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Exercise, although tough and tiring in the beginning, often becomes an addiction for people who go to the gym regularly. Following a regular routine creates a habit and one might feel something is missing if the workout doesn’t take place.
With the current pandemic situation, maintaining social distance is a must for one’s own safety and thus going to the gym might not be the safest option even if they open up. For professionals, it’s never an option to sit at home and wallow about how the gym is closed and that they can’t workout. People who follow a heavy workout routine, would have definitely switched to a home based workout routine that caters to their need.
Usually, people who go to the gym follow a routine based on their body parts. Each day can be dedicated to a single muscle group, as there are enough exercises for one to get exhausted.
Most of the exercises, apart from targeting a major muscle group, often targets other additional muscle groups. So, performing one exercise helps to work on the growth for a few other muscle groups as well.
Combine exercises: However, most people pair up two most commonly associated muscle groups, so that they can work on this group twice a week. The major muscle groups include chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, leg muscles including buttocks and calf, abdominal or core muscles.
Enthusiasts who have weights or dumbbells at home are at an advantage as the extra weight helps additionally train the muscle. But for others, a bunch of advanced body weight exercises should do the job.
Follow a fitness plan:
We can differentiate the exercises according to specific body parts, which might be common for other muscle groups as well. A combination of various exercises in the form of sets and reps can help build an exercise regime that can be followed each week.
Adding new exercises or increasing the repetitions will help put more strain on the muscle.
Chest and triceps muscle group can be combined together as the exercises target both the muscle groups. Individual muscle group exercises are also mentioned below.
Targeted Muscles: One of the commonly performed exercises, they tackle both the triceps and the chest, as well as the shoulder muscles.
• Lay on the floor with the stomach facing down. Support the body weight with palms placed shoulder distance apart at chest level.
• Push up applying strength from the chest, triceps and shoulders, also remember to breathe out when pushing up.
• Breathe in while coming down and repeat the process. Each push up is counted as one repetition. One can choose to do as many as they want.
Targeted Muscles: This exercise requires more strength from the triceps muscles.
• It starts by getting into the push up position and then bringing the palms closer to each other while bending the elbow a little.
• Try making a diamond shape with the fingers, touching the thumbs and index finger of both hands to each other while the palms stay on the ground.
• Perform push up in this position and follow the similar breathing pattern in case of regular push up.
Targeted Muscles: This exercise requires immense strength and focuses on the chest muscle.
• It can be performed on a set of parallel bars. Support the body weight by the palms keeping the elbow straight, bend the knees so that they stay off the ground.
• Now bend the elbows to dip the body down and then push it back up to the initial position.
• Inhale while going down and exhale while pushing up.
• For people who find it easy to perform these or have been doing these for a long time, they can always add additional weight using chains on their legs.
Targeted Muscles: Mainly focused on the triceps muscles, this exercise needs a bench or a support.
• Sit on the bench and support the body with palms, elbow bending backwards. The feet can either be on the ground or on an elevated surface.
• Take the buttocks off of the bench and dip down so that they travel towards the ground. Push backup when it reaches a few inches above the ground.
• If the legs are placed on an elevated surface, additional weight can be added on the legs near the groin area, to make the exercise difficult.
Targeted Muscles: It encourages explosive strength in the chest and shoulder muscles.
• It is very similar to the regular push up and requires to be in the same position.
• The only difference is when pushing up, one must exert explosive power and lift the upper body off the ground while the toes still touch the floor.
• When above the ground, before reaching back on the floor, a quick clap is performed. Reaching back to the initial position, the process is repeated.
Targeted Muscles: This provides more strain on the chest muscle and is a good way to stretch them.
Instructions: It is another variation of the regular push up where the hands are placed at a wider distance compared to the regular push ups.
Targeted Muscles: It increases the strain on the chest and triceps muscles.
• One can opt to perform either a downward or upward incline push up depending on the resistance they need.
• Upward incline rests the hands on a bench or a low heighted table while feet are still on the ground, reducing the weight being applied on the arms.
It is called so because it looks like Spiderman climbing the wall when one performs this push up.
• When performing this, one hand needs to rest further ahead while the other arm remains in the regular push up position.
• When going down, the leg is stretched upwards at a 90˚ angle to meet the elbow of the arm closer to the body. After placing the leg in the original position, the process is repeated with the alternate arm and leg.
The next set of muscles that can be grouped together are the back and biceps muscles. As various common exercises involve the use of both of these muscles, it is efficient to pair them.
One of the most common back and bicep exercise, they are a part of most of the training programs and help improve the upper body strength.
Targeted Muscles: It targets the wings, upper back and biceps.
• It is simple and involves hanging the body weight from a bar, gripping it with the palms.
• Pulling up the whole body applies strain on the shoulder and back muscles.
• One can choose to breathe out when pulling up and breathe in when going down.
Targeted Muscles: This exerts more force on the back muscles, helping them grow.
