lose, calorie and fat reduction is a must. We are aiming for total body (and soul) fitness here. Make exercise as much a part of your daily habits as brushing your teeth. In a matter of weeks you will be in great shape if you also add some gentle aerobics to your routine.
Also remember that you must be certified medically fit by a medical physician to embark on all forms of exercise regime.