The fitness industry can sometimes seem like a bewildering blur of new ideas, with novel diets, workout classes and equipment cropping up constantly surrounded by hype that claims they’re the best possible way to get fit. If that sort of thing leaves you cold, it should be reassuring to know that it can all be ignored in favoured of a far more traditional route to fitness – a set of dumbbells and a few well-planned home workouts.
You might well already have the dumbbells, sitting at the back of cupboard or under your bed. If you don’t then head over to our best dumbbell round-up and pick out a pair. There’s nothing flashy about a set of dumbbells, unless you opt for the semi-magical ones that change the weight for you at the click of a button, but rest assured they are just as effective a way to get yourself in shape as any other.
That’s as long as you know what to do with them, because whatever method you use, the key to getting fit is a consistent training plan. Like the four-week training plan below. The plan in-volves doing three workouts a week (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday), using the set, rep and rest counts detailed below. Aim to increase the weight you use each week as a tangible measure of the progress you’re making throughout the plan – it will keep you motivated.
How To Warm Up
One of the advantages of home workouts is that you don’t have to spend any time travelling to and from the gym, which means you definitely have the time to get a thorough warm-up in be-fore you tackle one of the sessions below.
You only need to spend a few minutes warming up before the workout to be firing on all cylin-ders from the off, rather than creaking your way through the first couple of sets with cold mus-cles. Warming up also reduces your risk of injury during a workout, and it should help reduce any muscle soreness you experience in the days afterwards.
The key to a good warm-up is to work the muscles you’re intending to use in the workout itself. There’s little point in jogging on the spot or doing jumping jacks if you’re about to do a weights session. Instead try this routine, which involves seven stretches that target muscles all over the body, followed by movements that mirror the workout you’re about to perform. Your best bet is simply to perform the exercises you intend to do in your workout using light weights or no weight at all, which will get your muscles used to the relevant movements before you challenge them with added resistance.
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