Continuing our three-part series on workouts you can do at home to build strength, this is part two, where we will provide more full-body workout routines that you can do to get stronger — all without the help of a gym. Instead of spending your hard earned cash on an expensive gym membership, get some basic and affordable exercise equipment, so you can get the most out of your workouts, all from the comfort of your own home.
Training with a kettlebell has become quite popular in recent years, but did you know they were first created many years ago? In fact, they originate from the 1700s in Russia, so if a piece of exercise equipment is is still around after hundreds of years, you know it has to have a good reason why.
Kettlebell swings are the main exercise when working with kettlebells because they are not only adept at building strength, but they can also burn calories and condition and tone most of your major muscle groups at the same time. However, if you’re a beginner or have not much idea of how to perform a proper kettlebell swing, you could risk hurting yourself and cause severe injuries to your body. Try this beginner-friendly full-body strength-building kettlebell workout first, and experiment later as you become more comfortable with it.
This exercise is similar to a regular squat, but with a slight twist. It will work out your lower body, especially your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and with your toes pointed slightly out. Cup the ball of the kettlebell firmly in both hands in front of your chest with your elbows pointing down, then push your hips back to begin the squat. Bend your knees to lower yourself until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor while keeping your chest up and your body weight centred on your heels. Slowly bring yourself back upright to complete 1 rep. Aim for 4 sets of 8 reps each.
Stand holding the kettlebell like how you did for the goblet squat. Take a large step forward with your right leg, descending as you step until your knees form 90-degree angles. Press through your right foot to stand back up, then repeat on the other side. Again, 4 sets of 8 reps are recommended.
Bent-Over Arm Rows
To trains your arm muscles, rows are a good start. Place your left knee on an elevated surface, then bend your torso forward and place your left hand on something sturdy to support your body. Reach down and grab the kettlebell with your right hand, returning to this position where your body is parallel to the floor. Pull your right arm up until your hand reaches the side of your chest, then lower the weight back down and repeat for 8 reps. Do all your reps on this side before switching sides and repeating for 3 sets.
Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Carry
For an effective back muscle workout, hold the handle with a straight wrist with the ball of the kettlebell above your hand at shoulder level and pointing upwards. Your hands should be facing each other at your shoulders, with your elbows close to your chest. In this position, walk slowly a short distance down and back. Perform one or two walks per set.
A set of dumbbells are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment you can get, especially if you want to focus on toning and building your arms. They’re compact as well, which means they can be easily stored and don’t take up much space in the house.
If you’re planning to go far with your workouts, spring for some adjustable weighted dumbbells – they may be pricey, but you’ll be able to change the weight as you get stronger, so it will always be a viable option to workout with. If you’re on a budget, get a fixed weight dumbbell set, which is cheaper but will be less effective once your body gets used to the workouts.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outwards. Holding dumbbells hanging at both sides with your palms facing in. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower yourself until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, keeping your upper body straight and your weight on your heels. Hold it there, then press back to standing position for 1 rep. Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps.
Dumbbell Concentration Curls
Arm curls will focus on building your biceps, and at the same time, tone and tighten your flabby arms. Sit down on a bench or stool (or the sofa), and while keeping your back straight, bend forwards to pick up a dumbbell in one hand. For the hand holding the weight, place your elbow on your thigh, while your other hand should hold onto your other thigh for support. Engage your bicep muscles to lift the dumbbell up towards your face, then bring it back down with control. Do this for both arms — 4 sets of 10 is optimal.
Work out your back muscles with some deadlifts. Stand with the dumbbells in front of you and bend your hips and knees to grab the weights a little wider than shoulder width. Keeping your weight in your heels and maintaining the natural curve of your spine, pull the dumbbells up towards you as you thrust your hips forward and stand. Reverse the manoeuvre until the dumbbells reach your shins. Repeat this for 3 sets of 10 reps.