Archive for the ‘Timed Circuits’ Category
Are you bored with sit-ups and crunches? There are many ways to work your core besides these traditional exercises. Here are 5 ways to strengthen your stomach and back muscles.
1. Over Head Hold
Hold an object directly over your head or slightly behind. You can use anything that’s easy for you to grip, a dumbell, plate, barbell or any household item with a significant amount of weight. Anytime you’re holding something over your head you’re activating your core muscles. Make sure you are not holding your weight too far forward over your head. This will cause pain in your low back.
2. Overhead Walking Lunges
Hold a weight over your head and perform a standard walking lunge. Step out and bend both knees. Your front knee should not go past your front toe and your back knee should get as close to the ground as possible. Concentrate on bending down instead of forward. Drive off of your front leg to stand back up and repeat on your opposite leg. Make sure you’re keeping the weight directly over your head the whole time. The Overhead Walking lunge intensifies the activity in your core in comparison to the stationary Overhead Hold. Your stomach and back muscles will work harder in order to keep the weight up and over your head while your lunging.
3. Plank Hold
This core exercise is very effective and can be done anywhere. Position yourself on the ground as if you were starting a push-up. Make sure your elbows and wrists are directly underneath your shoulders and your body is in a straight line. Common mistakes are dropping your hips too low or hiking them up too high. A beginners modification for this exercise is to hold from your knees instead of your toes.
4. Plank Up/Downs
Start in a plank position. Stay on your toes and lower down to your forearms, then extend back up to your hands in the original plank position. Make sure your hips are staying level the whole time. Use a mat or towel underneath your arms. If you do these on the floor or outside you can get a burn mark on your forearms, be sure to use a mat of some kind.
5. Knees To Elbows
Hang from a pull up bar with your knees bent and your feet behind you. Use your core muscles to bring your knees up to your elbows or as high as you can get them. Bring your feet back behind you with your knees bent. Make sure you are not swinging your legs up, the momentum of the swing will take away from the core exercise.
Here is a 20:00 Total Body Work-Out with emphasis on your core muscles.
:30 Plank Up/Downs
:30 Plank Hold
*Beginners rest instead of the second plank hold
20x OH Walking Lunges (on each leg)
10x Knees To Elbows
15:00 As Many Rounds As Possible
:20 Overhead Hold/:10 Rest
A strong core is essential for a strong body. Don’t neglect these muscle groups!
When you are pressed for time is your work-out the first thing to get cut from your to-do list?
Instead of skipping your exercise session cut down the duration and turn up the intensity. Try this 20:00 Boot Camp work-out. Give it everything you’ve got to get a great workout in half the time it usually takes you.
:20 Body Weight Squats/:10 Hold at the bottom of the squat
- Burpee Broad Jump
- Body Weight Squat
- Atomic Sit Up
When the timer starts do 1 repetition of each exercise, then 2 reps of each exercise, then 3 reps of each exercise. See how many rounds you can complete in 10:00.
:20 Bearcrawl/:10 Plank Hold
Body Weight Squats
When you are squatting be sure to go low enough. Place an object behind you about 12″ off of the ground. This will help you to keep your weight in your heels. Keep your shoulders back and look up the whole time you are squatting. Make sure you’re pushing your knees away from eachother when you come down and back up.
Burpee Broad Jump
Crouch down and place your hands on the ground and jump back into a plank. Do a push up, jump your feet up to where your hands are. Lastly jump as far forward as you can. The broad jump focuses on how far forward you can jump not how high.
Atomic Sit Up
Start seated, lean back and lift your feet off of the ground. Once you are balanced extend your legs all the way and lean your shoulders all the way back. Then bring your knees all the way into your chest. Use your core to help you balance while performing this exercise.
If any of these exercises don’t feel right, you may need more assistance with your form. If you are an experienced bootcamp participant, then this will be a good challenge for you.
Running low on outdoor exercises to enjoy? Visit your local playground for some variety in your fitness routine.
The Monkey Bars
Start off hanging from one end then move your hands to each bar until you reach the end. You will elevate your heart rate as well as build strength in your arms, shoulders and back.
This is another great exercise you can do on the monkey bars. If you are a beginner, start with your feet on the ground and jump to get up and over the bar. Over time you will jump less and build the strength to pull more. For the advanced crew, start in a hanging position and pull yourself up and over the bar.
Knees To Elbows
This is a core exercise that also engages your upper body. Start in a hanging position, with your knees bent and your feet behind you. Use your core to pull your knees up to your elbows or as high as you can get them. Once you’ve mastered this exercise, give feet to hands a try. Start in a hanging position with your legs extended out in front of you. Keep your legs straight, engage your core and lift your feet up to your hands. Then slowly lower.
