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Resistance bands aren't fancy, but they can strengthen your body effectively.
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No doubt you've seen ads for elite health clubs or for cutting-edge equipment that promises to flatten your abs or build your arms. But if you train hard and smart you can achieve your fitness goals without going to a gym or purchasing the latest weight machines. Perform body-weight exercises and use simple tools to strengthen your muscles, lose fat and be happy with the body you see in the mirror.1.
Warm up before every workout with five to 10 minutes of light cardio activity. Jog or jump rope to warm up without fancy equipment.2.
Perform body-weight exercises, which you can do outside of the gym and require little or no equipment. Perform pushups, planks or crunches on the floor; pullups on a high bar at a playground; squats, lunges and calf raises in a small space in your home; or dips on a chair.
Use a stability ball to do body-weight exercises such as pushups, overhead squats, plank pike-ups, bridges and Russian twists. Hold a pair of hand weights and sit on the ball while you do overhead triceps extensions, or lie with your back on the ball to perform flyes.4.
Hold a pair of hand weights while you're standing to do a large variety of exercises, such as arm curls, triceps kickbacks, overhead presses, bent-over rows and deadlifts, plus front, lateral and rear raises. You can also hold hand weights to add intensity to activities such as squats and lunges.5.
Perform resistance-band exercises such as rows, presses, curls and squats.6.
Run up stairs or hills to strengthen your legs and burn calories.
- Stability ball
- Resistance bands
- Hand weights
- Perform exercises that work all your major muscle groups -- the shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, back, core, quads, hamstrings and calves -- at least twice each week. Don't work the same muscle group on consecutive days.
- Perform two or three sets of each exercise, or work up to that level. Do eight to 12 repetitions of weighted exercises, using a load that fatigues your muscles by the final rep. Do 15 to 20 reps of body-weight or resistance-band exercises. If you can't manage 15 reps of an intense exercise -- pullups, for example -- do as many as you can.
- If losing weight is part of your goal, perform a series of six to 10 exercises as a circuit, with no rest in between. Circuit training burns more calories than standard workouts that contain breaks between exercises. You'll also need to create a calorie deficit, no matter how hard you exercise. Focus on a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products and whole grains.
- Just because you don't go to a gym or use fancy equipment doesn't mean your workout won't be intense. Consult your doctor when you start a new exercise program to be sure it's safe for you.