Add variety to your workout by training with barbells and dumbbells at home.
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You can get an effective strength workout at home using barbells and dumbbells. Barbells are usually about 4 feet to 7 feet long. The weights are placed on each end, and you can load up to 800 pounds on a barbell. Dumbbells can be up to about 18 inches long and range from lightweight 2-pound weights up to 50 pounds or more. Dumbbells are good for beginners and for those who want to concentrate on their upper body and chest muscles. A barbell may be a better choice for more experienced lifters. You can get a good lower-body workout with a barbell.
Your muscles experience tiny tears in the tissue when you lift weights. The tears in your muscles may be why you feel sore after a vigorous workout. You need at least 48 hours between workouts to allow your muscles time to heal. The more vigorous your workout, the more time you may need between workouts. Muscle soreness may persist for one day to several days. To avoid overuse injuries and muscle strains, train each muscle group no more frequently than two non-consecutive days each week. You can work your upper body one day, your core the next day and your lower body on the third day. A Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule, for example, will give your muscles time to heal between workouts.
Chest and Arms
Dumbbells can be used to do shoulder raises and chest fly exercises that cannot be done with a barbell. A good workout for your upper body includes incline bench presses, chest flyes and triceps extensions for the back of your arms. Start by doing eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise. Rest for about 1 minute between each set of exercises. Try to do three sets of 10 repetitions, eight repetitions and then six repetitions. Rest and repeat two more times.
Core and Back
Bent-over dumbbell rows, barbell deadlifts and dumbbell crunches work your core, arms and back muscles. To do dumbbell crunches, lie on your back and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows and keep your arms close to your body. Hold the dumbbells close to your head with your palms pointed toward your ears. Holding a dumbbell adds greater resistance to your crunches for more abdominal activation and a better core workout. Do three sets of 15, 10 and then eight repetitions of each exercise. Beginners can start by doing two sets of eight and then six repetitions.
Legs and Thighs
A barbell is the better choice for working your lower body. Place a barbell across your shoulders behind your head. Keep a firm grip on the barbell and do some squats, and make sure that you use proper technique. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and keep your back straight. Hinge your body at the hips and lower your upper body straight down to a seated position. Avoid leaning forward. Squats work your lower back, abs, quadriceps and buttocks. Do some calf-raise exercises to work your calf muscles while holding the barbell across your upper back. Move to the lunge exercise to strengthen your quads, glutes and hamstrings. Finish your lower-body workout with a set of deadlifts to strengthen your lower back and hamstrings. Do three sets of each exercise -- 12 repetitions for the first set, 10 for the second and then eight repetitions for the last set.
You need to understand how to use dumbbells and barbells before you begin a home-based strength-training program. You can sustain serious injury if you do not use proper form when lifting weights. Find a qualified weight lifting instructor to help you learn the proper form and technique when lifting weights. Do not lift heavy weights without a spotter, especially if you are lifting a heavy barbell while lying on a weight bench. Don't hold your breath when you lift weights. Holding your breath can cause you to pass out. Don't try to lift more weight than you can handle. Stop lifting if you feel pain and seek medical attention if pain persists. Warm up before and cool down after working out by doing some light cardio.