RBR reader Sam wrote, “In last week’s column Anti-Aging: Spring, Summer and Fall Resistance Training you stress the importance of resistance training for longevity and to address muscle atrophy. I don’t belong to a gym and I don’t want to buy a lot of equipment. What should I have to work out at home?”
Sam, you can do all of the important exercises just using things you have around the house. Here are some principles:
- Body weight exercises are better because you are strengthening both the primary muscles and the stabilizing muscles and you’re also helping to maintain strong bones..
- Multi-joint exercises such as push-ups are more effective and make better use of your time than isolated muscle exercises like biceps curls and triceps extensions.
- Absolute weight in pounds or kilograms doesn’t matter. Use things heavy enough that they make you work.
- Adjust your repetitions to the stuff you use and increase the reps as you get fitter. If you can do 10 reps with a certain thing that’s fine, gradually build to 15 reps. If you can do 15 reps then build to 20 reps.
- As you get fitter add more household goods to your load.
In these photos Coach Dan Kehlenbach is starting to do wall squats. He’s holding a couple of cloth bags of bags of dried beans, rice and other foods. He’s using a fitness ball as a roller to support his back; however, if you have a soccer ball, basketball, etc. it’ll work fine. He’s holding a small ball between his knees to keep his legs in the proper position. You could also use a folded towel.
In these photos Coach Kehlenbach is doing step-ups wearing a loaded back pack. You don’t need a separate step unit any set of stairs will do. Instead of stepping up and down you could climb the stairs wearing your backpack. And you could make it a habit to carry things upstairs instead of taking an elevator, etc.
For your upper body push-ups are better than the bench press. In addition to working your chest and arm muscles, push-ups work your core muscles by holding your body in a straight line just like doing planks. If regular push-ups are too hard then put your hands on a bench so less weight is on your chest and arms. If regular push-ups are too easy then put your feet on the bench to increase the load on your upper body. Or wear a loaded backpack.
In these photos Coach Kehlenbach is strengthening his rhomboids, the muscles in the upper back that help to hold the head up. He’s using a commercial resistance band; however, inner tubes work just as well. For more or less resistance use a heavier or lighter tube.
I have a small bag to carry cycling gear in when I’m driving to meet a friend. In these photos I’m doing the single arm row to strengthen my upper back. My gear bag has rocks in it. I’m stabilizing my upper body with the chair so my back isn’t working.
In an isometric exercise you hold the muscles at a constant tension instead of contracting and releasing, e.g., in the different planks.
In these photos Coach Kehlenbach is doing the overhead press for his shoulder muscles. He’s using dumbbells but you could use small gear bags like I’m doing for single arm rowing.
- 5 Simple Exercises to Keep Cyclists Injury Free
- 6 Muscle Strengthening Exercises to Prevent Cramps
- How to Do Strength Training Correctly
- Anti-Aging: Core Strength in 1 Hour a Week
- Ask the Coach: Strength Training for Older Roadies
- Anti-Aging: 4 Reasons Why Year-Round Strength Training Is Good for You
My eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process describes in detail different strength training programs depending on your goal(s): 1) increase endurance, 2) address atrophy and increase power, 3) improve for hard riding, 4) build stronger bones. I include 30 illustrated exercises for lower, upper and core, which require very little special equipment. I explain how to combine resistance exercise with endurance and intensity training, which varies by season. My 108-page eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process is $14.99.
My eBook Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond: Fit For Life explains resistance circuit training, doing a series of resistance exercises briskly so you are simultaneously doing a cardio workout. I give you almost 40 different exercises to choose among to strengthen your legs, chest, back, shoulders and core. The 40-page Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond: Fit For Life is just $4.99.
My 108-page three-book bundle Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond includes:
- Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond: Fit for Life – 40 pages
- Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond: Peak Fitness – 41 pages
- Cycling Past 50, 60 and Beyond: Training with Intensity – 27-pages
The bundle is $13.50 – 10% off list price for each eBook.
Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written over 40 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio.