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While traveling without my hand weights, I have been able to keep up my routine by using my body weight as resistance.

  1. Legs & hips- Lay down and do leg lifts with bent legs
  2. Pulling with arms- bend knees and place hands on a chair behind you, bend elbows so your body moves closer to the floor and then straighten elbows to lift body to original position
  3. Pushing with arms- push-ups
  4. Abdominals- crunches

3 days a week I use hand weights
I use the heaviest weight I can hold while doing 8-12 reps in good form for steps 1-3, I have not used any weights for abdominal exercises:
  1. Legs & hips- squats OR lunges OR step-ups onto a chair
  2. Pulling with arms- bicep curl OR bend over and pull weights up to torso
  3. Pushing with arms- hold weights over shoulders push up OR push-ups on the floor without weights
  4. Abdominals- crunches OR single bent leg lifts with lower back on floor OR oblique crunches on the floor or on an exercise ball
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 two more times
  6. End with legs & hips.
You will need to increase the amount of weight over time. You could start with a large plastic bottle of water that is easy to hold but you will probably want it to be at least 32 ounces. I purchased a set of hand weights with discs that can be added to increase the pounds. I use heavier weights when doing squats.

It is generally believed that if more than 15 repetitions per set is possible, the weight is too light to stimulate maximal growth. Muscle Hypertrophy Training". Muscle Hypertrophy Training. Retrieved 2010-07-17.

There is no need to do 20-40 repetitions, heavier weights with less repetition works great.
Several growth factors are involved that regulate the mechanisms of change in protein number and size within the muscle. The adaptation of muscle to the overload stress of resistance exercise begins immediately after each exercise bout, but often takes weeks for it to physically manifest itself. The most adaptable tissue in the human body is skeletal muscle, and it is remarkably remodeled after continuous, and carefully designed, resistance exercise training programs.

Muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. Both, the synthesis and breakdown of proteins are controlled by complimentary cellular mechanisms. Resistance exercise can profoundly stimulate muscle cell hypertrophy and the resultant gain in strength. Interestingly, a single bout of exercise stimulates protein synthesis within 2-4 hours after the workout which may remain elevated for up to 24 hours.

Aging mediates cellular changes in muscle decreasing the actual muscle mass. Happily, the detrimental effects of aging on muscle have been shown to be restrained or even reversed with regular resistance exercise. Importantly, resistance exercise also improves the connective tissue harness surrounding muscle, thus being most beneficial for injury prevention and in physical rehabilitation therapy.

Additional References:
Foss, M.L. and Keteyian, S.J. (1998). Fox’s Physiological Basis for Exercise and Sport. WCB McGraw-Hill.
Rasmussen, R.B., and Phillips, S.M. (2003). Contractile and Nutritional Regulation of Human Muscle Growth. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews. 31(3):127-131.
Young sub Kwon, MS, CSCS, is a doctoral student in the exercise science program at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He earned his master's degree in exercise physiology in 2001 and has research interests in the field of resistance training and clinical exercise physiology. Before coming to the U.S. he was an exercise specialist in a hospital in Korea.
Len Kravitz, PhD, is the program coordinator of exercise science and a researcher at UNMA, where he won the 2004 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. He was also honored with the 1999 Canadian Fitness Professionals International Presenter of the Year Award, and was the first person to win the IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year Award.