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Work Out at Home Without Equipment

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If you want to start a workout routine or supplement your workouts, consider building (or enhancing) strength at home with a program that is efficient and worthwhile. It is quite easy to do. You do not need fancy equipment, just a commitment to work out regularly and be creative.

Start with push-ups to strengthen your triceps, shoulders and chest. Make sure your spine is straight and in line with your behind. Hands should be wider than the shoulders. You can do these on the floor with bent knees or straight-legged ones. You can also be at angle and lean against a surface a few feet off the ground, such as a table or couch.

Add dips to work out your arms. Use a sturdy bench, table, or chair 1-2 feet above the ground. Place your hands behind you so your butt is in the air and your knees are bent at 90 degrees. With your feet firmly on the ground, lower your butt to the ground until your arms are bent at 90 degrees. Push back up. Repeat three sets of 15-20 reps.

Try planks. Planks will work your entire core, and they are adaptable to make more challenging. Start by getting in a push-up position. Rest on your forearms. Tighten your glute muscles and straighten your spine. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute, rest and repeat two more times. For a greater challenge, try a side plank, where you will rest on one forearm and the outside of the same foot. Another option is to do a plank to push-up. Start in the plank position, then move down onto your forearms so that you are in a forearm plank, then lift yourself back up to a full plank position. Do 12 reps in a set.

Go for glute bridges to build your core. Get on the floor and lie on your back. With feet hip-width apart, lift your hips off the ground to form a tabletop with your body. Do 10 reps up and down, with the 10th one holding at the top for 30 seconds.

Perform biceps curls, triceps, shoulder raises and bent-over rows by using either a gallon of milk, a heavy book or home dumbbells to create resistance. You could also invest in an inexpensive set of resistance bands. Biceps curls are your front arm curls and triceps are the back of the arms where you can either do an overhead triceps press or do a triceps kickback by leaning on a bench or chair. Lift your arm behind you and keep lifted while you extend your arm and then bend it back into position. Shoulder raises can include front raises, overhead raises or lateral (side) raises. Bent over rows can be performed with one leg on a chair or bench, and the opposite leg holding some resistance and rowing the arm with elbow coming up above the back.

Add lower body to the mix: jumping jacks, high knees, box jumps, squats and lunges. You can use the household resistance items or free weights to add intensity to squats and lunges. Lunges are great for building butt, hip, and hamstring muscles. It is important, however, to have correct form, bending your knees to 90 degrees and lowering straight down to the floor. Squats should be performed with your feet hip-width apart, back straight and head up while bracing your core. Lower yourself down into a squat as if you are going to sit in a chair. For that matter, have a chair behind you to give you a target and sense of sitting down. Keep your spine straight and your knees right above your toes.

Allow one to two days of rest between similar workouts. Focus on form with quality over quantity. Consider three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions for a rule of thumb. Time to get your workouts at home started!

Need help from a professional trainer? Check out Ochsner Fitness Center

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