Are you a fan of strength workouts?
It's no secret that I am!
It's been just over 10 years since I was introduced to the world of strength-training, and it's been a pretty fun ride. While I'm not a coach (Ha! As if! LOL), I have learned a lot about the sport of pumping iron.
I'm also a creature of habit. It's all too easy to get stuck in a routine and not venture very far from that which we feel the most comfortable.
Fortunately, I'm also one who is always looking for new ways to do old things. Such is the case with my at-home workouts. I don't have much for fancy equipment, but I do have a few sets of dumbbells. They get a lot of use, usually weekly.
Since I don't go to a gym, or have a full set of weights at home, I have learned to work with what I have. I've been on the hunt for a couple of sets of heavier dumbbells, but have not had any luck (they've been a hot commodity ever since COVID hit). In the mean time, though, there's plenty one can do with a "limited collection" of hand weights.
Do your regular curls, rows, raises and extensions, but do them in slow-motion. Lifting my 12-pound dumbbells is easier for some moves than others. But all moves, even the easier ones, become more more challenging when done slower than usual. The moves become more controlled, and gravity really comes into play. Sometimes, I lift to a count of one, then lower to a count of three. Other times, I do the entire move slowly. Another variation is to lift, hold for a few counts, then lower.
Do the negatives. Almost every kind of move has a negative component...when you raise the weight(s) upwards, you will also be lowering it back down. Instead of starting in the "down" position, for negatives, you start with the weights already in the "lifted" position. Doing this allows more focus on the downward motion, essentially fighting gravity by going slower. I don't do these frequently, but try to work them in once in awhile for variety.
Static holds for the win! If you really want to UP your resistance game, try holding one (or both) weight(s) perfectly still. You can hold the weights in a flexed position, or in a "neutral" position. My favorite is to do a static hold with one hand while lifting with the other, which also will summon some core strength (to maintain balance). It's helpful to do these in front of a mirror to ensure you're form is good.
Give alternating reps a try. These are a fun challenge for those of us who are coordination-challenged (that would be me!). Instead of working both sides in unison, you're lifting one as you lower the other. You will probably also feel this in your core.
As you can see, my strength equipment is minimal...8-pound and 12-pound dumbells, and a 15-pound kettlebell. The weight is not overly heavy, of any of them, but by doing several reps I'm able to compensate (somewhat) for the lack of "heavy" lifting. Periodically incorporating these moves, as described, definitely increases the resistance and enhances my training.
Need a few other ideas for at-home workouts? Here's a few related blog posts:
As mentioned, I'm not a certified coach or a personal trainer. These are strength moves and variations that I have found to work for me. If you're relatively new to strength-training, proceed with the utmost caution until you're familiar with the process. It may be wise to do a little research (or consulting with a trainer) for some initial advice and guidance.
Anyways, this is just one such way I've been coping through the COVID craziness. How have you been holding up? Have you continued to work-out at home, or have you been able to return to a gym? Have you ever tried nay of these variations?