Feature Archive

Six Steps to a Minimalist Workout

WebMD Feature

May 8, 2000 -- So you're committed to the idea of strength training, but don't know where to start? With these six exercises, you can work all of the body's major muscle groups at home or at the gym. All you need are two or three sets or dumbbells (try 5-, 8-, or 10-pound weights) and a chair.

A few key tips:

  • Warm up for five minutes with light cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking and arm circles, before lifting.
  • Perform one set of 8 to 12 repetitions. Choose weights heavy enough so that the last rep is a real struggle (but not so much of one that you're forced to contort your body). You may need to use a different amount of weight for each exercise. With some of the moves, your body weight may be enough, so you might not need to add a dumbbell.
  • Perform each exercise with controlled movements, taking a full two seconds to get to the extreme position and a full two seconds to return to the starting position. Rely on muscle power, not momentum.
  • Rest no more than 30 seconds between exercises.

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