Simple home workout routine?
January 8, 2013 11:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm adding dumbells to my elliptical and I'm looking for a reasonable home workout routine that I can use as a guideline.

I've been using my elliptical religiously for about two months now, and I'm ready to add some weight training to my 'get healthy' routine. I don't need to be ripped or anything, I'm in my mid-thirties and I just want to get healthier.

I ordered a set of selectable dumbbells, but I don't have a bench. Is there a simple four or five day per week routine that I can use to add these in to the cardio work I'm already doing?

This seems like a job for Google, but most routines that I turn up are billed as 'get ripped in eight weeks' nonsense or P90X-level hyperworkouts. I could use a little more guidance than that.

posted by WinnipegDragon to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

rmd1023, that workout still requires a bench (it is a good link though).
posted by atrazine at 11:39 AM on January 8, 2013

Sorry - you're right. I know you can do bent-over dumbbell rows using a chair rather than a bench, but that won't work quite as well for a chest press.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:42 AM on January 8, 2013

I know some people lean towards heavier weights, but I like the videos at Tone It Up.
posted by hrj at 11:50 AM on January 8, 2013

You can modify a lot of the "ripped" workouts to suit your needs rather than following their "work out like a crazy person 24/7" directions.

For example you can pick a few of the more interesting p90x videos and just do those a few times a week to the best of your ability (they have suggestions for modifying most exercises for people with lower fitness). I find them fairly balanced, and you can always skip/replace any exercises you don't like.
posted by randomnity at 11:54 AM on January 8, 2013

Best answer: Try the StrongLifts 5x5 dumbbell program. It's 3x week, 40 minutes.
posted by jbickers at 11:54 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I really like this beginner bodyweight workout from NerdFitness, which involves lifting weights but doesn't require a bench.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:03 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been looking for a non-bodybuilding dumbbell routine for strength for some time, and keep coming up short. (I have access to barbells, so it's not a pressing question.) So here are some thoughts:

When I'm stuck with dumbbells, I focus on lunges, squats, power cleans, presses, single-legged deadlifts, renegade rows (push-ups plus one-armed row while holding the dumbbell; requires non-round 'bells) farmer's walks, swings, and push presses. If the squats are easy I do one-legged squats or thrusters. If you have/can get/can make a pull-up bar, that would be a dramatic uptick in awesome.

I go as heavy as possible for 3 to 6 reps; less than that means I'm probably losing good form; more than that becomes more about building big muscles instead of strong muscles. Three sets is plenty if the weight is heavy enough; five if it's lighter than I'd like. I aim to get a squat, a deadlift or clean, an upper-body push, and an upper-body pull into every workout.
posted by daveliepmann at 12:07 PM on January 8, 2013

Check out Warrior X-Fit uses resistants bands instead of weights by a good works out. they have a different routine for each day of the month so you don't get tired of doningthe same thing every day.
posted by tman99 at 12:11 PM on January 8, 2013

Best answer: Power 90 is the precursor to P90X, and is a very good workout system which revolves around 3 days of weights and 3 days of cardio a week. It only requires dumbells or resistance bands, and is a good workout for people who want to get fit without doing anything too extreme.
posted by markblasco at 12:18 PM on January 8, 2013

Last year a friend of ours gave my husband and I each a copy of the Men's Health Big Book of Exercises and the Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. These books have a lot of great dumbell-only exercises, including detailed pictures to make sure your form is correct, as well as combinations of exercises to put together for a good workout.

I have been using the women's book for several months and am very happy with the results. There are also exercises to do with a bench, or other equipment, so if you decide to expand your workout, you've got what you need.
posted by blurker at 1:33 PM on January 8, 2013

When I mix in weights, I use the Nike Training Club iPhone app (I think they have Andriod too). They have a bunch of different workouts categorized by goal (Get Fit/Lean/Toned/Focused), level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced), and duration (15/30/45 mins). The workouts are comprised of 30 sec to 2 min drills with verbal instruction. You can also view a video of the exercise if you need it. At most the workouts require dumbbells, a medicine ball, a mat and sometimes a step.
posted by jshort at 1:42 PM on January 8, 2013

jbickers, is that formally associated with the barbell StrongLifts 5x5 program? I see StrongLifts says he has a dumbbell version (at the bottom of this page), but I can't find it. (And he specifically says on his website, e.g. #6 as well as in the 5x5 PDF itself, that his novice program doesn't work without a barbell.)

I like the program you linked to and think it's a good recommendation, but I'm confused.
posted by daveliepmann at 3:57 PM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: For the record, I am now working on this workout from Muscle and Strength.

It's kicking my ass, but in a good way.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:23 PM on February 11, 2013

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