Fitness Tip: How to Add Resistance Without Having Weights!
What if I told you that you can get your resistance training in without having access to a gym, a pair of dumbbells, or any weights at all?
It’s a beautiful Spring day here on Long Island, and I write this to you from my parents’ home. Every Tuesday and Friday, I visit my hometown of Port Washington, and work with my grandmother on rehab from hip replacement surgery last summer, and my dad on improving his strength, tone and overall cardiovascular health. My cousin is also here visiting, so it’s been nice catching up with her this morning :-)
Now then, back to the pile…
A lot of people who want to incorporate resistance training into their routines think that they need a gym, or at the very least, a pair of weights (like dumbbells) to accomplish this. And sure, if you have access to those things, it makes resistance training a hell of a lot easier!
That being said, there’s a method of resistance training called Dynamic Resistance that can insure you save the excuse of not getting your workout in because weights aren’t readily available to you, or because you can’t get to a gym.
Basically, when performing an exercise with Dynamic Resistance, you’ll tense the muscles in the region(s) that particular movement works, and act as if you’re holding those dumbbells or that barbell in your hands. This will mimic a similar amount of the firing that your muscles would incur while actually holding weights, and is a SAFER form of resistance because you’re merely using your body to provide the resistance, as opposed to a pair of weights that you can lose control of.
So, for example, if you’re performing a shoulder press with Dynamic Resistance, start by positioning your hands by your ears like you would with weights, tensing the muscles in your arms, your shoulders and your core. As you press up, keep those muscles flexed. The mere motion you’re going through will activate the right muscles at the right times. Maintain this position while you complete your set.
If you want, try this out while sitting in your chair right now. Do a quick set of 12 shoulder presses, bicep curls, whatever! You’ll be amazed how similar the set will feel to using actual weights…
Dynamic Resistance is very popular in the yoga and pilates worlds. Personally, I used to be a big weightlifter, and would do crazy shit, like squatting 600 lbs, leg pressing half a ton (literally!), and thus, regularly putting a lot of stress on my joints. In my early 20s, I felt like I was falling apart, and had to cut back significantly on the amount of weight I was using.
Instead, I switched to using lighter weights, focused on proper form, and was able to keep my muscles strong without punishing my body…
A few years ago, my buddy got me a yoga DVD program as a gag gift. I put off even checking it out for six months, since at the time, I was of the persuasion that yoga was for sissies. However, my aches and pains started really flaring up, and at that point, I was willing to try ANYTHING to get relief!
Outside of going to an acupuncturist and a chiropractor, I began doing yoga 3–4 days per week, and saw AMAZING results! My flexibility increased significantly, and most of my aches and pains alleviated within just a couple of weeks. On top of that, I learned about Dynamic Resistance during this time, and saw that I was actually BUILDING muscle despite not lifting weights anymore.
To this day, I only lift weights 1–2 days per week, and use Dynamic Resistance in my other 3–4 weekly workouts!
Try this out next time you feel like ditching a workout because you don’t feel like going to the gym, or you don’t have access to any weights. You won’t only ditch the excuse, but you’ll get a killer workout in!
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