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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weight training without a gym...upper body workout

Before I show you what I am doing, I highly recommend that you read the Body for Life book.  It explains everything much more clearly than I can.  It is very motivational too.  I am re-reading it and it is really helping me fully buy in to the program once again.  I can't stress enough how important that part is.  You have to understand what to do and believe in your mind that you can do it and WANT to do it.  Otherwise, you are wasting your time. 

Here is the upper body workout I will be doing for the next month.  According to the Body for Life program, you alternate workouts like this:
Monday - upper body
Tuesday - cardio
Wednesday - lower body
Thursday - cardio
Friday - upper body
Saturday - cardio
Sunday - free day

As you can see, you work a body area about every 5 days.  This allows time for your muscles to recover from being sore and also to get stronger.  Nearly every time you work out on this program, you will notice that you get a little stronger each time if you do it by the book...again, read the book!

Probably the best time to exercise is in the morning, but yesterday, I didn't have time in the morning.  I did this last night while everyone ate dinner (I ate later).  I happen to have a complete set of dumbbells in my garage.  I bought them used many years ago and they have been gathering dust.  In fact, one of my missions for today is to clean up the equipment so I can get to it and use it easier.  If you don't have dumbbells, I am sure you can google other ways to do upper body exercises.  These are just what I will be doing.  Of course, if you have a gym membership, that's even better!! When you do these sets, you will rest for about 1 minute between each set.  For example, do your first set of 12 reps and then rest one minute, then do your next set of 10 reps and so on.

The wall push ups I did started out very much like this and then as I did more sets, I backed my feet further from the wall and then used the front of my car and then got on the ground for the final sets.  I did 5 sets total.  12 reps the first time, then made the exercise a little harder (simulating adding weight) by backing my feet further out and did 10 reps.  Then I did 8 reps and then 6.  My final set was back at the position I did the 8 reps at before and I did 12 this time.  I immediately followed that last set with this:

Using a 5 pound dumbbell, I did bench flies.  I did 12 reps.  It's important to do all of these exercises slowly and deliberately so you are not just throwing the weight around.  You don't get any benefit out of that.  When I was finished with this exercise (the one set) I was finished working my chest muscles.  Next came back.

I chose to do bent over dumbbell rows.  For my first set of 12 reps, I used a 5 lb. weight.  The set of 10 reps, I used 6.5 lb weights.  For the set of 8 reps, I used 8 pounds and the set of 6 I used 10 pounds.  I then picked the 8 pound dumbbells back up and did my set of 12 reps and then immediately went to the next exercise:

Bent over lateral raises.  For this one, I used the 5 lb. weights and was very strict about my form.  Getting your back muscles is tricky.  You really have to contract them when you do the exercise and it doesn't take much weight, especially at the beginning.  When I completed the single set of 12 reps of this one, I was done with my back.  Next came shoulders:

This exercise is called a military press.  I used very light weights for this one.  You will feel it!  Again, first set is 12 reps and I used 2 lb. weights.  Next set 10 reps, I used 5 lb.  Next set 8, I used 6.5 lbs.  Next set of 6, I used 8 lbs.  I then used the 6.5 lb weights to do my final set of 12 reps and then immediately followed that with:

Shrugs.  This is a very simple exercise that you can do.  I used my 8 lb. dumbbells and did 12 reps.  I was then finished with shoulders and moved on to biceps.

This photo shows a "hammer curl".  It's called a hammer curl because you hold the dumbbell like a hammer to do the exercise.  It's just one of many different ways you can hold the dumbbell when you are doing bicep curls.  The important thing to remember when doing any type of curl is to not let your arms relax at your sides between reps.  See the first picture of the guy?  See how his arms are still slightly raised up?  This keeps the muscle from relaxing between reps and makes the exercise more effective.  You will feel the difference when you do it right, your arms will get tired quicker and that's a good thing!  Do the sets the same as you did the other exercises.  First set 12 reps, then increase the weight slightly for each of the following sets while dropping the number of reps, 10, 8 and 6.  When you get to your final set of 12 reps, go back to the weight you used for the set of 8 reps.  Then immediately follow that with another set of 12 reps with your hands turned in another direction (for example, instead of the hammer curl, do the traditional curl with your fist pointing upwards) and this will be your final set for biceps.  Triceps are the final upper body exercise.

I like bench curls for triceps.  The illustration above shows how to do it.  If you don't understand the illustration, go to youtube and look it up.  It's very simple and you can do it using your couch or a chair or a weight bench.  Do the exercise in the same way you did the others, sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 and then 12 again.  As you go down in the number of reps, move your feet a little further away from the bench to get more resistance.  Follow this exercise with this one:

Tricep extensions.  use a light weight and be sure to hold your elbows in toward the side of your body, pointing straight up to the ceiling in order to get the tricep muscle.  Do one single set of 12 reps and you are done!


Angie said...

I needed more ideas for upper body toning! Excellent tips!

Diana Burfield (BettyShmetty) said...

I'm glad they are useful to you Angie...I am sore today!

body transformation challenge said...

As always, it is a pleasure! I love it when I find there is more to a muscle than I had originally thought. Thank you for teaching me/us these helpful exercises!