Membership costs at most well-known fitness centers seem to be increasing at an mind boggling rate and most institutions force you to commit for a full year. This can be quite a financial burden; for some, it can even be a restricting factor in reaching their fitness goals.
With a little imagination, nonetheless, you can develop a excellent complete home workout that will increase your muscle mass as opposed to your credit card bill.
The following pieces of equipment are not only cost-effective, they also don't take up a lot space in your home. In addition, they are fairly low-maintenance, so you will not have to worry about continuously having to fix or look after them as you would with more costly pieces of exercise equipment like a treadmill.
Finally, many of these are often easily transportable, making them perfect for those people who are traveling a great deal but don't want to devote some time away from their workout routines.
Swiss Exercise Ball:
Swiss exercise balls are specifically good for working your own core muscles since they provide a sense of instability that needs you to employ your abdominal and back muscles in order to steady yourself.
Following are a handful of exercises which can be performed on a Swiss exercise ball.
Swiss ball crunches: This exercise -- that involves lying with the small of your back on the ball and performing crunches as you normally would -- targets your abdominal muscles. Go for 3 sets of 20 to 25 repetitions; focus on performing them in a slow, fluid movement to completely engage each of the (blank).
Swiss ball wall squats: To work your quadriceps and gluteus muscles, place the ball behind your back against a wall. Squat slowly, allowing the ball to roll along the wall against your back. Perform 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions; use a higher rep range as there is no weight involved.
Swiss ball hamstring curls: Lie on your back, place the ball under your feet and slowly lift your hips off the floor. When you have found your balance, use your hamstring muscles to slowly curl the ball toward your butt and back out again. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Traditional exercises: Numerous traditional weight-training exercises -- such as chest presses, dumbbell flyes or lateral raises -- may be while sitting or lying on the ball. You will not only work the muscles specifically targeted through the exercise, but you will also have to use your abdominal muscles in order to stabilize yourself. You will probably want to use a lighter weight than normal due to this added difficulty. Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise.
Here are a few more advanced ball exercises on the ball:
Swiss ball squats: Stand on the ball and perform squats. Have a pal or personal trainer help you onto the ball and spot you; don't attempt to do these on your own, as you could seriously injure yourself. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
Push-ups with hands on the ball: This particular exercise will all your chest muscles, as well as your abdominal and some latissimus muscles. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the ball and, keeping your stomach muscles tight, perform the normal push-up motion. As these are a lot tougher than traditional push-ups, strive for 2 sets of 8 reps.
Exercise mats are ideal for stretching, because they support your joints. You can also perform your ab workouts on them should you experience back pain as soon as your back is pressed directly on the floor. For an (blank) cardiovascular workout, run on the spot or jump rope on the mat. The additional padding will make the exercise substantially tougher.
This is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment around. Because it is very light-weight and will squeeze into a small bag, it's perfect to bring along with you while traveling. Tubing provides continuous resistance throughout your entire range of motion, and you can effortlessly change the resistance by decreasing or increasing the length of the tube.
For the following exercises, aim for 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps.
Double tricep extensions: Place the tube behind your back. Hold one end of it with one hand above your head and hold the other end below; slowly extend both elbows in the upward and downward directions respectively. Make sure the tube offers resistance on both the concentric (stretching) and the eccentric (returning to the starting position) phases of the exercise.
Bicep curls: While standing, hold one end of the tube in one hand and place the other end under your foot; perform the standard bicep curl exercise.
Military press: If you have a long tube, hold one end in each hand and step on the middle of the tube with your foot. If the tube is shorter, hold one end in your hand and place the other under your foot, and perform the exercise one arm at a time. Slowly raise your hands above your head like you would in the traditional military press exercise. This will effectively target your deltoid muscles.
Lateral and frontal raises: Start this exercise the same way you would the bicep curl, but move your arm up straight in front of you or laterally. This is another great exercise for developing your medial and frontal deltoid muscles.
Lateral pulldowns: Attach the middle of the tube on a hook on your ceiling. Hold both ends of the tube and pull them down and out to your sides, while keeping your elbows straight.
Jumping rope is a great cardiovascular exercise as it makes use of your whole body and provides equally as much of a challenge to your heart as running does. Keep your elbows by your sides and only turn the rope with the action of your wrists instead of your entire arm.
Jumping rope is also great for improving coordination. Try to incorporate a number of different types of skips into your workout, for example on a single foot, double skips (flipping the rope under your feet twice before landing), skipping while in a running motion, and skipping while trying to bring your knees up as high as possible.
Start with 5 minutes of skipping and progress until you can skip for 20 minutes without stopping. Have patience if you're able to only go for a minute in the beginning without taking a rest; this is a really intense exercise and definately will take time to build up a high level of conditioning for it.
Dumbbells are probably the most popular at-home workout tools simply because they allow you to train every muscle group, just like at the gym. Buy a set that easily allows you to adjust the weight and comes with a few 2.5- and 5-pound weights so you can incrementally increase it.
Another advantage of dumbbells is that they allow you to add more lean muscle mass than any other piece of at-home equipment; they provide the heaviest resistance and thus challenge your muscles to the greatest extent.
Some great dumbbell exercises are:
For each exercise, perform 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps with a weight that is challenging enough to make your last rep quite difficult.
Nowadays, many men are choosing to set up a chin-up bar in their homes to complete their workout. Usually it can be quite difficult to target your latissimus muscles at home, however a chin-up bar provides a solution.
Exercises you could perform are traditional chin-ups, reverse chin-ups (palms facing you, calling your biceps into play), as well as hanging leg raises to target your abdominal muscles. Perform 3 sets. sets of 15 chin-ups and 2 sets of 20 leg raises.