Exercise without Equipment: How to Do a Workout at Home

Keep fitness simple with these six low-tech, easy exercises.

| March/April 2013

We all know that regular exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy. But for those of us in need of a refresher course, let’s consider the many benefits exercise offers: It releases natural “feel-good” chemicals, boosting mood and relieving stress; strengthens and prevents brittle bones; enhances immunity by increasing the rate at which antibodies flow through the bloodstream; and helps deliver more nutrients to the skin, resulting in a younger-looking complexion.

Fortunately, staying in shape doesn’t require expensive equipment or specialized instructors. Using nothing more than a pair of dumbbells and your own body weight, you can do a challenging workout at home, while traveling or just about anywhere. In fact, strength and body-weight training will be among the most popular fitness trends of 2013, according to a recent survey by the American College of Sports Medicine. Instead of trying the latest fad or paying hefty gym membership fees, stick to this low-maintenance exercise routine you can do anywhere—all it requires is a pair of dumbbells (start with five to 15 pounds).

6 Simple Exercises

Complete this exercise routine in a circuit—quickly moving from one exercise to the next after completing the specified number of repetitions. Try to make it through the entire circuit two to three times.

Before starting your workout at home, warm up with cardio for five to seven minutes. For even better results, follow with 15 to 20 more minutes of cardio. Some great options include jumping jacks, small sprints and jump rope intervals. Note: Check with a doctor before making fitness changes.

1. Bicep curl and plié squat with upright row. Place your feet wide, keeping toes turned out and elbows glued to your sides, and curl a pair of weights into your chest while bending your knees into a plié squat. (Try to bring thighs parallel to the ground.) Squeeze everything (especially glutes) as you come up, straightening your legs and bringing weights back down. Flip your hands so that your palms face you and raise the weights into an upright row (bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle), keeping weights in near your chest. Release weights down and repeat. Sets: 12 to 15

2. Push-up and toe touch. Complete 10 push-ups, followed by four toe touches on each side. To do a toe touch, stay in plank position (top of a push-up) and bring one leg underneath your body, touching your toe with the opposite arm. Focus on your oblique muscles during toe touches. Sets: 10 push-ups and four toe touches on each side; do this twice

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