Dynamic Self Resistance Exercises – Upper Body

The M EffectDynamic Self Resistance

As explained in the previous post, dynamic tension or dynamic self resistance (DSR) exercises, are those where one muscle group acts as resistance to another muscle group. My next two articles will be devoted to setting out a DSR and own-bodyweight program which is low impact, safe, does not require any equipment, and is targeted to work all muscle groups. A significant additional advantage is that most of these exercises can be carried out almost anywhere (even in a traffic jam on the way to and from work, or at your desk). They are perfect for the busy person.

I will start with the upper body and move on to the lower extremities and core muscles in my next post.

Upper Body Workout

Chest Exercises

1. Hand on knee butterflies – Start this exercise in a seated position, DSR-Hand on Knee Butterflieswith legs apart, feet together and hands on the outside of your knees. Use the pressure of your hands to force your knees together whilst at the same time resisting with the latter. Your knees should provide sufficient resistance so that it takes approximately ten seconds to arrive at the end of the movement. Ensure that your arms are almost straight throughout the exercise, in order that you are working the pectoral muscles in your chest and not your biceps. Repeat this ten times.

2. Ball and socket rotations – Raise your left arm straight out in front of you to almost parallel and in line with your corresponding DSR-Ball & socket rotationsshoulder. Bend this arm at the elbow and bring your right hand across your chest towards your right shoulder. Place the fist of your left hand into the palm of the opposite one and push your right arm straight out and across your chest in a circular motion (almost like stirring a massive pot). Go across your body as far to the right as possible while keeping your elbows almost at shoulder level. Repeat ten times and then change over to the left arm, providing resistance to the right. This develops the chest as well as the shoulder muscles.

Shoulder Exercises

3. Straight arm shoulder raise – Straight arm shoulder raiseStart this exercise with your hands by your side and then place the palm of your right hand over the back of your left hand. Keeping your arms as straight as possible, raise your left arm straight out in front of you and then continue the movement straight up until both your arms are both directly overhead. The right hand provides resistance throughout the movement and it should take up to the count of ten to complete each repetition. Repeat ten times before changing hands and use the palm of the left hand to cover the back of the right one.

4. Hand tug of war – Put your hands in front of your chest at shoulder height. The right palm should face you while the left one is DSR-Hand tug of warturned away from you. Clasp the fingers of your hands together and pull your left arm as far over towards your right side as you can, while still providing resistance with your left arm. Then drag your right arm across to the left while providing resistance with your right arm. As with the shoulder raise this should be done slowly and repeated five times before changing hands and positioning the left palm towards you.

Arm Exercises

5. Chair dips – Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet together. Place your Chair dipshands on the seat on either side of your thighs, keeping your heels on the floor. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and lower yourself towards the floor. Straighten your arms, raising your body back to the start position. Chair dips focus mainly on the triceps. The straighter the legs are kept during this exercise, the harder it is to do.

6. Biceps curl – Place the palm of your right hand into the upturned palm of your left hand and clasp the hands together. Begin the exercise with your left hand turned down towards your left side, arm slightly bent and extended forward a bit. Now lift your left hand by bending upwards at the elbow and curling your arm up andBiceps curl towards your chest. Maintain the tension in your right arm. Do ten repetitions. Provide as much resistance as possible with your right arm and count slowly to ten on each repetition. Change arms and repeat the exercise using the left arm to provide resistance to the right.

Forearm Exercises

7. Wrist curls – This exercise is most effective if done while seated. The left forearm is stretched along the length of the left thigh with the hand extending out past the knee and the palm facing upward. Make a fist with this hand Wrist curlsand cover it with the palm of the right hand. Curl the left hand up towards the right forearm with the movement emanating from the wrist. After doing ten repetitions, change hands and do wrist curls with right hand.

Next up, I will detail DSR exercises targeting the lower body and core. Click HERE for a link to the lower body exercises.

Exercise Routines for Busy People

Exercise and Middle Age Health

In first world countries, the combination of inactivity and poor diet is arguably the most common cause of preventable death (in some countries and in some studies it ranks behind smoking). Despite this worrying statistic, approximately sixty percent of middle aged people do an inadequate amount of exercise and when combined with poor diet, this ratio rises considerably higher.

Increase Activity Levels

The M EffectIf you are in this vast majority that does not exercise enough, then the question is why? In reality the most common reason for not exercising during middle age is lack of motivation. However, the most cited excuse is being too busy and not having the time. The benefits of exercise should be motivation enough for any person to start a program. In order to overcome the time restraint excuse, it is vital to formally include exercise in most daily schedules. Furthermore, I strongly recommend changing aspects of your day’s routine, so that it becomes more health and exercise orientated. For instance, climb the stairs instead of using the elevator, or walk to the train station, or park further from work than usual and power walk to the office.

During the lunch break, instead of sitting at your desk, take a walk to the local park or stroll briskly around the block a few times. You could also do various calisthenics or dynamic self-resistance exercises. I will give details on these later.

Healthy Meal Choices

Make healthier meal choices during your time at work and try to stay away from multiple snack breaks. I am a strong advocate of multiple meals but these should be scheduled and as healthy as possible. Include fruit, raw vegetables (such as celery and carrot sticks), and low carbohydrate foods such as (fat free yoghurt). Remember to control the number of calories that you consume on a day to day basis.

