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When you were a kid, snow days were fun. They meant breaking out the mittens, coat and hat, and making snow angels getting in snowball fights. But now snow days just screw up your plans for getting to the gym. But that’s no excuse for skipping your workout.
With a little improvisation you can still get a great workout at home by utilizing principles to increase workout intensity when weight and variety are limited. If you’ve got a few sets of dumbbells and some kettlebells, you can get a kick-butt workout at home. No snow days off!
When planning your training week around a snow day, prioritize body parts such as back that necessitate special equipment or high poundage to train well at the gym. However, legs, abs, shoulders and chest can be trained respectably with just some free weights and bodyweight movement.
The key to getting a great workout with limited equipment and lighter weights is using variations that increase intensity. This workout will employ multi-joint movements, unilateral work, higher sets, supersets and bodyweight exercises.
Chest and Shoulder Workout
Rest 45–60 seconds between each superset and each group of supersets.
Stand with your feet between hip- to shoulder-width apart, with the bell on the floor roughly six inches in front of you. Hinge your hips behind you, keeping a slight bend in the knees. Maintain a flat back as you grab the handle of the ‘bell (still on the floor) with both hands and tilt it slightly towards you. (This position engages the hamstrings and lats for optimal swing performance.) Swing the bell through your legs behind you while keeping it close to your upper inner thighs to help protect your back. Next, thrust your hips forward, squeezing your glutes and allowing your legs to extend to a standing position. At the top of the swing (the ‘bell should not go beyond chest level), contract your abdominals. Allow the momentum to bring the weight and your hips back to the start at the same time.
Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the floor and step your feet back so you’re in a push-up position – with your head, hips and heels all in line. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body toward the floor for the negative. When you’re nearly touching the ground with your chest, extend your arms quickly to explode to the start.
Seated Alternating Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Sit on a chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height. Palms should face forward and elbows are just below shoulder level. Slowly push one weight up, stopping just short of locking out your elbow. Control the dumbbell all the way down until your upper arm is parallel to the floor and repeat with other arm.
Slow Forward-Leaning Push-Up
Start in a push-up position. As you lower your body, shift your weight forward, toward the front of your shoulders. Heels push back while you roll forward on your toes. Slowly lower slowly for a three-count, then return to start.
Dumbbell Low Chest Fly
Stand with dumbbells about six inches away from your sides, palms facing up. With elbows steady in a slightly bent position, bring the weights up and together to meet at your chest at eye level. Slowly lower to start and repeat for reps.
Dumbbell Close-Push Chest Press
Lay on the floor with dumbbells directly above your chest, palms facing together, and press dumbbells together. Begin by lowering the weight to touch your chest, then pressing back up to extended elbows. Squeeze dumbbells together throughout the entire movement.