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Two tweaked moves

Dumb-bells can be used to work out your upper and lower bodies and may, in fact, be much better at helping you strengthen and build your muscles.

Print Edition: July 29, 2007


Dumb-bells are more versatile than you think. in the past, Treadmill has mentioned how just a pair of dumb-bells and an ordinary bench can be enough to give you a full-body workout. Even better if you have three pairs in different weight configurations (or even a single adjustable pair). Dumb-bells can be used to work out your upper and lower bodies and may, in fact, be much better at helping you strengthen and build your muscles. For one, because you usually hold a dumb-bell in each hand, your body has to maintain its balance, which in turn could mean a better overall development of muscle. Also, since unlike exercising on a machine or with a barbell, your weaker arm/side is not compensated for by the stronger arm/side when you lift, curl or extend your muscles. Besides, dumb-bells allow for a larger range of movements when you are working out with them.

The trick lies in improvising on standard themes. A few instalments back, I'd talked about tweaked exercises-like the Zottman Curls (BT dated April 8, 2007) and the Arnold Shoulder Presses (BT dated April 22, 2007). Both were innovative ways to use dumb-bells to get more out of what are basically two traditional workouts-the biceps curl and the shoulder press. This time, I'd like to introduce two other tweaked dumb-bell moves.

The 'W' Press is, again, a shoulder exercise but it really works all the shoulder muscles by isolating them during the movement. The shoulder muscles have three components-anterior (front), posterior (rear) and lateral (side) deltoids. Here's how you can do the 'W'. Stand with dumb-bells in your hands and elbows near your sides so that your arms make a 'W' (Pic. 1). Now extend your arms smoothly outward and upward so that your body and arms make a 'Y' (Pic. 2). Gradually, return to the starting position. This is one repetition. You could do 12 for a set and do three sets. Remember, though, that this is a difficult movement so try and use light weights.

The second tweaked dumb-bell workout is meant for the legs. It's actually a modification of an Olympic lift called the Overhead Squat. In the Olympic lift, the athlete holds a bar aloft over his head and squats with a wide stance (that is, feet more than shoulder width apart and pointed outwards). For the tweaked dumb-bell version, I am suggesting you hold two moderately weighted dumb-bells (choose a configuration that you can squat with comfortably) in your hands and lift them above your head-a bit like the final position in the 'W' Press. Now, do a squat, keeping your back straight and shoulders behind. As you will discover, although tough, besides working out your thighs and glutes, this exercise also focusses on the muscles of your upper body.

-Muscles Mani
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Caveat: The physical exercises described in Treadmill are not recommendations. Readers should exercise caution and consult a physician before attempting to follow any of these.

Six diet rules that can work wonders

Spoilt for choice, and don't know what to eat and who to ask? Here are some tips to a healthier diet.

The Golden Egg. Eggs contain essential vitamins and minerals which help release energy from carbohydrates. Says Dr Anoop Misra, Senior Consultant, Fortis Hospital, Delhi: "B12, an essential vitamin found in eggs, helps in the formation of nerve fibres and blood cells. Eat four small eggs per week. However, if you have diabetes or other heart disease risk factors, limit this to one or two."

Get in the Pink. Says Dr Alok Kumar Aggarwal, Senior Consultant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi: "Pink grapes contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps protect your heart, and they're even sweeter when frozen and pack 25 times more beta-carotene than their paler cousins."

Juice it Up. Says Dr Misra: "Try a different juice each day: pineapple, tangerine, aloe vera, and cranberry contain different antioxidants that can help prevent a range of ailments from coronary heart disease to hypertension to urinary tract infections."

Honey Power. Says Dr P.K. Sharma, Senior Consultant, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Delhi: "A spoon of honey is an instant pick-me-up, giving you the much-needed energy boost." Mix honey and apple cider vinegar in equal proportion and dilute with water. This wonder drink aids digestion and eases joint inflammations.

Meat Choice. Red meat is a good source of iron; however, eating large amounts of it can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Veg Out. You can eat as much of vegetables as you like all the time. Says Dr Aggarwal: "Vegetables make great snack foods eaten raw-carrot, cucumber, tomato-and can provide the mainstay of bigger meals when steamed, grilled or fried."

-Manu Kaushik

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