Bench, Stairs or Step
Your typical playground has one of these options.
Elevated Push Up
You can use a step to increase the intensity in your push-ups. Place your feet on the step and your hands on the ground under your shoulders for the beginning of the push up. Bend your elbows to get your chest as close to the ground as possible. Push yourself back up.
Box Jumps/Step Ups
If you have never done a box jump before start with a small step (10″) off the ground. Stand close to the step, jump two feet at a time and land softly at the top. Once you’ve cleared the step stand up and step down. Do not jump down. If you are familiar with box jumps try a higher bench or step. Always make sure the object you’re jumping on is secure and will not move.
Most playgrounds have some sort of vertical bars. Whether it’s part of a railing or foundation.
Body Weight Row
Use these bars to perform the row. Place two hands on separate bars walk your feet in towards the bars. Extend your arms all the way and pull yourself up while keeping your feet in place.
Here is a sample work-out for your day at the playground
:20 Bearcrawl/:10 Plank
1:00 Monkey bar crawl/:30 Rest
5x Pull Up (deadhang or jumping)
10x Elevated Push Up (beginners do regular push ups)
15x Box Jump (beginners can do step ups, 15 on each leg)
10x Knees To Elbows
Do you want to exercise outdoors but you’re not sure where to begin? Work up a sweat in the sun with these 5 outdoor boot camp exercises!
1. Step Ups
Get your heart rate up and strengthen your legs with this exercise. Find a sturdy surface outdoors that you can safely step onto. It can be a park bench, cement step or a side walk curb. For higher surfaces go slow with your step ups. If you’re using a short step like a sidewalk curb your cadence should be very fast.
Use Burpees to add intensity to your push-ups. Here’s how to do them
- Crouch down to the ground
- Jump back to a plank position
- Perform a push up, get as close to the ground as you can
- Jump your feet back to where your hands are
- Immediately Jump up with your hands in the air
For beginners try a regular push up and add a jumping jack to the end of it.
3. The Broad Jump
Make sure you are on a dry non-slippery surface for this exercise. Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and jump as far forward as you can until you land softly on your feet. This exercise is about length, not height. Make sure you’re jumping with both feet at the same time and landing the same way.
4. The Plank
Use this static hold to strengthen your core. This is a good exercise to finish with. When you hold a plank your body should be level. You can hold from your hands like the beginning of a push up or from your forearms. Some common mistakes with this exercise are
- Hips too high or too low. Your hips should be level with the rest of your body
- Bad arm positioning. Wrists should be directly under your shoulders. If you’re holding from your forearms then your elbows should be under your shoulders.
- Holding your breath. You will get through this exercise a lot easier if you breathe. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try counting your breaths to distract you from the exercise.
Use these variations of running to add intensity to your work-out. Once you’re warmed up add a short run or all out sprint to your Boot Camp Work-out. That extra push will get your heart rate elevated and start to wear out your legs causing you to work harder to get through the other exercises you’re about to do.
Here’s an example of how to put these 5 exercises together for a great Boot Camp Workout
100x Step Up (50 reps on each leg)
:30 Broad Jump/:30 Plank Hold
20x Burpee*/2:00 Run as fast as possible
1:00 Rest, 5 Rounds
* Beginners replace the burpees with push-ups.
1:00 Plank Hold/:20 Rest
The TRX Suspension Trainer is an incredibly useful fitness tool that I recently purchased. This piece of equipment has become extremely popular in the past few years. There are numerous exercises that can be done with the TRX at any fitness level.
Check out these 5 basic exercises for a total body workout with The TRX
1. Chest Press
Stand a few feet away from the TRX with your back to where it’s fastened. Grab the handles and set up like you would to do a push up. Lean forward and push your-self back up.
2. The Row
Face the apex of the TRX. Grip the handles and extend your arms all the way so you are leaning back. Pull yourself up with your arms until your chest reaches where your hands are.
Note: The closer you stand to the apex of the TRX the more difficult these exercises will be. You can also place a box under the TRX and put your feet on top of it. Then do a push-up like you would on the ground. The same can be done for the row. The instability will add a new level of difficulty to these exercises.
3. Reverse Crunch
Place your feet in the stirrups, with the soles of your feet facing up. Hold yourself in a plank position. Bring your knees into your chest and extend them back out again. The further out you set up, the harder this exercise will be
4. Hamstring Curl
Lye flat on the ground with your heels placed in the stirrups of The TRX. Lift your hips and draw your knees into your chest. Extend your legs back out to your starting position.
