Example exercises that can be performed at home:
It is not necessary for you to go to a gym to get a good workout. Here are some exercises can be done at home without exercise equipment. A good website which shows exercise videos for machine weights is http://www.ballyfitness.com/rapid_results/...exercise_plans/
Squats: Position your feet shoulder width apart. Be sure to keep your abdominal muscles tight. In this exercise, it is important to remember that the knees should not extend past the toes. This can result in knee injury. To avoid this push the buttocks back as you lower your body to the floor. Lower yourself as far as you can without creating more than a 90 degree bend in the knees or allowing them to move past the toes. In order to keep your legs positioned properly, your upper body will naturally bend forward. Beginners can practice this by placing a chair underneath them. Lower until you almost reach the chair seat. Then raise yourself back up. Do not lock out the knees when you return to the standing position. This can cause injury to the joint.
Lunges: Stand in a forward split with both feet facing forward. Beginners can hold on to a chair or wall to assist with balance. Advanced students can perform the exercise holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend both knees until the reach a 90 degree angle (it may be necessary to extend the foot further forward to reach this point without allowing the knee to extend past the toes. Return to standing in a split stance by pushing through the heel and contracting the muscles in the buttocks. Again, do not lock the knees when returning to this position.
Push-ups: Assume the push-up position either on knees for modified or toes for full-body push-ups. Hands should be positioned under your shoulders. If there is pain in the wrist from this hyperextended position, you can adapt the exercise with the assistance of two large dumbbells. Keep in mind that these dumbbells must flat stabile sides on the weighted ends rather than a round surface. Otherwise, the dumbbell will roll and can result in injury. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and position yourself correctly for the exercise. This position is similar to doing push-ups on your fist, but the knuckles will not be in contact with the floor. Keep your body in alignment. This means keeping your head, back and buttocks in line while performing the exercise. Your head should not be lower and your buttocks should not be higher than the rest of your body. Inhale as you lower your body towards the floor and exhale as you push yourself back up. Do not lock your elbows out when you raise your body back up. This causes unnecessary tension on the joint, and can result in injury. Be sure to keep your abdominals tight and not let your back arch down. If your back begins to hurt, tighten the abdominals and realign yourself. Lastly, remember not to bring your shoulders to your ears while you are performing this exercise. Many people have too much tension in this area and it affects proper form when performing many exercises. Instead, push your chest out in the front and bring shoulder blades together in the back.
Dips: Sit on a bench with hands positioned on the seat next to the hips. Slide the buttocks forward off of the bench and lower until elbows reach a 90 degree angle. Remember to keep shoulder blades back and chest out.
Calf raises: Stand on a step with feet shoulder width apart. Only the balls of the feet should be on the step. The heels should not be supported by the step. Hold on to the rail for balance. Rise up on your toes slowly. Then lower your heels down past the step. Continue for a full set. Note that the only moving joint is the ankle. All other joints do not move during this exercise. Knees and hips do not bend. At the same time do not lock out these joints while performing the exercise.
Back extensions: Lie on the floor face down with hands behind the head or back. Keep the head and neck aligned while lifting the upper body off of the ground.
Crunches: There are many different ways to perform abdominal exercises. Here is an outline of a basic crunch along with important techniques for proper form. Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. To properly work your abdominals avoid having someone hold your feet down. Instead, if you are having difficulty, try stabilizing the lower body by squeezing the buttocks, thighs and feet together; and tighten the abdominals. Avoid any twisting or jerking movements. Cross the hands in front of the chest and bend the head forward (imagine you are holding an apple between your chin and chest). Tighten the abdominal muscles. Begin curling up the shoulders first. Continue through by lifting the upper back while breathing out and maintaining form in the rest of the body. Hold this position for a moment and then lower the body back to the floor slowly while breathing out. Complete a set of 25. If your neck needs support, you can cradle it gently with your hands. However, do not pull on your neck. Remember, your minimum goal for crunches in this class is 150 per session. Once you feel comfortable with basic crunches, you can start adding other variations in your sets.