Chair and Dumbbell Workout: Beginner
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Fitness

Chair and Dumbbell Workout: Beginner

Designed by celebrity trainer Robert Reames, this simple, step-by-step workout can be done at home with a chair and 5-, 8-, or 10-pound weights.

Warm Up

If you prefer using free weights in your workout, the Chair and Dumbbell Workout is a good choice for you. You can pick weights that are appropriate for your level of fitness. As you get stronger you may want to move to a heavier weight. You'll also need a sturdy chair, like the one shown, with solid legs and no cushioning or slippery fabric.

Warm Up

  • 4-5 minutes cardio equipment of choice, marching in place, or walking around
  • 10 seconds of arm circles front; 10 seconds of arm circles to the back
  • 12 high knee lifts (alternate 6 per side)

Knee Push-Up

Target: chest, shoulders, triceps, and core

Positioning

  • Kneel down and place your palms flat on the floor, directly in line below your shoulder joints, as shown. (You may want to place a towel or pillow just underneath your knees to prevent any knee discomfort.)
  • Draw your belly button into your spine, activating your supercenter.
  • Keep your body in one straight line; do not let your back arch excessively or let your body waver.
  • For optimum neck alignment, keep your face down.

Motion

  • Bend your arms to no more than a 90-degree angle, lowering your chest nearly to the floor.
  • Do not arch your back excessively during the motion.
  • Straighten your arms as you push your upper body up away from the floor.
  • Keep your palms fixed at the same position and keep your body straight.
  • Try not to bend or arch your upper or lower back as you push up.
  • Continue for the recommended number of repetitions.

Tip: There actually are three variations of the push-up that you can do, if you wish: The wall push-up, the knee push-up, or the standard push-up shown at left. Perform the one that is most comfortable yet challenging for you at this point.

Single Arm Dumbbell Pull

Target: Back, biceps (elbow flexors), rear shoulder, and core

Positioning

  • Begin with your knees slightly bent, with one hand on a chair or bench for added stability.
  • Grasp a dumbbell in one hand, and fully extend your arms toward the floor.
  • Keep your upper body almost parallel to the floor, as shown.
  • Look down to assure optimum neck alignment.
  • Draw your belly button into your spine in order to activate your supercenter.
  • Keep your body stable throughout the exercise.

Motion

  • Pull the dumbbell up to where your elbow just passes your body.
  • Your arm will form a 90-degree angle at the top of the motion.
  • Extend the dumbbell back down to the starting position.
  • Continue the exercise for the recommended number of repetitions and immediately perform the exercise on the other side.

Basic Squat Press

Target: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps (comprehensive lower body), and core

Positioning

  • Stand nice and tall with your feet and heels firmly planted to the floor, slightly further than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed toward the front.
  • Activate your supercenter by drawing your belly button in toward your spine.
  • Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and hold them at your sides. (You may even do this squat press motion with no dumbbells at first; then add the dumbbells for more resistance when you feel that you are ready.)
  • Keep your knees in a "neutral" position -- not locked or hyperextended.

Motion

  • Bend your knees to no more than 90 degrees (go to a comfortable range of motion).
  • Make sure your knees track directly over your toes.
  • Extend your rear end, as if you are attempting to sit down on a chair.
  • Descend slowly to maximize every repetition.
  • Return to the standing position.
  • Continue for the recommended number of repetitions.

Tip: Place a chair or bench behind you, especially if you've never done this exercise before. When you do that you guarantee that you're performing this exercise with correct form because sitting is such a familiar motion.

More Exercises

Chair Bridge (pressing motion)
Target: Glutes and hamstrings (hip and thigh areas)

Positioning

  • Lie flat on your back.
  • Place the backs of your feet and ankles on a chair or bench, with your knees bent.
  • Rest your arms at your sides.

Motion

  • Lift your hips and pelvic area up and toward your face while driving the backs of your feet into the chair or bench. Your rear end will come up off the floor.
  • Raise the hips and pelvic area as high as you can, but do not exceed the range of motion shown.
  • Lower toward the starting position, stopping just before your rear end hits the floor, and continue the exercise for the recommended number of repetitions.

Superman (Core)
Target: spinal erectors, low back, and glutes

Positioning

  • Lie facedown on a mat with your arms fully extended overhead and your legs straight.
  • For optimal spinal alignment, keep your face toward the mat. (If this arm position feels uncomfortable in your neck and shoulder, you can place your arms at your sides.)

Motion

  • Lift your arms, your chest, and your legs off of the mat, as through you are flying.
  • Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Note that you are holding this Superman position and not performing the number of reps like you may do in the other exercises.
  • Continue the exercise for the recommended number of static repetitions.

Standard Crunch (Core)
Target: Entire abdominal region

Positioning

  • Lie on your back on an exercise mat.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your head for added neck support.
  • Look up at the ceiling to maintain optimal spinal alignment.

Motion

  • Leading with your chest, raise your upper body toward your knees while keeping your hips stable.
  • Lower and continue the exercise for the recommended number of repetitions.
  • Do not rush this motion, especially on the downward phase.

Workout Summary

Follow this routine 30 minutes a day, three days a week on alternative days. For three of the days that you aren't doing the routine, you'll do 30 minutes a day of Metabolic Burst Training. The other day is for resting.

*Exercise Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Knee Push-Up 2 sets of 10 reps 2-3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 3 sets of 12 reps
Single Arm Dumbbell Pull 2 sets of 10 reps (on each side) 2-3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (on each side) 3 sets of 12 reps (on each side) 3 sets of 10 reps (on each side) with added resistance
Basic Squat Press 2 sets of 10 reps 2-3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 3 sets of 12 reps 3 sets of 10 reps with added resistance
Chair Bridge 2 sets of 10 reps 2-3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 3 sets of 12 reps 3 sets of 10 reps with added resistance
Supermans 2 sets of 3 (static) reps 2-3 sets of 3 (static) reps 3 sets of 3 (static) reps 3 sets of 3 (static) reps
Standard Crunch 2 sets of 10 reps 2-3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 3 sets of 12 reps 3 sets of 12 reps

 

*Increase the resistance when it begins to feel too light or too easy.

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