There's this general myth (usually by people who spend countless hours at the gym) that one needs to visit a gym in order to exercise effectively.
While going to the gym is a good idea, it's not a must. It works effectively for some people and not for others. Many people have gotten stronger without stepping into a gym. It seems that it wouldn't work for you; so, no need going to the gym.
First, none of your current exercises (apart from push up) listed above will provide you the strength you desire; they'll help you burn fat and probably tone up your body, which isn't your goal. Your 10-pound dumbbells won't either (I'm presuming you're an adult male).
What Do You Need?
I'll put what you need into 3 categories:
- Body-weight exercises
- Strength Training
- Intense cardio
These are exercises that traditionally rely on your body's weight and not on external weights. Most of these exercises have the added advantage of not requiring much equipment. Also, these exercises can be performed multiple times daily without over-training the muscles. The key to getting strong with bodyweight exercises is increasing the repetitions and/or finding ways to make them more challenging. While there are many of them, you want to start with
- Push ups: In my opinion, you can't be fit without being able to perform at least 30 repetitions in one session. Also, this exercise is very convenient as you can perform it anywhere and without any equipment. (BTW, it's one of the fitness requirements in the military :)) If you can knock out 30 everyday (and increase the repetition as you get stronger), you'll begin to feel stronger/fit. While there are variations of this exercise, starting with the basic shoulder-width push up is recommended.
- Pull ups (or chin ups): You'll need an equipment for this; here's a simple equipment that you can place on most door frames
You're basically lifting your body weight. You can't perform this exercise with good form periodically without becoming stronger. Just start with a single repetition and increase the repetitions as you become stronger.
An equipment is recommended for this exercise; you can also use any makeshift equipment such as opposing counter tops. Lastly, it can be performed on a chair; however, it won't be as effective as an equipment that allows you to lift your entire body off the ground.
- Other exercises such as burpees, crunches, lunges, and bodyweight squats will make your body more fit; you'll feel more agile and quick. There are more bodyweight exercises and you can mix and match as you desire.
While body weight exercises will make you stronger and fitter than you've ever been, at some point, you'll feel there's a cap to your strength. For example, while you might be able to lift yourself, you might find out you aren't strong enough to lift another adult. Also, most bodyweight exercises will give you a toned, lean, muscular and more defined version of yourself.
If you want the ripped outlook (bigger biceps, triceps, chests, legs, etc) along with the strength of Superman, you'll have to upgrade to Strength Training. Yup, weightlifting.
Again, you don't need to visit the gym for this; however, you'll need to make a home gym. All you need is a small space and some equipment (if you have an uncluttered garage, that would be perfect; if not, if you can carve out some 20ft X 20ft space, that should work as well).
For strength, you would want to perform at least these 4 exercises:
- Deadlifts with an Olympic barbell
- Back Squats with an Olympic barbell
- Bench Press with an Olympic barbell
- Overhead Press with an Olympic barbell
For routines to follow, I will suggest you check out these two programs:
If you follow either of those programs properly, you will grow stronger and fitter.
Those programs don't come with much equipment. Usually, all you need include:
- One Olympic-size barbell
- A bench for bench pressing
- One lifting rack (for squats and overhead press); there are variations based on price and efficiency.
- Weights (discs); this is probably the only equipment that you might periodically need to purchase (as you grow stronger, you'll need discs with higher weights)
Cardio isn't needed to get stronger; however, it's highly recommended. Sprinting, running, biking, skipping, etc. are examples of exercises that can keep you fit and increase your endurance. Except for perhaps a treadmill or stationary bike, these don't require equipment. You can also forgo those equipment and run/bike outside.
Also worth noting is that as you're consistent with these exercises, you'll grow stronger. None of these will happen overnight. But when they do, you'll be glad you started them.
Now, head over to Simply Shredded and get some motivation for getting strong :).