Instructions: Similar to a normal pull up, it just involves keeping a wider space between the arms while doing the pull up.
Targeted Muscles: This works the biceps muscle more and helps build stronger biceps.
Instructions: This involves maintaining a narrow grip while performing the pull up.
Targeted Muscles: Due to a different arm position, the exercise heavily relies on the power from the biceps muscles.
• Lifting the body weight is still the aim of the exercise, but the difference is in the grip.
• While the arms face away in normal pull ups, in this case, the arms face towards the body, making it easier to lift the body up.
• The whole body is lifted enough for the chin to stay above the bar.
Targeted Muscles: This applies immense pressure on the biceps muscle and one might start to tremble.
• This involves performing normal chin up with the arms facing you.
• Once the chin is above the bar, maintain and hold this position for as long as possible.
Targeted Muscles: This applies pressure on the back and the biceps muscles.
• Another variation of the pull up, it involves standing under the bar so that the bar passes straight above the head equally dividing the body in half.
• This can be achieved by standing in the normal pull up position and then turning 90˚ to either side, whichever is comfortable.
• Now grip the bar with one hand slightly behind the other and thumbs facing oneself, pull up and try to touch the right shoulder to the bar.
• Go down and repeat the same, this time touching the left shoulder to the bar. Alternate between the shoulders for each repetition.
Most of the biceps training is done with additional weight in the gym. If one has access to a set of dumbbells at home, they can perform all variations of biceps exercises.
• But for people who do not access to gym equipment at home, an elastic band can be an alternative.
• Secure the band under the feet or under the knees if it is small. Extend the arms and hold the band in the palm such that the elbow is facing away from you.
• Now pull, bending the elbow and squeezing the biceps muscles. The strength needs to be applied from the biceps and the elbow needs to be maintained in the same position.
The next muscle group, shoulders, can also be paired with the other muscles or performed individually.
Targeted Muscles: It is a strenuous workout for the shoulder muscles as well as for the back, it also helps stretch the leg muscles.
• The starting position is an inverted ” V ” position with the arms in straight line to the back, buttocks in the air and the toes on the ground.
• The transition involves moving from this position into a push up position, but while doing so, bend down as if one is ducking something.
• It is a similar transition in Surya Namaskar, moving from a downward dog (inverted V) position to an upward dog position, but the body need not touch the ground.
• One can return back to the original inverted V position and start again.
Targeted Muscles: This solely targets the shoulder muscle.
• The pike position is the inverted V position.
• After setting in the inverted V position and maintaining the arms in the same line of the body, one can push down maintaining the V posture and folding the elbows.
• Then push back up to the original inverted V position.
Targeted Muscles: The pressure however is distributed more on the shoulders than the other muscle groups in this variation.
• Opposite of the incline push up, this involves placing the feet at a higher level, on a bench and the arms on the ground.
• Apart from this, the technique is comparable to a regular push up.
Although a difficult alternative, they can be performed for shoulder muscle development but one must be attentive and careful.
Targeted Muscles: This variation applies excess load on the shoulder.
• The body doesn’t need to be balanced and one can use the wall to support the body.
• Raise the feet and keep them supported on a wall while supporting the body weight on the hands.
• Now, push down by bending the elbows and push up.
• Maintain an upward plank position by balancing the body weight on the extended arms.
• Now take one hand off the ground and tap the alternate shoulder, then return back to the original position.
• Repeat with the other hand and keep alternating between them.
Targeted Muscles: Apart from being a core exercise this also plays a role in developing the shoulder muscles.
• This position involves turning to one side and maintaining the body weight on the forearms and the toes.
• One can choose to hold this position according to their comfort level. Alternatively switch the sides applying load on both the shoulders.
Moving on to the biggest muscle group of the body, legs, the exercises variations are fairly large in number and can be performed at home without any additional weight. Although anybody who wishes to use extra weight can do so.
Targeted Muscles: Common part of the leg exercise routine, they focus on the thigh and the buttock muscles.
• Maintain a few feet between the legs and bend the knees, propelling the body towards the ground.
• Try to maintain the upper body in a straight line when doing so, also maintain almost 90˚ angles at the knee and the ankle.
• Push the body back up using the thigh muscles, repeat the same as long as needed.
Targeted Muscles: This applies explosive force on the thigh muscles during the jump and the landing.
• Another variation of the normal squats, the squat procedure is the same.
• The difference is only when pushing up. When doing so, explosive energy needs to be applied to propel the body above the ground and then land back on the feet and go back into the squat position.
Targeted Muscles: Lunges target similar muscle group as squats but apply more force due to the use of individual leg for each repetition.
• It involves lunging forward with one leg, bending the knees and moving towards the ground so that the rear leg(knee) almost touches the ground.
• Switch alternatively between both the legs and try to maintain the balance.
• Additional weights can be held in both hands to increase the load.
