Do you think endless bicep curling will take you from beanpole to behemoth? Then think again. I know a lot of people have super busy lives with countless distractions and don’t always have time to get down to the gym. Alas, what if I told you that it’s possible to pack-on muscle and get stronger without having to go to the gym? You’d think I’d lost the plot no doubt! Thankfully this can be the case, if you know what you’re doing. Here are some of my favourite home workouts for building strength…
First up, in case you weren’t aware, your triceps make up around 60% of your upper arm. So building these will certainly give you more muscle, tone and attention (attention not guaranteed!).
Perform ‘dip’ exercises to aid this. At home I find the best place to do these ones is in the lounge. Sit on the edge of your sofa, place your hands down next to you and then slowly lower your body off. Try to get your bum as close to the floor as possible by bending your elbows and keeping your body in a 90 degree angle before rising back up with your triceps so your bum is back in line with the sofa cushion. Keep your legs straight throughout. If you struggle at first to complete these then keep your knees bent as this will aid you and make the exercise easier.
This exercise is actually quite fun and is definitely all about co-ordination. So if you don’t have loads of that then this is a great one to engage your brain in too.
Sit on the floor with your hands planted behind your back and your legs bent in front of you. Raise your hips upwards so only your hands and feet are planted on the floor. Start walking using your hands and feet to propel you forwards. Muscles Worked On: Triceps, upper arm, shoulders, back, abdominal, hamstrings and upper legs.
Start in a plank position with your forearms shoulder-width apart. Plant your palms on the floor and extend your body upwards, ensuring your torso remains straight throughout. Lower your body slowly to the starting position and repeat. These are amazing exercises for stronger arms, making you ‘feel the burn’ at the middle or even the end of a workout.
Whilst in a seated position raise your dumbbells to shoulder height. One at a time using your thighs to help propel them up into position if you feel this necessary. Make sure to rotate your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing forward. This is your starting position. Now, exhale and push the dumbbells upward until they almost touch at the top. Then, after a brief pause at the top contracted position, slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position while inhaling. Remember to not lock your elbows at the top. You want a slight bend in your elbows like me. Repeat this movement to strengthen your shoulders.
These are my favourite styles of push-up because you can always feel your arms and chest engaging when you do them. For me, if I can feel that engagement straight away then I know that exercise is a winner.
To perform an incline push-up place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on a bed or sofa, with your feet planted on the floor. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Then push your body back up to the starting position. For decline push-ups the movement is the same but your feet will be on the edge of the sofa or bed with your hands on the floor.
If you want to ‘knock out’ some serious fat, get rid of your ‘bingo wings’ and replace them with mean muscle on show, then shadow boxing is the best way to go! Perfect for HIIT style workouts.
The best way to go about this is by adopting a fighting stance and bouncing on your toes as you shadow box. Dip and weave to your hearts content. For best results I would suggest adding some light weights and cycling between low and high intensity punching for a HIIT style workout. You can even blast out some Rocky style music!
Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length. Keep your elbows close to your torso (imagine they have been stapled down) and rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward. This will be your starting position. Now, keeping the upper arms stationary (that means no movement bro-science), exhale and curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Continue to raise the weights until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position for a brief pause as you squeeze your biceps. Then, inhale and slowly begin to lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your buttocks while bending your knees until your buttocks touches your heels (making sure that your feet are flat on the floor, including the heel). Make sure your centre of gravity is over your feet and belly button and your knees are behind your toes. Slowly rise out of the squat focusing on your belly button to maintain your balance. This movement will aid your inner Kardashian to achieve that killer butt.
Skipping your forearms is a cardinal sin, akin only to neglecting your calves on leg day, or skipping leg day all together! Sound familiar? Then it’s time for me to let you know that if you want to turn your spindly forearms into a pair of redwoods, then you need to put the work in.
Try ’The superman’ aka the impossible press-up. Lie on your belly and move your arms up above your head with palms on the floor. From your fingertips and toes, lift your entire body as high as you can before returning slowly to the floor. It’s a killer but after a few goes you’ll be surprised how high you can lift.
Once you nail this movement I have to admit it looks mightily impressive! It engages most of your body, and mental strength is just as important as physical strength for this one. Lets face it nobody wants to fall to the floor from 5-6 feet. I fell when practicing and I smashed my knee pretty hard, so go careful people!
Start in a plank (you’re facing away from the wall), then slowly walk your feet up the wall, moving your hands towards the wall until you’re vertical against the wall with your hands nice and close to the bottom of the wall. Once here pause, keep focused and slowly walk back down the wall using your hands and core to steady yourself. Repeat a few times until you feel that you’re ready to be cast in the next Spiderman movie!
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