Siobhan Byrne: Strength training can start at home
Working out with weights needn't be confined to the gym only
I have always been an advocate of keeping the gym separate from your home life, simply because you need to be focused on your training, and it is too easy to get distracted when working out at home.
However, if you have managed to stick with our bodyweight programme over the last few months, then this may be the time to invest in some gym equipment for your house.
You don't need to spend a fortune - just a small amount of kit can have you set up to help take your training to the next level. So, over the next few months, we are going to look at taking it up a notch in the comfort of your own home.
To start with, keep it simple and invest in:
• a small rack of dumbbells. Dumbbells are usually sold in a rack with a variety of weights, enabling you to train different parts of your body,
• some kettlebells,
• a fitness mat,
• a bench. This is great for various exercises, including workouts for the chest and back.
• a Bosu Ball. This makes the core work harder by destabilising the body.
Weights are key for strength training. I'm a firm believer that strength training is the holy grail of a youthful, energised body.
Strength training provides you with better shape and balance in the body while, at the same time, helping fire up the metabolism and burn calories far longer than other cardio alternatives.
You may feel your daily life has enough pushing and pulling in it, with the everyday chores you do, but, unfortunately this does not strengthen or shape the body in the same way.
I can't stress enough how important it is for women to strength-train to help avoid osteoporosis later in life, by helping strengthen the muscles and the bones. However, it is equally important for men to strength-train as testosterone levels drop later in life, to help avoid a collapsed look to the body.
Focus on weights
1/ Stand upright holding dumbbells by your sides with your arms straight.
2/ Take a step backward, dropping your back knee to the floor and leaning your torso slightly forward, with your weight on your front leg. Push off your front foot to return to the start position.
Side lateral on the bosu
One of the main reasons I like this exercise is that it stops the sway putting pressure on the lower back that you can get when standing.
1/ Start by kneeling on the Bosu Ball, balancing with your toes on the ground behind you, with two dumbbells in your hands.
2/ Raise the arms to shoulder height, not allowing the dumbbells to raise above the elbow at any stage. Return to start position.
1/ Start in a squat position holding a kettlebell in each hand between your legs with your arms straight.
2/ Then thrust your hips forward, at the same time swinging the kettlebells out and up to shoulder height. Then let the kettlebells come back to start position. It is important not to swing the back throughout this exercise.
1/ Start in a sit-up position with your feet up off the floor, knees bent, holding a kettlebell at chest level in both hands.
2/ Then twist your torso to one side while lowering the kettlebell towards the floor, then returning to the opposite side. Keep the feet raised throughout the exercise.
* A medicine ball or dumbbell can be used instead of a kettlebell.
Health & Living