Sometimes, there’s just no way for you to make it to the gym—but that shouldn’t mean that you should skip out on getting a good workout in at home. That’s a simple fact that has become abundantly clear to even the most unimaginative exerciser during the coronavirus pandemic, when most fitness facilities across the country closed their doors.
If you’re lucky (or you’re an iron-pumping international superstar), you might have a garage full of racks, weights, and machines to keep your fitness routine strong at home. But not everyone has the square footage or the cash for their own personal sweat space, so you might have to get creative.
If you don’t feel like running on the roads around your neighborhood and you’re sick of pushups and bodyweight squats, invest in a set of dumbbells (if and when they’re available, that is). An adjustable pair like any of these options can be incredibly versatile and take up about as much space as a small box in a corner.
Check out these workouts that use dumbbells—and household items you can grip just like dumbbells, like water jugs, backpacks, and more—can help you to get in better shape.
This routine shows how versatile dumbbells can be, even when they’re outside of the classic gym environment. Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses isometric holds to build up the time under tension—a go-to technique for building muscle—then pumps up your arms even more by packing in extra reps with a drop set scheme.
- Start standing, holding either dumbbells or water jugs wrapped in your towels at your sides.
- Curl up until your forearms are parallel with the ground, focusing on rotating your palms so they face the ceiling. Hold for 8 seconds.
- Do 8 biceps curl reps, continuing to focus hard on rotating your palms so they face the ceiling.
- Let your palms face each other. Curl up until your forearms are parallel to the ground. Pause and hold for 8 seconds.
- Do 8 hammer curl reps.
- That’s 1 set. Rest 45 seconds. Do 3 sets.
Another routine from Samuel, this workout uses a couch and dumbbells (or a load you have handy) to blow up your arms. Give the full routine a try and you’ll be flexing in no time.