Home Gym Weight Loss Routine

Pointers for devising a weight loss plan using your home gym.

Weight training is no longer for guys who want to spend all of their time at the gym. Study after study has proven the benefits of a weight training program for just about anyone. Weight training strengthens your bones, makes you less susceptible to injuries, and can even aid in weight loss.

Weight training as an aid in weight loss works in two different ways. Muscle requires more energy (also known as calories) to maintain. This means that the more muscular your body composition, the more calories your body will require just to maintain itself, giving you that elusive "fast metabolism". The other benefit to weight training is that a more muscular body fits into a much smaller pair of jeans than a person of the same weight who has a higher composition of fat. It is sort of a twist on that old joke, which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks? Well of course a pound is a pound, but a pound of bricks would be very small, probably not even one brick, while a pound of feathers would probably fill up a large trash can. Likewise if your "pounds" are small and firm they will look much better than the pounds of someone who is soft and flabby.

So now that you have made the decision to begin a weight training workout, you have to decide on a program that will work for you. An at home gym is easy to set up and relatively inexpensive. You can actually start with nothing and do exercises that use your body weight as resistance. Once you are ready for more of a challenge, do to your local super center or sports store and pick up some dumbbells. When purchasing dumbbells, my preference is to get the metal ones that you can add weight plates to, as opposed to the neoprene ones that come in two or three pound increments. This will be cheaper in the long run, not to mention take up much less room. You can, of course, purchase a weight bench or other pieces of larger gym equipment if you like, but you can get a perfectly adequate workout using your body weight and dumbbells.

Once you have your equipment assembled, it is time to devise your workout plan. First, decide how many days a week you plan on lifting weights. If you can only fit in two days, you may want to plan a full body workout for each day. If you can lift weights three or four days a week, you can split your body parts up and have a different workout for each day. For each body part complete one or two of the listed exercises, with your eventual goal being three sets of ten to twelve.

Biceps: Bicep curl, hammer curl, concentration curl. For the bicep curl, hold a weight in each hand, palms up. Slowly curl up until your palms reach your shoulders, then slowly lower down. The hammer curl is the same basic exercise, but you hold your hands with your thumbs up as opposed to the palms facing up. For a concentration curl sit down, rest your right elbow against the side of your right knee. Dumbbell in hand curl up, parallel to your chest and ending at your shoulder. Do all the repetitions on one side before switching to the other.

Triceps: Triceps extension, Triceps kickback, Triceps dip. To do the Triceps extension, hold a dumbbell with two hands over your head, straighten arms over head, and then lower. The Triceps kickback is completed by leaning forward, right knee on a chair or bench, right hand in front of knee for balance. With the dumbbell in your left hand, straighten your arm behind you, bending from the elbow. Do all the reps on one side before switching . The Triceps dip is basically a reverse pushup. Sit on the ground leaning back on your hands, raise your rear so that you form an incline from your feet to your shoulders. Lower your body by bending your elbows, raise yourself up and repeat.

Chest: Chest press, chest fly, pushup. For the chest press, think of it as a bench press without the bench. Lay on the floor, knees bent. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, out to the side and beside your chest, raise and lower the weights slowly and with control. To do a chest fly, remain in that same position, but bring your arms in, palms facing, so that the weights touch over your chest, straighten back out to the side and repeat. Most people are familiar with pushups from gym class, but as a reminder, if you do not follow proper form with any of these exercises, including the pushup, you negate the effectiveness of the exercise.

Back: Bent row, rear fly, pushup. For the bent row, stand bending over, weights hanging in front of you. Pull the weights straight up toward your chest, elbows out. Lower with control. Rear fly, maintain the same starting position, but the weights come out to the side, imagine pinching your shoulder blades together at the top of this movement.

Abs: Crunches, all types, including holding a weight plate across your chest as you crunch.

Legs and Rear: Squats and lunges. These can be done with or without weights. For the squat, you stand feet shoulder width apart, and bend your knees as if you are getting ready to sit in a chair. Stand back up and repeat. For the lunge you step forward with your right leg, bend both knees, straighten, and return to your starting position.

Calves: Calf raises, stand on a step with your heels hanging over the edge. Raise and lower your body.

Devote four to six weeks to a weight training program and you will be amazed at the results, and that will be all the incentive that you need to stick with it.

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