Working Out on the Homefront

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Sound ineffective? Not so much -- when Arnold Schwarzenegger was competing as a bodybuilder, he demonstrated exercises that required no equipment and proved that they were really tough. For instance, try one-legged squats. You may have to work up to them.

Solid, time-tested, home equipment includes dumbbells, barbells and a bench. You can work every muscle with this equipment. You won't even need a spotter with dumbbells because you have half the weight in each hand. If you look at the classified ads or in thrift stores, you can sometimes buy this equipment at little cost. If cost is a concern, you can use resistance bands and do an excellent job. Another option is to use a Swiss ball, which requires you to use additional muscles for stability.

If cost is no object, there are great multi-exercise machines for the entire body that are compact, easy to use and easy to store. These machines, like the much-advertised Bowflex, offer a workout with a quick-to-change system for different exercises, saving you time. Because you can go from one exercise to the next very quickly, you can complete a total workout in less than 30 minutes. Using this kind of machine, two or three times a week, will provide a routine as good as any gym.