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Do-It-Yourself Fitness

A back-to-basics approach may be edging out high-tech exercise trends, experts say.

Low-Tech Doesn't Mean No Tech continued...

"When you simply lift weights, you are isolating muscles and working individual areas of your body," says Lurie, one of a growing number of certified Russian Kettlebell instructors in the United States. "With Kettlebells, you are using your whole body to move the weight of the ball, so it gives you a superior workout to even a room full of fitness equipment. It strengthens core [muscles and] increases heart rate, all without building bulky muscles, plus it's very efficient for busy people."

The Kettlebells weigh anywhere from nine to 88 pounds. Most women use an 18- to 26-pound version; men generally use a 36- to 52-pound version.

How it's done: Holding a Kettlebell in one or both hands, you do a series of simple movements, such as swinging the Kettlebell between your legs, lifting it to shoulder height, or putting it behind your back and squatting. There are less than a dozen key moves altogether; each offers a full-body workout in minimal time.

Cost: About $129 for one Kettlebell -- and one is usually all you need. An instructional DVD will set you back another $15-$20. Kettlebell classes are available nationwide; they vary in price according to location.

2. The New Power Weights. A new generation of "power weights," unlike the ordinary dumbbells used for strength training, has emerged. Their main draw: Home users can stock a set of these weights in a package not much bigger than a shoebox. You can work your way up to a variety of weight-training combinations without having to store dozens of bulky dumbbells between your CD collection and your big-screen TV.

"They've very compact -- weighing between 2.5 and 125 pounds -- and [take] up almost no space, compared to a rack of dumbbells, which take up a huge amount of space," says Rutstein. "Plus they are also more comfortable and more convenient to use at home."

How It's Done: Either with the help of a weight bench or on your own, you lift the weights in various positions, helping to isolate and tone different muscles. You adjust the weight using pins that lock various levels of the square weights into a box-shaped configuration.

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