Scheduled Exercise

Over and above these unscheduled/routine change exercises, there still need to be formal exercise sessions. It is extremely important to include three to five sessions a week, each one not less than twenty minutes (preferably thirty minutes or more). There are a multitude of different options for these sessions and can include both cardio and strength exercises. I will detail some easy to do strength programs in future articles which can be performed at home and do not require vast outlays of money. Cardio can include walking, jogging, cycling, use of an ergonometer, stair climbing, swimming and a variety of other activities.

I am strong advocate of walking after dinner in the evening, as it is a time when many of us are able to get some free time to ourselves. It is also a perfect way to settle our food, to burn off a few of those dinner calories and to calm the mind before going to sleep.

The M EffectThe remainder of this article will be devoted to explaining calisthenics and dynamic self-resistance exercises. Both of which are perfect for a busy person, who feels he does not have time for exercise. The reasons for this are they can be performed almost anywhere, there is no special equipment involved and the time taken to do each exercise is short.


Calisthenics are gymnastic type exercises designed to develop physical health and vigour. They are performed using your own body weight and need little or no special apparatus. They can benefit both muscular and cardiovascular fitness. Some of the most common calisthenic exercises include lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, shadow boxing, dips and squats.

The following mini calisthenics routine can be done during a lunch break and will take less than 20 minutes:

· 2 to 3 sets of push-ups.

· 2 to 3 sets of lunges.

· 3 to 5 minutes shadow boxing.

· 2 to 3 sets of crunches (or sit-ups if you do not enjoy doing crunches).

Dynamic Self-resistance ExercisesThe M Effect

Dynamic tension or dynamic self-resistance exercises are those where one muscle group acts as resistance to another muscle group. The term dynamic implies there is movement and usually entails a full range of motion of the limbs being used. Dynamic tension exercises were originally made famous by strongman Charles Atlas in the 1920’s and they continue to be used widely today because they are safe, practical, effective and easy to do.

My next posting will be devoted to explaining some of the more common dynamic self resistance exercises. Click HERE to read the next article

Healthy Bakes

Long gaps between meals result in a drop in blood sugar level which often leads to cravings for a quick boost. This is when you are most vulnerable to the temptation for sugary or high caffeine products. It is at these times that you need to look at healthier options. Here are three of my favourite homemade low fat snacks that are both delicious and wholesome.


Peanut Butter Cookies

Low fat and low calorie peanut butter biscuits are perfect for when those cravings for something sweet arise. Only 45 Calories and 2 grams of fat per cookie!

Healthy Snack RecipesMinutes to Prepare: 10
Minutes to Cook: 10
Number of Servings: 36 biscuits


½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
½ cup Splenda
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup peanut butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour



1. Mix all ingredients together.

2. Roll into small balls or drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking tray

3. Press flat with a floured fork.

4. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 8-10 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Amount per Serving

· Calories 45.1
· Total Fat 2.0 g
· Cholesterol 5.9 mg
· Sodium 69.1 mg
· Total Carbohydrates 6.1 g
· Dietary Fibre 0.3 g
· Protein 1.4 g

Apple, Honey and Sultana Muffins

This is an appetizing and nutritious low-fat muffin. If desired, substitute the sultanas with some chopped nuts.

Minutes to Prepare: 10
Minutes to Cook: 20
Number of Servings: 12


Healthy Snack RecipesIngredients

2 egg whites
250g wholemeal plain flour
1 tblsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup low fat milk
4 tblsp vegetable oil
4 tblsp honey
125g chopped apples
½ cup sultanas


1. Preheat oven to 190°C (370°F). Lightly grease one 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper muffin cups.

2. Lightly beat egg whites.

3. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients thoroughly.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, oil, honey and apples. Gently fold egg whites into the wet mixture. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Fold together lightly. Batter will be lumpy.

5. Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake about 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Nutritional Information
Amount per Serving

· Calories 145
· Total Fat 5 g
· Saturated Fat 0.7 g
· Sodium 237.2 mg
· Total Carbohydrates 23.2 g
· Fibre 2.8 g
· Protein 3.9 g

Apricot and Date Bran Loaf

This is a delicious, moist fruit loaf that is great on its own or spread with a little ricotta cream or margarine. It has loads of bran to help satisfy your daily fibre requirements. It takes a little longer to prepare and bake but the end product is worth the effort.

Minutes to Prepare: 20
Minutes to Cook: 70
Number of Servings: 20


½ cup All-Bran
⅓ cup toasted whole almond kernels
Healthy Snack Recipes1 cup self-raising white flour
½ cup self-raising wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
60 g melted mono or polyunsaturated margarine
140g apple puree (see ‘tip’ below)
⅓ cup skim milk
¾ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup chopped prunes


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

2. Grease and line a 19 x 9 cm (base measurement) loaf pan.

3. Place All-Bran and almonds into the bowl of a small food processor and process until resemble fine crumbs.

4. Sift flour and spices into a large bowl, return husks and stir in almond mix and sugar. Whisk together the eggs, margarine, apple puree and milk and then add this to the flour mix. Blend together and stir in dried fruit.

5. Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth top.

6. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the loaf. (Cover the loaf with tin foil after about 50 minutes cooking, if it starts to darken too much.) Remove from the oven and leave in pan for 5 minutes. Then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

TIP: Apple puree tubs or tins are found in the canned fruit section in the supermarket.

Nutritional Information
Amount per Serving

· Calories 113
· Total Fat 4 g
· Saturated Fat 1 g
· Sodium 56 mg
· Carbohydrate 17 g
· Fibre 2 g
· Protein 2 g
· GI est. low to medium 0 g