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
1. Hand on knee butterflies – Start this exercise in a seated position, with 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 shoulder. 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.
3. Straight arm shoulder raise – Start 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 turned 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.
5. Chair dips – Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet together. Place your hands 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 and 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.
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 and 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.