Gentle, Effective Workouts (chest and triceps)
Working out is one of the best things you can do to support your body and health. However, working out does not have to be painful. You do not need to spend hours on the treadmill to see results. In fact, engaging in shorter, more intentional strengthening workouts is going to yield more results and is kinder towards your hormones. While working out and staying active is important, ensuring adequate rest and recovery is just as essential. On days where you do not lift weights, prioritize movement throughout the day. Walking, stretching, yoga, Pilates, and dancing are all great activities to get your body moving. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting gentle, strength-focused workouts for you to implement into your routine. After all 5 workouts have been posted, feel free to try them during the same week for a complete workout plan! These workouts can be done at home or in the gym. Feel free to change up the exercises to fit the equipment you have. For example, if you are at the gym and want to do chest presses with a barbell rather than dumbbells or want to do goblet squats with a kettle bell instead of a dumbbell, that is okay. The first workout, which is included below, will be a chest and triceps workout. After that, there will be a glute-focused leg day, a shoulder workout, a back + biceps workout, and a quad-focused leg day. When selecting what weights to use for each exercise, you should be able to make it through all reps with the last few being difficult but not impossible. If you have been working out for a while and are wanting to progress in your strength, do some of the exercises at a higher weight for a lower number of reps. Conversely, if you are just starting out, be kind to yourself and do what you can. Remember to stretch before and after each workout, properly fuel your body, and allow your muscles to recover.
Exercise #1: Chest Press (6-12 reps, 3-4 rounds)
Lying down on either the floor, an exercise ball, or a bench, you will start with the dumbbells just outside of your shoulders. The palms of your hands should be facing away from you. On an exhale, lift the dumbbells up and slightly closer together. In order to keep tension on your muscles, refrain from allowing the weights to touch at the top. On your next inhale, lower the weights back down to the starting position and repeat for desired number of repetitions.
Exercise #2: Chest Flies (6-12 reps, 3-4 rounds)
Lying down on either the floor, an exercise ball, or a bench, you will start with the dumbbells straight above your chest, knuckles facing each other, and a ~10-degree bend in your elbows. Next, you will inhale and open your arms to where you feel a good stretch without compromising your form. Once you feel a good stretch in the chest, push back up to close the dumbbells together on an exhale. Refrain from rolling the shoulders together, keep them retracted backwards. During this exercise, you want to keep a fixed ~10-degree bend in your elbows. This means that your elbows should not bend when you go down into the fly or when you press back up. The movement should be coming from your chest only. The dumbbells and the wrist should be lined up with the nipple line - this will help keep tension in your chest the entire time.
Exercise #3: Overhead Triceps Extension (6-12 reps, 3-4 rounds)
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, engaging your core, and holding a dumbbell by one end behind your head with both hands. Extend the arms, making sure that you do not flare out your elbows. Your palms should face the ceiling and your elbows should face forwards throughout the entire exercise. Bend the elbows and squeeze the triceps to lower the dumbbell behind your head. Extend the arms again and repeat until desired number of reps is achieved.
Exercise #4: Triceps Bench Dips (6-12 reps, 3-4 rounds)
Start by putting your hands on the edge of a bench/chair. Keep your arms in a slightly bent position with the elbows as close to the body as possible. Your legs should be slightly bent & out in front of you with your weight in your heels. On an inhale, lower yourself down in a controlled movement until the elbows form a ~90-degree angle. Use your triceps to push yourself back up to the starting position and exhale. Refrain from completely extending your arms during ascent & widening elbows during descent.
Exercise #5: Skull Crusher to Close Grip Press (6-12 reps, 3-4 rounds)
Begin by laying on a bench with your arms straight up over your chest. Your knuckles should be facing each other, just like they were in the chest flies; however, here, you want your arms fully extended. Bend at the elbows in order to lower the dumbbells outside of your ears. Rather than extending back up, bring the elbows down outside of your chest. From there, press up into a chest press. Your knuckles should face each other the entire movement.