Strength training is an important part of any overall fitness programme. It will help you reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, and burn calories more efficiently. Lean muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. Your body fat will percentage increase over time if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose. Strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any ages, so get lifting!
You don’t always need to add to your home gym set up to further challenge yourself and build up your strength. You can try adding more sets, training more frequently, increasing your reps, increasing your time under tension or decrease your rest time. All these variables will attack the muscle building process, without breaking the bank.
We challenged our Muscle Consultants Kyle and Lauren to come up with a lower and upper body strength focussed workout using limited equipment. We understand that when working out at home you’re often looking for a quick, effective workout but lack the space for heaps of heavy and bulky equipment. With that in mind, we gave them some items from a Squad Starter Set which can include a gym mat, a pair of dumbbells, a slam ball, a kettlebell and a set of resistance bands.
Give this lower body strength workout a try for 3 sets. 15 reps followed by 12 reps and finally 9 reps.
Banded Crab Walk
Place the resistance band slightly above the knees. Open the legs slightly wider than hip-width with feet turned slightly outwards. Lower yourself into a squat position. While keeping the upper body still, step to the side and keep the other leg still, holding the tension of the resistance band. Repeat each step in a controlled motion, making sure the inner foot doesn’t turn inwards. Repeat reps leading with the other leg.
Pause Goblet Squats
Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest, with your elbows tucked in as if you’re holding a goblet. As you squat, keep your elbows inside the line of your knees, and your heels on the ground. Go as low as you can in this position, pause for 2 seconds, then come back up pushing through your heels.
Lie on a gym mat with your knees bend and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees beneath your knees, not in front. Place the dumbbell or kettlebell on top of your lower abdominals (below the belly button and above the hip bones). Hold the dumbbell in place with both hands to prevent it slipping. Raise your hips up to the ceiling, tensing your abs and squeezing your bum as you do. You should be making a long diagonal line with your body, from shoulders to knees. Hold for 2-3 seconds then lower carefully back down to the ground.
Banded Good Mornings
With your legs shoulder-width apart, place a resistance band under your feet then wrap the other end around your shoulders. Keeping your knees slightly bent, engage in a hip hinge to move your hips backwards while making sure you maintain a neutral spine until your torso reaches as close to parallel to the floor as you can comfortably get. With the weight distributed evenly through your feet, extend your hips back and squeeze your glutes as you come back up.
Start with your right leg in front of you and your left leg behind you. Your legs should have a little space between them so that your feet aren’t in the same line as each other. Hold a kettlebell by the handle in your left hand with your arm straight down. Keep a straight and tall upper body for stability. Float your other arm out if needed for balance. Bend at both knees keeping the upper body tall. Sink down until the kettlebell reaches close to the ground. Carefully bring yourself up to the starting position. Repeat on both sides.
If you’re looking for an upper-body strength session, give this one a try. 3 sets in total. 15 reps, followed by 12 reps and finally 9 reps.
Alternating Kettlebell Bent Over Row
Lean forwards about 45 degrees so that the kettlebell hangs around shin height. Keep your weight in your heels and bend your knees so you can sit back into the position. Keep your back flat. Using the single arm row the kettlebell up towards your hip as if it’s being pulled by your elbow. Pause slightly at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together then slowing lower the kettlebell back down and swap to the other hand, repeat on the other side.
Floor Press Dumbbells
On a gym mat, lay on your back and bend your knees to roughly 45 degrees and move your feet up slightly. Holding the dumbbells close to your chest, press the weights to full extension. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down until both elbows touch the floor.
Banded Bicep Curls
Stand on the middle of a looped resistance bands. Loop both ends around your hands with your palms facing up. Brace your core and your hands up until they reach about shoulder level, then slowly lower back down to bring your hands by your sides. Dumbbells can also be added into the hands for extra resistance.
Standing Dumbbell Arnold Press
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and core tight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the top of a bicep curl position with your palms facing you. Push the dumbbells up overhead while twisting the dumbbells 180-degrees. Finish in an overhead press position with your palms facing away from you. Slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position, with your palms facing you.
Kettlebell Overhead Triceps Extension
With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the kettlebell in both hands. Lift the kettlebell directly above your head keeping your core tight and your elbows close to your ears. Lower the kettlebell behind your head, bending at your elbows, bring the kettlebell back up the start position. This can also be performed with a single dumbbell.