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A Pair of Dumbbells, Thinking outside the Box

Everyone knows how great a pair of dumbbells can be and the exercises that one may perform to stay fit, but have you ever thought about what other exercises can be done besides your traditional ones? Your traditional lifts such as squats, bench presses and rows can all be done with the dumbbell; however doesn’t this workout get boring after a while? For those of you who agree with this, then this is the article you’ve been waiting for. A variety of functional exercises can be performed with the dumbbell that will lead to overall strength, endurance and flexibility increases. By adding these exercises to your repertoire you are more likely to achieve the results you’ve been looking for.

Let us start with the dumbbell swing. Typically this is done with a kettle bell but using a dumbbell can still be used to increase leg power, strength, core strength and tone up those arms. Stand with feet approximately shoulder width apart or slightly wider and grasp the end of the dumbbell with both hands. Pushing your butt back and bending your knees slightly, swing the weight back between your legs. Your torso should bend forward and your hips should move back for balance. Extend your knees and hips to drive the weight forward and up. Straighten your hips, stand up and swing your arms up to lift the weight over your head. The power for the lift should come almost completely from the hip extension. Your quads and arms should not be doing much work. Return to the second position by lowering the weight back between your legs, leaning forward, bringing your hips back, and bending your knees slightly. This exercise is sure to leave you sore!

The next exercise is called the a-frame which builds your core, legs and shoulders. Start with the feet a little more than shoulder width a part and squat Down to a 90-degree position. Hold the dumbbell on both sides and raise it above your head. Holding this position with your lower body, bring your hands down to the right foot, then back extended above your head then back down to your left foot and repeat. Remember to keep a flat back and keep your chest up and out!  After a few rounds of this you will be sure not to forget the a-frames.

The low windmill is ideal for a beginner, as it helps teach the mechanics of the exercise. Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Turn your right foot outward about 45 degrees, and place your body weight on your left foot by pushing your hip out to the side. Push your left arm straight up and bend your upper body forward so that your back and legs are straight. Turn your head and look at your left arm while grasping a dumbbell from the ground with your right hand. Stabilize the muscles in your buttocks and raise your upper body upward, lifting the weight with a straight right arm from the ground. Rise until you are standing straight using the muscles in your core, back and shoulders. Bend down and repeat the movement nine more times, then switches to the other side.

The last workout I will tell you about is the walkout row to tuck. Start with 15-25 pound dumbbells and place them on the ground shoulder width apart. Grab onto the dumbbells while in the push up position and begin with a left arm row to right arm row then you jump your feet up right behind the weights and back out to push up position. After this you walk the weights forward with each arm and your feet then repeat. This can be done for time or for distance such as down and back on any given length. This workout builds your core, arms, back and cardio vascular system.
To enhance any of the exercises it is a good idea to combine these into a circuit with forty-five seconds of activity on and fifteen seconds of rest between each station. Being creative with dumbbells is a great way to keep engaged into a workout regimen. The same old workouts time and time again only last so long. By incorporating these, not only is it more fun but you are also building a strong body that can be functional in everyday activities as well as a strong cardio vascular system.

Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.

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