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Many women underestimate the positive changes that resistance training can provide. Some believe that they would become big, huge and develop massive muscles. The truth is that unless you plan to compete or become a professional bodybuilder then you have nothing to worry about. Resistance training increases energy, burns body fat, develops lean muscle to give you a toned look and it may even slow the aging processes. Emotionally it gives you a sense of strength, and self- confidence. If you have never exercised before I strongly suggest that you consult with a physician. Your physician will determine if it is safe for you to engage in any program.

This workout is especially designed for women who don't have access to a gym nearby, or for those who prefer exercising in the comfort of their own home. Very little equipment is needed in fact, I suggest investing in resistance bands and a swiss ball. Both items can be purchased at a local sporting store or neighborhood Target. If you don't have these items handy, don't worry I've compiled a simple workout using items around the house. Items such as a towel, cans (soup cans work best) water bottles, broomsticks, and chairs can be used for resistance. Using your bodyweight alone also works.

Before starting any exercise program you must consult with your physician. If you feel any pain or shortness of breath stop exercising immediately.

For beginners, the following workout should be performed 3 times a week with a day of rest in between. To increase your fat burning stores, do aerobic exercise following the resistance training for 20 minuets. All resistance training should be performed at 12 repetitions with a rest of 1-2 min between sets. If you cannot do 12 reps, don't worry, in due time you'll get the hang of it.

Total Body Circuit

Free standing squats - Stand with legs shoulder width apart, for balance hold on to a chair now slowly lower your body as if you were going to sit. Be careful not to round you back, you will prevent this by looking straight ahead. When squatting make sure that your knees do not go past your feet, otherwise you will risk injury.

Chest press- Using soup cans, lie on your back make sure that there is no arch in your back, press the small of the back to the floor. Now with the soup cans resting near your shoulders, carefully bring the cans straight up, then lower back to the starting position.

Back row - You can use water bottles for this exercise if you'd like. Just make sure they are light enough for you to use. In a standing position, bend at your waist so that you are horizontal to the floor. With your water bottle (or soup can) hanging straight down, gently pull up with your arm bringing the bottle to the side of your abdominal.

Shoulder press - Sitting in a chair with your back straight bring the cans to ear level, with a 90 degree angle with your elbow. Gently raise the cans overhead pause then lower.

Bicep curls - Standing with feet together back slightly arched. Have a can or water bottle in both hands, now slowly bring up the weight to your shoulder, then bring the weight back down to the starting position.

Tricep kickbacks - Again, bend your body at the waist, holding a can in one hand, rest your arm on the back of a chair. Bring the weight up with a bend at the elbow. Your weight should be resting by the side of your abdominals. Now bring the weight up, think of the movement of a hinge, just bring the weight up and back down.

Broomstick Twist - Place a broomstick across the back of you upper back. Hold the broomstick a little wider than shoulder width you will also want to stand at shoulder distance. This movement is very simple, just twist your body from side to side.

There you have it! An alternative exercise program. Without the use of fancy gym equipment.

Joanna is a Certified Fitness Trainer, mother and wife. She has been associated in fitness for the last 13 years and enjoys helping others achieve their fitness goals. To contact her please email her at [email protected].


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