• This requires performing regular lunges in a stationary position.
• When switching the legs, one needs to jump so that both the feet are in the air. Jump is followed by moving the rear leg forward and vice versa, then landing to perform another lunge.
Targeted Muscles: This exercise seems a little easy but the repetition requires immense stamina and endurance of the leg muscles.
• Place a box, about waist high depending upon the comfort and jump to land on both legs simultaneously.
• Come down and repeat the process for as many repetitions as needed.
• One can also choose to climb the box, using one leg at a time.
Targeted Muscles: Often referred to as Pistol squats, this requires enormous strength in the thigh muscles.
Instructions: It is similar to performing a squat but only with one leg at a time, stretching the other leg forward, in the air without touching the ground.
Targeted Muscles: They are another set of exercise that often require a lot of endurance.This exercise puts pressure on the buttock muscles and can enhance the shape to form a round and firm buttock muscle.
• The position is simple, sitting on all fours (palms and knees). Then bend one knee inwards, towards the chest before kicking it out, maintaining a 90˚ at the knee and the heels facing upward.
• Keep repeating this with one leg before switching to the other one. One minute for each leg can prove to be exhaustive.
• One can also change the routine by alternatively moving the leg sideways.
Targeted Muscles: One of the less common exercises, this also develops the thigh muscles.
• The back is rested against the wall with the hands adjacent to the upper body and the lower body is maintained in a squat position. The thighs make a 90˚ angle with the upper body and also at the knees.
• Maintain this posture for as long as possible. Legs can often tremble due to the excessive isolation force on the thighs but they are a good way to build strength.
Targeted Muscles: It is aimed at the smaller muscle group called the calf muscles.
• They are an easy set of exercise and don’t require any equipment.
• Standing straight, raise your heels off the ground so that the body weight falls on the toes.
• This compresses the calf muscles. When coming down, maintain distance between the heels and the ground, then repeat the same process.
• Additional weight can be held in both hands to make the process a little more tough.
The last set of muscle group that everyone strives to work on, are abdominal muscles or abs. They are very hard to build as people often focus on the exercise but forget the diet part, which is equally important to make a good set of abs. Most of the core exercise can be performed at home and just requires determination.
Aim: This helps for a flat set of abs.
• Most important and basic core exercise, it involves maintaining the body weight on the forearms and the toes, with the stomach facing the ground.
• While doing so, the abdomen and glutes need to be tightened.
• Lay on the floor with the back on the ground and arms extended upwards.
• Raise the legs off the floor and raise the upper body, with the extended arms, try to meet the toes.
• In doing so, one contracts the abdominal muscles. One can also hold this position for a few seconds before going down, which will put more strain on the abs.
Aim: They improve core strength drastically.
As the name suggests, it involves raising the legs, one can perform this while lying on the floor or while hanging from a set of bars.
• When laying down, legs are raised a few inches above the ground and held in that position. One can also choose to raise legs all the way up and bring them down slowly thus expanding the abdominal muscles and maintaining the pressure.
• When on the bars, legs can be held straight and raised at the hips, to make a 90˚ angle between the upper body and the legs.
Targeted Muscles: This applies pressure on the upper ab muscles.
• The back is kept flat on the ground with the legs bent at the knee, making an inverted V. Hands are placed behind the head for support.
• The upper body is slightly raised.
Targeted Muscles: This position helps apply more strain on the oblique muscle group.
• The legs, in these type of crunches are maintained up making a right angle at the knee.
• Similar to normal crunches, the upper body is raised slightly to apply pressure on the abs, but the elbow is stretched towards the opposite knee. This is done alternatively with both elbows.
Targeted Muscles: Engaging the core not only helps the ab muscles, but activates the oblique muscles as well.
Instructions: In this variation, the body weight is balanced on one forearm with the body turned towards the side. Arms can be switched alternatively.
Targeted Muscles: This engages the lower abdominal muscles.
• Similar to a leg raise, once can perform it on the bars or on the ground.
• The process involves, raising the legs alternately and going back down without letting them touch the ground.
Aim: When lifting the hips, try to engage the core, which will improve the core strength.
Instructions: While lying on the ground, raise the legs and hips off the ground to apply most of the weight on the shoulders.
There are many other exercises that promote the complete body strength as well as engage single muscle groups like bear walk, burpees and mountain climbers, which can be used as a part of any muscle group training and endurance training.
Some of the above mentioned exercises can be difficult in the beginning, but with practise, they’ll prove to be a boon to the body. They help grow muscles and contribute to maintaining a healthy system, including the heart and the other organs.
An NHS study has stated the following health benefits of performing regular physical activity.
• Almost 50% lower risk of colon cancer.
• Almost 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis.
• Also nearly a 30% reduction in the risk of depression and dementia.
That is a considerable reduction in major health risks by just committing to any physical activity for a few hours a week.
The quote “Prevention is better than cure” is apt in this situation.
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