Your home muscle-strengthening programme

Siski Green ( 15 June 2015 )

No need for the gym or fancy equipment - just tins of baked beans and a chair and you're ready to go, writes Siski Green



What to eat on workout days

Once you’ve started on this resistance training workout, make sure you feed your muscles too. "Appetite and protein requirements reduce as you age, but you still need to supply your body with enough protein to maintain muscle mass," says registered nutritionist Carina Norris. "The amount of protein you need varies according to whether you’re male or female: a man aged 50-plus needs 53g a day, a woman of the same age needs 46.5g. Eat chicken, lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, or pulses (beans and lentils)."

The muscle building workout

You need:

  • two tins of baked beans (start with small tins of sweetcorn if beans are too heavy. If beans are too light, invest in some small weights) 
  • a chair 
  • wall 
  • a mat or rug to lie on

How often you should do this workout

  • Do this workout two or more times a week. 
  • Start with one set of 12-15 repetitions (or until you begin to feel as though you can’t do another repetition) of each move
  • After a few weeks progress on to two sets, then three. 
  • You shouldn’t feel any pain during these exercises.

Exercises to build muscle

Face The Wall

Press-up, works the chest Stand about a foot away from a wall, with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands flat against the wall and lean forward until your forehead is nearly touching the wall, then push back to your starting position. Repeat this move 12-15 times (or until you begin to feel as though you can’t do another repetition).

Take The Chair

Single-arm row, works the upper back 

  • Put your left knee on the seat of a chair and hold the back of the chair with your left hand, bending over at the hips so your upper body is nearly parallel to the floor. 
  • Holding a tin of beans in your right hand, let your arm hang straight down, then raise the tin, allowing your elbow to bend, until the tin is level with your chest. 
  • Try to raise your elbow as high as you can. Lower your arm.
  • Repeat this move 12-15 times (or until you begin to feel as though you can’t do another repetition).

Have A Seat

Squat, works your upper leg muscles 

  • Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart, toes in line with your knees (ie your upper leg and knee and foot should all point in the same direction). 
  • Keep your back straight but stay relaxed, don’t over-arch, and look straight ahead. 
  • Then lower your body, bending your knees and at the hips as though you are going to sit down on a chair. 
  • Keep going until your upper legs are parallel to the floor, then slowly rise back up to the standing position. 
  • You can use a chair for support during this exercise. 
  • To make it work your muscles harder, hold a heavy book or a weight plate against your chest. 
  • Repeat 12-15 times (or until you begin to feel as though you can’t do another repetition), doing sets of three.

Flat On Your Back

Bench press, works the chest muscles and shoulders 

  • Lie on the floor on your back and, gripping a tin in each hand, raise your arms so the beans are directly above you. 
  • Bend your elbows, bringing your arms down so your upper arms are eventually parallel to the floor. 
  • Do not allow your arms to touch the floor. Now raise your arms again, bringing the tins of beans together above your chest with your arms straight. 
  • Repeat 12-15 times (or until you begin to feel as though you can’t do another repetition), doing sets of three.

Curl Up

Crunch, works the stomach muscles 

  • Lie on the floor with your hands behind your head and your feet resting flat with your knees bent. Your lower back should be flush to the floor; if it isn’t, use a rolled-up towel to support your back muscles during the move. 
  • Raise your shoulders off the floor, keeping your head and neck in line with the rest of your upper body – do not pull yourself up by jerking with your head as this will strain your neck muscles. 
  • Lower your body without allowing it to rest on the floor. 
  • If this move is too easy, raise your shoulders and upper body off the floor. And if that’s too easy, hold a heavy book or weight plate against your chest.
  •  Repeat 12-15 times (or until you begin to feel as though you can’t do another repetition), doing sets of three.

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