Basic Exercises to Do at Home


Performing basic exercises at home does not require the use of expensive machines or numerous dumbbells. When you perform exercises at home you will be able to schedule your routines around your working hours, not the gym's. These exercises require the use of one set of dumbbells and while a weight bench is beneficial it is not required to execute these workouts. Prior to performing any of these exercises, speak with your physician to ensure its safety, especially if you have had a previous injury.

Upper Body Exercises

  • There are a total of seven major muscle groups within the upper body. These include the deltoids, pectorals, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, triceps, biceps and the abdominals. Throughout a vigorous exercise routine, you can target each of these muscle groups individually; however, many exercises utilize two or more of these muscles, such as the shoulder press, which uses the deltoids (shoulders) and the triceps (back of the arm).

    Pectorals (Chest) Exercise: Start this exercise by laying flat on your weight bench, or the floor, and choose a pair of dumbbells that will fatigue this muscle group within fifteen repetitions. With your back pushed firmly against the bench, or ground, grab the dumbbells so your thumbs are pointing towards each other. Slowly lift dumbbells towards the ceiling; do not fully extend the elbows. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat for a total of 15 repetitions.

    Deltoids (Shoulder) and Triceps Exercise: Choose a weight that is not excessively heavy. Be careful not to overexert yourself because this can cause damage to your shoulder joint. Sit on your weight bench or on a sturdy chair and grab your dumbbells. With your palms facing outward, bring the dumbbells up to ear-level and slowly lift them toward the ceiling. Perform a three-count movement, which means taking three seconds to lift the weight to the top of the movement and three seconds to return the weight back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 12 times in one set, with a goal of two sets.

    Biceps: Stand with one foot six inches in front of the other and slightly bend your knees. Grab your dumbbells so that your thumbs are facing the ceiling and your palms facing each other. The weights will be in a vertical position, not horizontal like in a standard bicep curl. Carefully contract your biceps by bringing your wrists toward your shoulders. Keep your elbows locked firmly by your side; the only part of your body that should be moving is your lower arms. Repeat 15 times per set with a goal of three sets.

    Latissimus Dorsi (Back) Exercise: Carefully choose your weights for this exercise because excess pressure will be placed on your lower back. Create a wide foot stance, with one foot in front of the other, as if you were performing a lunge motion. Bend your knees and bring your chest towards the floor while keeping your back straight and your head facing forward. Grab your dumbbells and with your palms facing each other pull the weights towards your back, bending your elbows as you lift. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position and repeat this movement for a total of 12 repetitions.

Lower Body Exercises

  • There are four main muscle groups within the lower body: the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and buttocks. The following exercise engages all of these muscle groups within one movement. If you have a current or previous knee injury, consult with your physician before starting.

    Three-Part Squats: The first part of this exercise is a standard squat. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly perform a squatting motion. To properly perform this movement, keep your back straight and your chest up. Pretend that you are sitting in a chair and bend your knees until your torso creates a 90-degree angle with your quadriceps. Perform 20 repetitions of this movement. Next, separate your feet six-inches wider than the first position and perform 20 squats. Lastly, create a wide stance, with your feet pointing outwards, and place your hands on your hips. When you squat down toward the ground, glide the hands along your thighs toward the knees and gently push your knees outward to stretch the inner-quadriceps. Perform a total of 20 repetitions.

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