Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
4) HOW TO LIFT WEIGHTS WITHOUT LIFTING WEIGHTS
The biggest mistake that women's magazines make is they suggest using light weights like baked bean tins, and yet still give the reader unrealistic expectations about how this will help them Lose 1 stone in 6 weeks or Get Cheryl Cole's body in 7 days. If you've read any of my other posts, you'll know my answer to that is a big NO YOU CAN'T.
As I've already mentioned, the key to success with exercising is progression, and using tins means at some point you'll be as strong as you need to be to lift those tins... if you weren't before you started the workout programme, because I imagine you take them out of the cupboard, open them and pour them into saucepans.
So these are my suggestions for improving those initial exercises once they're too easy. You will need: a two plastic bags and things to put in the plastic bags (possibly baked bean tins, but make sure you have more than two!), and an exercise band (link for Amazon, but you can buy them at Tesco and Holland & Barrett amongst others)
For all of these exercises you need to do 12 reps, rest for 30 seconds, then do at least 2 further sets. Once you can do that, you need to find a progression. If you're stuck, I'm always here to help!
1) Press ups - the best chest exercise!
The easiest version is against a wall.
Stand with your hands on the wall, slightly wider than shoulder width.
Push yourself beck to the start position, making sure you're using your arms, not your legs or hips!
Once you can do 12 reps x 3 sets, using your stairs is the next stage (or a chair if you don't have stairs)...
Move down the steps once it gets easy again until your doing the press ups on the floor.
2) Standing rows - using exercise band. If you buy this band, it will usually come with some exercise suggestions. This exercise is usually shown seated, but I like doing it standing because it means your core muscles (link to diagram on T-Nation) have to engage.
Wrap the band around something secure, and stand with your arms straight, one leg in front of the other for stability. Pull the band towards you, making sure your elbows are pointing directly behind you.
This exercise is also possible with a skipping rope. You would wrap the skipping rope around something secure, stand with your feet close to the post, hold the handles of the skipping rope and lean back keeping your body in a straight line (like the press ups above). Then pull yourself back to a standing position using your arms, not your legs.
3) Lateral raises. This shoulder exercise is one where those baked bean tins might come in handy - start with one in each hand, then progress. In the photos below I'm using the band and some plastic bags with tins in them, 2 in each to start with, increasing as I get stronger!
Starting position, hands by side Raise arms, so they are parallel to floor. Alternative method!
4) Lunges... ish
Taking the stairs, two at a time, means your glutes (the muscles in the bum) have to really fire. Take it very slowly, and hold those plastic bags filled with food tins or books. A baby also makes a great weight, because they keep getting heavier!!
So, there you go. Hopefully I've given you a few ideas on how you can take exercises from magazines or the internet and tweek them to make them hard enough. The only way to get stronger and build muscle is to lift a weight that feels hard to you. Always try to push yourself a little bit beyond your comfort zone and gradually you'll notice shape and definition. And remember, the more muscle you have the more calories your body will be using, even at rest!
I hope this post was worth waiting for.
Have I missed anything out? Is there an exercise you'd like me to address?
Are these instructions clear enough to follow?