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Weight lifting has been shown in several studies to offer numerous health benefits ranging from increasing psychological well-being to promoting weight loss. Many of us however, don’t have the luxury of owning a weight set or belonging to a gym. We can substitute some simple common items for weights as long as we adhere to some basic principles. To increase strength and muscle mass, our bodies simply need applied resistance. This can be realized through elastic bands, isometrics or a Swiss ball.
To help muscles grow, they must have resistance for eight to 12 repetitions and for two to three sets of repetitions. If using an elastic band, for example, the band can be attached to the floor and, by grasping the free end, a curling motion can be simulated. Choose a band that is thick enough so that at least eight repetitions can be performed. If you can perform 15 or more repetitions, it is time to move onto a thicker band.
Isometrics can be implemented almost anywhere and simply involve pushing against an immovable object for a count of five seconds. Pushing elbows outward against the wall can give deltoid muscles a reasonable workout similar to that of a push-up.
Swiss balls can serve as a free weight substitute, and are particularly useful in training the core muscles of the back and abdominals. Performing an exercise such as a sit up while lying on a Swiss ball engages more muscles than if performed on a flat surface. Furthermore, balance and the ability to feel one’s body in space, is enhanced.
You don’t need a membership to a gym to gain strength. Get started—at home—today!.