Video: Dumbbell Workout - in conjunction with the University of Hertfordshire's Sports Village

Patrick Turner, 23, is a health and fitness coach at the University of Hertfordshire Sports Village. Patrick graduated with a degree in Physical Education from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2006 and subsequently completed his personal trainer qualific

Patrick Turner, 23, is a health and fitness coach at the University of Hertfordshire Sports Village.

Patrick graduated with a degree in Physical Education from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2006 and subsequently completed his personal trainer qualification.

You may have read last month's article explaining the benefits of using a Swiss ball as a fitness tool in the home. This month's fitness article will expand on this and help you to add variety and fun into your home workouts.

This time we focus on providing an introduction to using dumbbells. Dumbbells are an ideal fitness tool for the home as they are low cost, convenient, easy to store, and they can provide variety to your workout. Beginners, intermediates and advanced users can have a very effective full body workout by completing the following series of exercises. Warm Up Before starting this workout participants should ensure they have fully warmed-up. This will help to prepare the muscles for the stresses that will be placed on them and also help mobilise the joints. Both will help prevent injuries from occurring. Some warm up suggestions are below (try to do a minimum of five minutes warm up). • March on the spot - one minute • Jumping jacks (star jumps) - one minute • Jog on the spot (get knees up) - one minute • Jog on the spot (bum kicks) - one minute • Skipping - one minute • Step ups - one minute Main Workout Squat, Curl, Press


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This is an ideal exercise to start with as it involves the whole body. Done properly you will be exercising: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, biceps, triceps, deltoids and the core muscles (deep abdominal muscles).

Place your Swiss ball on your lower back and against a wall (if you don't have a fitball you can do it without). Stand with your feet positioned at shoulder width apart, toes in front of knees. Hold your dumbbells by your sides. Keep your back straight and your head up (imagine holding a tennis ball under your chin, this will ensure your neck and spine stay in neutral alignment). Squat down allowing the Swiss ball to roll up your back until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you squat down curl your arms up (ensuring that you keep your elbows tucked into your sides and keep your upper arm stationary throughout the movement).

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As you push up through your heels and straighten your legs, turn your palms so that they face away from you and push your arms up to the ceiling, allowing the dumbbells to meet at the top.

Return your arms to your sides. Repeat. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, ensuring a 30 second recovery between sets. Dumbbell lunge and curl: (Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, biceps)

Holding dumbbells in each hand, stand tall, pull your shoulders back, lift your chest up and look straight forward.

Place one foot forward into a big stride. Slowly, and under control, bend your knees so that your front leg is in a right angle position (knees should remain behind or in line with toes; if the knee comes over the toes you should take a longer stride). Stop lowering yourself when your back knee is just about to touch the floor. Hold this position for a second and then gradually start to straighten your legs again until you're back to a standing position.

Complete the desired number of repetitions on that leg and then switch legs and repeat.

Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, ensuring a 30 second recovery between sets. Dumbbell chest press: (Pectorals, triceps, deltoids)

Lie on your back on the floor with your arms straight up to the ceiling. Hold the dumbbells directly over the centre of your chest with your palms facing forwards.

Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle so that your upper arms are parallel to, and touch, the floor. Press the weights back up to the starting position, meeting above the centreline of the body.

When lifting the weights focus on keeping the dumbbells balanced and under control (taking two seconds to lower the weights and two seconds to raise the weights.)

For more advanced participants, you can use the Swiss ball. Rest your head, neck and shoulder blades on the Swiss ball. Feet should be hip-width apart and hips pushed upwards. Perform the chest press as detailed above (please note that this will place stress on the lower back and so it is important that participants have a good base level of fitness and strong core muscles). Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, ensuring a 30 second recovery between sets. Reverse flyes: (Back and deltoids)

Lie face down placing the Swiss ball on the abdominals and hips (place your feet against a wall etc to provide a little stability). Hold your dumbbells in front of the ball, hanging down towards the floor. Face your palms together and extend your arms up to the sides so that your upper arms are in line with your shoulders (ensure that you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pause briefly and then slowly, and under control, lower the arms back down to the starting position.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, ensuring a 30 second recovery between sets.

Dumbbell side bend: (Obliques)

Stand straight up with your feet hip to shoulder width apart.

Hold your dumbbells by your sides. Keep your back straight and your head up. Bend to the right as far as possible (keeping the dumbbells close to the body, reaching down to the knee) and then repeat on the left side. Make sure that you bend from the waist and not at your hips or knees.

Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, ensuring a 30 second recovery between sets.

Stretches

Stretching out the major muscles that have been stressed during this workout is essential. Doing so will limit the extent at which the onset of muscle soreness will affect you in the next 24-48 hours.

Start with a five-minute cool down (similar to the warm up) and then stretch out each muscle that you have worked (holding each stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds).

Further information on Hertfordshire Sports Village can be found at www.hertssportsvillage.co.uk

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