Face the apex of the TRX and grip the handles. Keep your weight in your heels and sit back like you are sitting in a chair. Pull yourself back up using mainly your legs. For a higher level of difficulty, try single leg squats and use the TRX for stability. If you are new to squats or nursing an injury the TRX can be very helpful because you are not supporting all of your body weight.
Here is a total body 30:00 work-out you can do with The TRX
3×5 Plank Rotation
Start in a plank (looks like the beginning of a push up). Lift one arm and twist open on that side. Repeat on the opposite side.
:30 TRX Chest Press/:30 Over Head Hold (use a #20 Dumbell or MedBall)
4 Rounds,1:00 Jumping Jacks
:30 TRX Row/:30 Row Hold (extend your arms while gripping the TRX and lean back)
4 Rounds, 1:00 Jumping Jacks
:30 TRX Reverse Crunch/:30 Plank Hold
4 Rounds, 1:00 Jumping Jacks
:30 TRX Hamstring Curl/ :30 Sit Ups
4 Rounds, 1:00 Jumping Jacks
:30TRX Single Leg or Double Leg Squat/ :30 Squat Hold at the bottom
4 Rounds, 1:00 Jumping Jacks
3×10 Lying Torso Rotation
Lye flat on the ground and bring your knees directly over your hips while keeping your feet up. Extend your arms on the ground beside you. Bring your knees as far over to one side as they will go while still keeping your shoulders on the ground. Repeat on opposite side.
If you are hesitant to make the purchase of a TRX, there are fitness facilities in the Boston area that have this exercise tool. Ask if your gym offers TRX classes or has one on hand to use.
I’ve been working with Dynamax Medicine Balls for three years and I get so much great use out of them. These medicine balls are designed to do more than your typical weighted exercise tool. They are soft shelled weighted balls that are safe to throw and catch. The weights vary from 4LB to 20LB and they are all the same size in diameter. Get familiar with this exercise tool for a fun and effective work-out session. Here are some exercises to get you started.
1. Wall Ball
Squat down holding the dynamax ball at chest level, on your way up from the squat, use your legs to throw the ball as high as you can. When you catch the dynamax ball go right into the next squat and repeat the throw.
2. AB Toss
Start lying down with your feet flat on the floor holding the dynamax ball at chest level. As you’re coming up from the sit up position throw the ball at a wall or work-out buddy. Catch the ball and return to starting position.
3. Chest Pass
This exercise is a great warm up. Stand a few feet away from a work-out partner. Keep your hips facing forward and use only your arms to toss and catch the dynamax ball.
4. Sumo Throw
Stand a few feet away from a work out partner. Squat down and as your coming up toss the ball to your partner. When the ball returns go right into the squat and toss back. To make this more challenging increase the distance between you and your partner. Focus on distance instead of how high you can throw the ball.
5. Squat, Jump Squat and Squat Hold
This medicine ball is 14 inches in diameter, which makes it a perfect marker for squats. Place the ball behind you when you are doing squats or a squat hold. This will force you to go down to a certain level and it helps to guide your form by keeping your weight in your heels. Also, be sure to keep your head up and shoulders back.
6. Russian Twist
Sit on the floor holding the ball at chest level. Lean back slightly, lift your feet and cross your ankles, then twist the ball from side to side. For beginners, start with your feet on the ground, when that is no longer challenging lift your heels.
The Dynamax Ball can be used in place of a weight bench for light lifting. Place the ball behind your shoulders and upper back, then lift your hips. You’ve now incorperated your core into an arm exercise. Try doing the chest press, french press or flys while your in this position. Be sure to keep your hips up and you’ll engage your whole body in this exercise.
8. Overhead Hold
With the Dynamax Ball’s soft shell there’s minimal risk of hurting yourself with this tool. Use this weighted ball for any overhead exercises, such as Overhead holds, OH Walking Lunges or OH Squats. Overhead exercises are not only good for your arms but your core as well.
Here is a great work-out you can do with a friend.
- Dynamax Ball (I recommed the 8LB)
- Set of Dumbells (2 @ #10 each would be best)
- Work-out Buddy
10x Chest Pass
10x Sumo Throw
10x AB Toss
Person #2 holds their exercise until person #1 is done.
P1-15x Wall Ball
P1-15x DB Row
P2-Squat Hold (hover over the Dynamax Ball)
P1-15x DB Bicep Curl
P2-Overhead Hold With Dynamax Ball
P1-15x DB French Press using Dynamax Ball for “The Bench”
50x Russian Twist (Each Side)
Small changes in your daily activities can make a big difference when you’re trying to lose weight. This week I’ll have three blog posts on simple changes in your life to make healthy living easier.
Perform the exercise that matches the commercial you’re viewing.
