01-06-2012, 01:30 PM
Hey everyone! I'm preparing to start a friendly competition with my boyfriend to help me get back into shape (he is already in shape, but has other fitness goals). I do not have access to a gym and I all I have are some 3lb and 5lb dumbbells. I also have a variety of workout videos for cardio/strength training (though I'm not sure how "good" they are as a whole, some are definitely better than others). I used to be very active, but after the lazy bug bit me for a few years I've found I get frustrated when I can't perform how I was once able to. Also, my knees now have a lot of scar tissue/calcium buildup and consequently hurt when I run. However, I CAN run, and I will since I don't have access to an elliptical. All that leads to my question: How do I construct an effective routine without having to rely on a gym? I am overwhelmed with all the different exercises I see in magazines and online, in conjunction with the handful of videos I have. I only want to lose about 5-10 pounds and 1 size, but I am pretty much starting from scratch. I was blessed with a thin build in general, but I've let my cardiovascular and muscle fitness severely whither. I want a weekly/monthly routine that leaves my body aching (in a good way). I want to be excited about my next workout. Any ideas? Thanks so much!! 8)
01-06-2012, 08:02 PM
It's probably best to have no more than 5 exercises per session, and to keep your sessions to about an hour. Since you don't have access to a gym, you will likely have to do body-weight only exercises. The dumbbells you have will only provide a little bit of help to get stronger/more toned. You'll probably need to get some additional equipment, but it's relatively cheap. Specifically I'm referring to a pullup bar, and a place you can do dips.
Some useful body-weight exercises that will help overall are:
Reverse Push ups (requires a bar that you pull yourself up to suspended across two chairs, or about that height)
Platform jumps (plyometric exercise)
With the push ups, you can start out on your knees. Just keep the body straight as a board. When you can handle more resistance, do them at your toes. The opposite of the push up is the reverse push up. One works your chest and triceps, the other works your back and biceps. It's a good idea to pair these together.
Pull ups and dips are the mirror of each other, and it's also a good idea to pair them together. If you can't do pull ups (don't feel bad, I can barely do them myself) there are several articles out there to help you get there. Just keep improving until you can do them strictly.
A decent approach would be to have two workouts and alternate between them.
Reverse Push-ups, 3x10
Squats, 3x15. Go as deep as you can, and either add weight by carrying something or jump up out of the squat.
Planks 3x30s. Increase the time on these until you can do three sets by 2 minutes.
Pull-ups, 3xF (three sets to failure)
Platform jumps, 3x15 (jump up on to a platform). If this is too much to start with, then start with step-ups (lifting the opposite knee up high)
Sit ups, 3x15
Give yourself a day of rest in between doing these body-weight strength sessions. If you can't do all the prescribed reps, it's OK. Consider it a goal to work towards. There's a lot of resources to help you get strong enough to do pull ups--they are hard, and I personally have problems with them.
On top of that base, you can add whatever type of conditioning work you want. If you like running, you can either go for sprints, or longer endurance type work. Sprints are more compatible with strength training, should you ever be able to get to a gym. However, some people like long jogs. Other possibilities that won't kill your knees are swimming, burpees, etc.
This is enough to get you started on something. If you find something that works similar areas you want to try, you can substitute out the exercise. The idea is that if you work out one side, you work out the other so your muscles remain balanced.
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