- Cleaning Products=10x Jumping Jacks
- Retail Stores =10x Push Ups
- Electronic Devices=10x Sit Ups
- New Movie Releases =10x Mt. Climbers
- As Seen On TV Products=10x Jump Squats
- Car Insurance =Hold A Water Jug Over Your Head
- Weight Loss Products=Hold A Plank
Do these exercises during your regular 30:00 or 1 hour program. For an advanced version bump the repetitions up to 20. At the end of each commercial break, record how many reps you did of each exercise. Performing these exercises 1-3x a week can make a significant difference in your calorie deficit.
You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish in your own living room.
Photo Credit: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com
This month you’ll notice more people in the gym than in the drive-through at McDonald’s. To the people that are faithful to exercising year round, January can be a nightmare. Your favorite machine is in use, your classes are crowded, there’s no room to stretch and all for these resolution junkies that won’t be here a month from now.
January gym-goers offer more than you would think. While it is annoying that you have to wait for a machine that is barely used in any other month, there are some positives to the increase in your gym community.
Take In The Support
Think about some of your friends and families’ behavior over the past few months. If you told them you were going to the gym or tried to pass on dessert what was their typical response? It was most likely something like “Oh, come on it’s the holidays.” or “The gym will be there in January.” Responses like this aren’t very helpful or supportive of someone trying to keep on track with their goals.
Now think about the same friends and family members these days. If you told them you were heading out for a run or a boot camp class, their response is probably something like this.”Can I join you?” or “Where’s the class, can beginners attend?” These responses are much more supportive and helpful to you.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Use this inconvenience to try something new. If your usual machine is in use and you don’t have time to wait, go for a new work-out. When your bike is taken, try the rower or the stairclimber instead. You may come across a different machine that you really enjoy and would never have tried otherwise.
If you’re a cardio addict, give resistance training a try. Circuit training can be done anywhere, even in your own home. Discover some new work-outs and you won’t care who is on that machine that you use every other day.
Be A Helpful Gym Citizen
When other’s feel inspired to make a healthier life for themselves we should encourage that. Sure it’s a bit of a disruption to our normal gym routine, so what. This country is becoming sick with diabetes, obesity and heart disease to name a few issues. Let’s not put each other down for when we decide to start our steps towards healthy living. Instead offer some encouragement and you may find yourself a new gym buddy.
Make the best of this month by taking in the support from others and offering your support in return!
Photo Credit: http://granthestonfitness.com
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on fitness equipment to get a good work-out. Here is a challenging work-out that can be done in your home with some simple household items!
-Deck of Cards
:20 Squats/:10 Rest
“Deck of Cards”
Diamonds= Jumping Jacks
Flip a card then do the number on the card for reps and follow the exercises above for the suits. All face cards are equal to 10 Reps. When you reach the end of the deck, you’re done!
Spades=Atomic Sit Up
Face cards for the advanced version are as follows
Stretch w/ Towel
Photo Credit: www.joyfullyfit.com
Exercise is hard. If it were easy Americans wouldn’t have so many health issues today. Here are a few tips for getting through the not so pleasant parts of your session and becoming a stronger, better you.
When an exercise gets tough you tend to hold your breath and bear it. If you use your breath you can get through the challenge with more ease. It is usually the part that hurts the most where you want to breathe out. Like in a crunch, breathe out as you’re lifting your shoulders off the ground. If you are doing a static hold of some sort (like a plank) remember to consistantly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention the next time you are exercising, you may not even realize you are holding your breath.
2. Compare your work out to the rest of your day.
Sure that minute that you’re doing push-ups may feel like an eternity, but it’s not. That’s one minute out of your whole day. You have plenty of time after to rest those arms. This is the time you need to be committed to challenging your muscles.
3. Remember your motivation.
Whether you are trying to become a healthier parent or you’re training for your first road race, it helps to keep those goals in mind. When you’re pushing yourself through an exercise session focus on the reasons you’re putting in this effort. Think of the results you are getting and how much your life is going to improve from the act of working out.
4. Misery loves company.
Try working out with a friend or in a group class. Having someone by your side doing the same work out you are can take your mind off of the pain. Many people find it encouraging to work out with others, and they feel safer pushing themselves.
5. Listen to your favorite songs.
Before you go to the gym make sure you have a good playlist on your ipod. Music is a great distraction and an easy motivator for most people. Remember to switch up your songs every few weeks before you get sick of them and the focus is back on the pain.
Know that exercise isn’t easy for anyone. Even people that are in shape need to constantly push themselves, if they want to see continued results. Get comfortable with the fact that working out isn’t meant to be a pleasure cruise. Lastly remember…..
“Pain Is Temporary, Pride Is Forever”
Photo Credit: www.heraldsun.com.au